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“The Garden of Earthly Delights” by Anna Rierola



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On 23 April, the exhibition of IRB Barcelona's first Artist in Residence will be launched at the Sant Pau Art Nouveau Site, and will be open until 30 June. 

Rierola recreates Bosch's work of the same name with images provided by researchers.

This second art and science exhibition at this venue has been organised jointly by IRB Barcelona, the Quo Artis Foundation and the Sant Pau Art Nouveau Site.

Anna Rierola (Barcelona, 1969) was the first Artist in Residence at IRB Barcelona, which has been promoting the dialogue between art and science for the last five years. It was precisely at IRB Barcelona that the artwork on show at the Sant Pau Art Nouveau Site took shape.

Through “The Garden of Earthly Delights”, Rierola recreates the work of the same name by Bosch with images provided by biomedical researchers who study different processes and stages of life under the microscope. The images represent the multiple levels of biological organisation -organelles, cells, tissues, organs and functions-and show elements of the human system and those of other living organisms.

Rierola took her inspiration from Bosch's painting of the same name because the garden is represented as a connected, harmonious beautiful whole in which each element plays a role in a complex self-organised system.

Talking about life, the artist says, “When integration is complete, everything works and there is no disease. But when this relatonship disappears, the system ceases to be an integrated unit, and disease and death ensue.” This piece of artwork also pushes us to ask how we interact with our environment and how we can protect it. That is to say, it can help us to think about a more sustainable society.


The Artist in Residence Programme at IRB Barcelona

Art and scientific research have several things in common. Artists and researchers investigate the nature of our presence in the world, push boundaries in knowledge and technology, and venture into the unexplored. IRB Barcelona's Artist in Residency Programme aims to connect artists with an interest in interdisciplinary science with the wide range of research, scientists, data and infrastructure available at the Institute.

In February 2019, Ayşe Gül Süter, a former Artist in Residence at the institute, held an exhibition at the Sant Pau Art Nouveau Site entitled “Art made of Science-Microspheres”, which generated great interest, as attested by more than 20,000 visitors. Anna Rierola will be exhibiting “The Garden of Earthly Delights” in the same pavilion, called "La Puríssima".


A superb setting for art

The Sant Pau Art Nouveau Site was designed by Lluís Domènech i Montaner as a garden city for nursing the sick. After being used as a public hospital, its newly refurbished pavilions shine once again in all their splendour, providing an exceptional venue for the exhibition “The Garden of Earthly Delights” by the artist Anna Rierola.

Through her work, Anna Rierola invites us to delve into the mystery of life, and to admire, observe and reflect on it, taking in the basic functioning of biology. On another level, it also raises the question about the maintenance and care of this garden and forces us to question how we live in it and how we can protect it so that future generation can continue to enjoy it. In other words, “The Garden of Earthly Delights” encourages us to think about the concept of a sustainable society in which our lifestyles no not interfere with nature's inherent capacity to sustain life.


With the collaboration of:



About IRB Barcelona

The Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona) pursues a society free of disease. To this end, it conducts multidisciplinary research of excellence to cure cancer and other diseases linked to ageing. It establishes technology transfer agreements with the pharmaceutical industry and major hospitals to bring research results closer to society, and organises a range of science outreach activities to engage the public in an open dialogue. IRB Barcelona is an international centre that hosts 400 researchers and more than 30 nationalities. Recognised as a Severo Ochoa Centre of Excellence since 2011, IRB Barcelona is a CERCA centre and member of the Barcelona Institute of Science and Technology (BIST).