G-Nome Preliminary Drawing – Forbidden Fruit, 1989
Andrew Leicester, (British-American, b. 1948)
Red and green crayon, ink, pencil on paper
Gift of David Buell Dahlquist and Cheryl Y. Dahlquist. In the Art on Campus Preparatory Studies and Maquettes Collection, Christian Petersen Art Museum, University Museums, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa.
This preliminary drawing shows the planning in preparation for the sculpture Forbidden Fruit, which can be found in the Molecular Biology Building on campus. In this drawing, a female figure is shown gripping the torn apart DNA helix. Faceless in the sketch, the resulting sculpture features blood red eyes, and a ghost white face contorted into a soundless scream. This face is distorted from typical goddess or muse-like figures that can be found in public spaces and is meant to depict the agony of childbirth. A tree of life emerges from her helmet showing an exposed brain, and in combination with the DNA strand that is broken in her hands, this figure is meant to act as a warning of the power of the research done within this building. This goddess inspires fear and respect to those who pass by her.
Andrew Leicester’s installation throughout Molecular Biology have references to the alteration of genetics and the potential powers and dangers these scientific advancements can hold. Forbidden Fruit, with its grotesque goddess-like figure, signals to the viewer the very unnatural, and potentially dangerous, results this power of altering DNA can have.