Since the birth of the first child following in vitro fertilisation in 1978, Assisted Reproduction Technology (ART) has become, for many couples, the means for them to realise their desire for a family. During her one-year residency at the Guy's Hospital Assisted Conception Unit in 2008, Gina Glover collaborated with staff and patients to produce artwork that symbolises the work of the unit.
To produce her artwork Gina spent time in the unit closely observing different procedures, attending meetings and looking down microscopes at sperm, eggs and embryos. Her conversations with staff gave her an understanding of their work and helped produce ideas for art pieces. By attending staff meetings she began to comprehend the range of challenging ethical decisions facing staff on an almost daily basis. Gina produced two artworks on the theme A Question of Ethics, Nigella – Love-in-the-mist and Lunaria-Honesty. These photographs of flowers placed in Petri dishes are surrounded by statements by staff, made in response to Gina’s questions; for example about the personal resources, be they religious belief, ethics or culture, which they drew upon in making decisions. Embedded in these images are some of the answers they gave.
Gina’s art practice in health settings is informed by her desire to channel as many voices as possible from the setting into the making of the work. She was delighted to find the ACU open and willing to participate. Her art piece ‘Donated Eggs’ is made from eggs, both real and constructed, donated by ACU staff, family and friends and her piece Sperm Morphology is constructed from ties belonging to staff arranged to show the variations in human sperm structure.
Art in Art is an exhibition which incorporates many such ideas as well as images drawn from medical science (such as eggs, embryos and ultra-sound) into Gina’s art concepts.