There are two places where Vera Meyer is sure to be found: at the Institute of Biotechnology at the Technische Universität Berlin, where she works as a professor of molecular and applied microbiology, and at the edge of a Brandenburg forest, where she has her studio and works as artist V. meer. Two passions that initially meant rather separate worlds but have become thematically closely interwoven. Vera Meyer’s research focus – fungal biotechnology – plays a key role in this. From the majesty of cellular structures of the mould Aspergillus niger under the microscope, V. meer arrives at the grace and elegance of the parasol mushroom, the shapes of tree fungi remind her of heads. Fascinated, she notices pears and apples eaten out by wasps, falls in love with the blossoming rust of a discarded cogwheel. Nothing seems useless to her, no thing lost. The artist is almost obsessively driven into the forest as her materials grow on trees, rots on the ground, lies in old sheds. Her mission is to give new expression to what she has found together. So V. meer devotes herself to creating sculptures, combining biological material with iron, gold and copper solution. She finds the point where her art meets her research: both give new visibility to the kingdom of fungi (Funga) – as a sculpture in public space or as a decoded genome through systems biology OMICs data. ARTOMICS is the name she comes up with for this kind of work, perhaps soon the term for a new genre of art? V. meer’s objects seem to have been brought to life as subjects by Goethe’s sorcerer’s apprentice, but one does not silently wish them back into the corner, because they enrich the view and the imagination and should gladly remain among us. Their sculptures made of mushrooms, wood, bones, lichen, fallen fruit, scrap iron and components of bioreactors could populate fairy tale realms or other planets. The philosophical tone in them is palpable: nothing disappears in nature, everything is transformation.
Vera Meyer, born 1970 in Hoyerswerda, Germany, lives and works in Berlin.