Making Beauty: Elapida Hadzi-Vasileva

Determined to see this exhibition, I signed up to the talk ‘Testing the Intestines’ a discussion about the 2 years of research funded by The Wellcome Trust Elpida Hadzi-Vasileva has undertaken, culminating in this stunning exhibition.

The talk was chaired by Giles Major (NIHR Academic Clinical Assistant Professor) with medical researchers from the Nottingham Digestive Diseases Centre QMC and their collaborators as well as Elapida Hadzi-Vasileva. The discussion explored the science that has informed Elpida’s most recent art work.

What was really exciting and absolutely fascinating was the visible excitement that both the artist and the scientists have for the project. Elpida clearly gained from the experience but what was clear was that so too did the scientists, visualisation allowed them to view their work in a completely new way.

The talk gave an overview of the progression of gut health and medicine which was fascinating and gave me some points towards my own work to consider:

  • Words used to describe feelings often use gut related reference, ‘gut feeling‘ ‘sick to your stomach
  • The stomach is often referred to as the second brain. Emotions effect the way it behaves and fear has a strong relation. ‘evacuation‘ / evacuees
  • Endoscopy is a way of exploring/investigating the health of someone and fibre optics are integral to an endoscopy.

Elpida Hadzi-Vasileva


A cathedral like tunnel of pig caul. A sense of being within and being led to somewhere, a journey.


Pig caul detail. It was like tissue paper floating gently as people passed.


The tunnel led to this epic presence. A representation of Jesus made from lamb intestine plaited a reference to the ‘lamb of god’ set within a cathedral like space.


The use of light, fibre optic, led’s


close up


Elpida uses so many unusual materials. dried skate wings


Drawings that reminded me of my ink, lace drawings.

Elpida’s work is so exciting to me on so many levels. The use of materials, the historic and medical reference, her collaborations an research with other industries as well as being visually stunning.

At the end of the talk I was lucky to be able to talk with Elpida about her work and the way she went about approaching the various institutions that she wanted to work with.

In October she will be back at the gallery and in conversation with Richard Davey, writer and visiting fellow at NTU School of Art and Design.





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