Makrolon® forges links between art and medicine
Foyer of Klinikum Bamberg now home to “Chromosom”, a four-meter-high sculpture made of CDs
Leverkusen, July 2008 – It takes a certain degree of imagination to identify the shape of a chromosome in the massive, four-meter-high sculpture by painter and sculptor Matthias Hintz. For his work “Chromosom” – now on display in the redesigned foyer of Klinikum Bamberg (Bamberg Hospital) – the artist from Hülchrath near Dusseldorf relied entirely on Makrolon®, the high-tech material from Bayer MaterialScience. To be precise, he used thousands of CDs made from the plastic, some of them transparent and some metal-coated. The shimmering, silvery sculpture is lit from within with a warm glow of alternating colors and will be unveiled at Klinikum Bamberg on July 9.
In his contemporary sculptures, Matthias Hintz plays with the concept of analogies. The countless CDs represent modern-day data storage units and thus correspond to the “data storage units” that hold genetic material in the human cell nucleus – the chromosomes. As the artist himself explains, the high-tech material Makrolon® also supports this analogy concept: “Measuring gene activities is one of the newest and most advanced diagnostic processes in medicine. Similarly, this plastic represents cutting-edge technology – making Makrolon® the ideal material for contemporary art.”
Over the course of many months, Hintz joined the individual CDs together in numerous layers using air heated to 600 ºC. The towering sculpture is 1.30 meters in diameter but weighs only 40 kilograms. It is therefore a prime example of the positive qualities of Makrolon® – tough, impact-resistant, weather-resistant, yet extremely light. Eckard Foltin, head of the Creative Center in the New Business section of Bayer MaterialScience, is delighted with the artist’s achievement: “The sculpture is a perfect marriage of material, light and form. This is an emotive and impressive illustration of how Makrolon® can be transformed from an optical data storage medium into an object of light. The light industry is experiencing a period of intense change and Makrolon® offers a great deal of untapped potential for entirely new light solutions. We are making intelligent use of our expertise in materials and technology development for optical data storage media. This is opening up new horizons in energy-efficient, sustainable light systems.”
Makrolon® in its most attractive forms
In his sculpture, Matthias Hintz traces the development of a material and echoes its diversity in terms of products and applications. The wide range of design potential astonishes and amazes the observer. Other Makrolon® sculptures and pictures by Matthias Hintz continue the theme, reflecting this rich diversity in a variety of forms and sizes. However, he is not the only artist to have discovered the potential of the plastic from Bayer MaterialScience as a creative basis for contemporary works of art. Another one is Berlin-based jewelry designer Svenja John, for example, who creates bangles, earrings, chains and handbags using transparent, wafer-thin sheets of Makrolon®. Her pieces are cut using a water-jet process, sanded, hand-painted and then assembled, making each creation absolutely unique. In 2007, her “Rudny” bangle even received the Bayerischer Staatspreis (Bavarian State Prize). Some of her pieces can be purchased in Bayer MaterialScience’s new online shop at www.makrolon-shop.com.
Makrolon® was originally developed as long ago as 1953 by Bayer chemist Dr. Hermann Schnell, but it constantly reveals new potential for diverse applications. In addition to industrial usage in the production of modern ski goggles, bicycle helmets and lamps, the material is increasingly making its mark in the art world. At the same time, more and more industrial designers and architects are also discovering the great potential of this plastic. Makrolon® can be transformed into numerous different forms using a wide variety of processing methods. The spectrum ranges from conservatory glazing and panorama roofs for cars to compact surgical instruments and much more. In the optical and light sector, Makrolon® is also used for applications involving LEDs and in producing optical lenses.
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