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24 September 2019

Viewing the Invisible offers a fresh approach to thinking about science and art

The exhibition showcased parallels between the two disciplines and enabled a greater understanding of the value of collaborative working.

Two people looking at a portrait painting in the exhibition
Image by Nada Walton, London Fine Art Studios

Viewing the Invisible brought together scientists and artists to explore the similarities in their working methods. Through a multi-faceted display of videos, photographs, paintings and text, the exhibition showcased the ways in which the disciplines work together and can support each other in disseminating research and enriching creativity.

Led by Dr Rivka Isaacson, Reader in Chemical Biology, Department of Chemistry within the Faculty of Natural & Mathematical Sciences, the exhibition was a collaborative project between King’s and London Fine Art Studios with the support of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC).

Viewing the Invisible opened on 2 September in the Arcade at Bush House, with a successful launch the following evening involving speeches from Executive Dean of the Faculty, Professor Michael Luck, Rivka and London Fine Art Studios' founder Ann Witheridge.

The accompanying events programme included a live portrait painting and panel discussion at the National Portrait Gallery, an associate partner of the exhibition. The panel focused on the themes of science, art and identity, with Ann live painting a portrait of Professor Dame Janet Thornton, Vice-President for Life Sciences of the European Research Council, over the course of the event.

The programme also included creative workshops as part of Welcome Week at King's. Over 100 students took part in the still-life and figurative drawing workshops hosted by Ann and artists Clementine St. John Webster and Joni Duarte, whose paintings featured in the exhibition.

The exhibition was also open for Open House London on 21 and 22 September 2019, with over 250 people visiting as part of the festival. 

Viewing the Invisible was supported by a team of gallery supervisors who actively engaged with visitors and gathered feedback about their experiences. The exhibition was attended by nearly 800 people with the majority rating the exhibition as 'excellent'. 

Visitors said the parallels drawn between science and art were inspiring, with one science student mentioning that they will think about ways to bring their 'artistic hobbies' into their coursework. Others commented on the value of collaborative working, and two teachers said they will share the ideas with their students. One in particular said they will start a discussion about 'why there is an artificial divide between art and science'. 

My views have been enhanced by this exhibition, as I had not previously thought about the relationship between science and art.

visitor comment

I grew up with arts and science divided, and so I am very pleased to see them brought together.

visitor comment

Viewing the Invisible, 2 - 20 September 2019 




Images by Nada Walton, London Fine Art Studios

In this story

Professor Rivka Isaacson

Professor of Molecular Biophysics


Viewing the Invisible

An exhibition bringing together scientists and artists to explore the similarities in their working methods.