White Rabbit Fever

Maija Tammi

Research output: Artistic and non-textual formExhibitionSolo art productionpeer-review


Maija Tammi
White Rabbit Fever
Gallery Lapinlahti, Helsinki
Sept 30 – Oct 16, 2016
Opening reception: Thursday, September 29 from 6:00 – 8:00 PM.
Musician Pekka Kuusisto will perform at the opening. Piece made by Kuusisto and Tammi combines violin, electronics and video of forever growing cancer cells.

Gallery Lapinlahti is pleased to host the first solo exhibition of Maija Tammi’s new body of work, White Rabbit Fever. The project is the culmination of Tammi’s research into the ambiguous boundary between life and death. The exhibition draws visitors into a contemplation of the nature of this question through artistic, scientific and philosophical means, using a combination of still life photography, laboratory photography, sculpture and installations.

Tammi’s research on the topic started with the revelation of the many definitions that we use for death: there is clinical death, and some six minutes later biological death, and even after 17 days some stem cells might still be alive in a human corpse. In one remarkable example, an American woman named Henrietta Lacks died in 1951, but her cells are still alive and continuously grown in laboratories worldwide, cell division after cell division, decade after decade. Her cells – named HeLa cells – have been grown extensively and even sent into space.

The disease alluded to by the series, White Rabbit Fever, is not an actual disease, but rather, an archetype representing the condition of being ill with a disease, assaulting our concept of time, as we count down the minutes until death. The death rate for a rabbit is one hundred percent ... whether infected by the disease or not.

White Rabbit Fever is about time in relation to life and death. The series shows a decaying rabbit from Day 1 to Day 100. The series shows Henrietta Lacks’ HeLa cells, Pa-Ju cells derived from a teenage patient who died in 1983, and Us-Ki cells from another patient in 2009, all of which Tammi has been growing and documenting under controlled conditions at a laboratory in Helsinki, Finland.

Tammi confronts the uncomfortable, and ultimately unsolvable question in her exhibition delicately, drawing on beauty, suggestion and illusion to create a space for thought and wonder into the biggest mystery of our time on Earth.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 30 Sep 2016
MoE publication typeF1 Published independent work of art
EventGallery Lapinlahti - Helsinki, Finland
Duration: 30 Sep 201616 Oct 2016

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