Structures of Life

Noemi Durighello: Prediction. 2023 acrylic and oil on canvas 125 x 170 cm

"For several years I have been engaged in painting and in my artistic practice I develop a particular interest in still life and pop culture. The objects I choose provide the pretext for my paintings to narrate a meditative universe in which I reflect on the deeper meaning of things and the aesthetics of their representation."

The image within the image is a painterly artifice to show the viewer the difference between reality and illusion. In its millennia-long history, the genre of painting has developed a variety of techniques to depict realities, to deceive us, or to stimulate our imagination. The imaging techniques in medicine, including sonography, i.e. ultrasound, pursue a different goal with their representations: the aim is to depict the structures and forms of organisms, especially internal organs, as precisely and differentiatedly as possible.

The doctrine of morphology is also found, as it were, in the science of images. This is impressively demonstrated by Noemi Durighello's large-format paintings and her small formats conceived as a series.

In mirrored or multiplied forms, the artist examines outlines, demarcations, looks down to a deep pictorial ground from which new variations of ellipses and organic or geometric formations in red, yellow, blue, black, gray emerge. As with the ultrasound images, a spatial representation emerges, created painterly by the application of layers and omissions in the painting ground. Noemi Durighello plays with our perception of foreground, middle ground, and background by emphasizing certain structures through a very smooth or a gestural, that is, moving, brushstroke. This emphasis on individual structures can in turn be interpreted as a reference to ultrasound images, in which low-echo and high-echo structures become very dark and bright, respectively, in the imaging.

In the small-format paintings, which are intended as a continuous series, Noemi Durighello focuses on the human genome as a sequence of DNA bases. The painter develops a kind of modular system or visual alphabet that attempts to establish a readability from picture to picture, but whose decoding remains hidden.

Noemi Durighello: Family Business (series). 2023 acrylic and oil on canvas each 30 x 40 cm and 40 x 50 cm

Noemi Durighello: About Truths and Perspectives. 2023 acrylic and oil on canvas 150 x 220 cm

Noemi Durighello © Anja Schneider

Noemi Durighello (*1996 in Feltre, Italy, lives and works in Dresden)

The artist is a master student of Prof. Anne Neukamp at the HfBK Dresden. After a Bachelor of Arts in painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Venice, she graduated from the Dresden Art Academy. Durighello was awarded the 2022 Saxon State Scholarship for Young Artists.

Project partners:

Mariam Adamu © University Hospital Dresden/Thomas Albrecht


Dr. Mariam Adamu – Sonography for tumor surgery
Dept. of Visceral, Thoracic and Vascular Surgery, Dresden University Hospital

Tumors in the abdomen and thorax are operated on at the Department of Visceral, Thoracic and Vascular Surgery using state-of-the-art procedures. Surgical sonography plays an important role in diagnostics, therapy and follow-up care. Experienced specialists use ultrasound, for example, as a complementary method to precisely determine the location and extent of a tumor.  The imaging method is also used to clarify possible complications or the function of organs and vessels after an operation and to carry out check-ups as part of tumor aftercare. Contrast agents can be used to distinguish between different types of tumors, for example in the liver. During operations, sonography is indispensable for determining the resection lines. It is also used for small interventions, for example to take tissue samples of a tumor at the right place.

Anna Poetsch © Hagen Gebauer

Mario Aguilar-Herrador © private


Dr. Anna Poetsch, Mario Aguilar-Herrador – Genetic damage and carcinogenesis
Biomedical Genomics Group, Biotechnology Center (BIOTEC), TU Dresden

How are genetics and the development of cancer related? In individual patients, the distribution of DNA damage and mutations varies widely across the genome. To date, the mechanisms that lead to individual patterns of DNA damage and somatic mutations are poorly understood. Researchers are therefore using computational techniques and machine learning approaches to model and evaluate these mechanisms. This is the basis for the development of clinical applications and an important enabler for personalized cancer therapy.