Autophagy 2


Autophagy 2

I represented here the autophagy process with a high level of magnification, as if the tissue was seen through a transmission electron microscope. This microscopy technique reveals the morphology of autophagic vesicles as well as their natural environment within the cell. The image illustrates with great detail a small portion of a Drosophila fat body cell, meaning a cell portion of the fruit fly “liver”. A distinctive feature of this organ is the high amount of lipid droplets, lipid-rich cellular compartments that act as energy reservoirs. In this artwork, a fraction of the nucleus is located in the upper edge of the canvas and two portions of lipid droplets (white areas) are positioned at the sides, framing the composition. The autophagic vesicles, main elements of the composition, were made with the intention of showing the enormous complexity and the mystery of this catabolic process, trying to imagine an intricate and surreal small universe inside each vesicle. The patterns and textures inside the autolysosomes (vesicles with a single line delimiting their structure) were partially inspired by the work of the Swiss artist H. R. Giger, who created monochromatic landscapes illustrating extraterrestrial universes. Inside the vesicles depicted in this painting, a characteristic texture can be appreciated, which I have called “organic matrix”. Within this texture, I represented all sorts of imaginary figures, from a vertebrate-type vascular system to a mixture of organs and embryonic structures. I also published an article in the Autophagy Journal in which I described the process of making this painting (and “Autophagy 1”) together with my main motivation for doing so.

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Ayelen, Valko




Oil on canvas