Jana Hartmann (DE)

Mastering the Elements

01 March - 24 March

Image: Jana Hartmann, from the series Mastering the Elements.

Where do we draw the line between working with nature and dominating nature?


01 March - 24 March


Abbotsford Convent [i]
1 St Heliers St, Abbotsford
Tue – Fri, 10am – 2pm
Sat – Sun & Public Holidays, 10am – 4pm


Technological Futures


Wheelchair access



Mastering the Elements considers the scientific exploration and eventual conquest ofnature – from the beginnings of alchemy to the present day. In their pursuit to turn basemetals into gold, alchemists always strove for a transdisciplinary understanding ofnature’s inner workings. But the Age of Enlightenment saw a transition towards naturalsciences that ultimately sought dominance over nature’s bounty.

By combining philosophy and photography, these images take a visual journey throughtopics that have captivated the researchers throughout history, from traditional medicine and classical concepts of matter, to biogerontology (the science of ageing) and quantumphysics. Juxtaposing the alchemical approach with modern scientific practice exposesvarious issues associated with today’s prevailing understanding of nature, and invites questions about how scientific understandings might advance in the future.

Curated by PHOTO Australia Supported by Fini Frames

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Founding Partners
  • Bowness Family Foundation
  • Naomi Milgrom Foundation
Major Government Partners
  • City of Melbourne Arts Grants Program
  • Creative Victoria
Major Partners
  • Maddocks

PHOTO Australia respectfully acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands upon which we work and live, and the rich and diverse Indigenous cultures across what is now called Australia. For over 60,000 years, Indigenous arts and culture have thrived on this sacred land, and we honour Elders and cultural leaders past and present. This was, and always will be, Aboriginal land.

01–24 March