Visual artist Johanna Rotko works with living materials, mainly different yeasts. The Living Images exhibition consists of yeastograms - images made with living yeast cells - photographs taken between 2014–2020, and a video of the artist's working processes.
Yeastograms are formed by cultivating yeast on a biological growth media to create images out of conventional photographs. Raster images printed on film are exposed with Ultraviolet LED lamps onto cultivated yeast in petri dishes. After approximately 48h, the yeast cells exposed to UV are killed or injured and the ones sheltered by the black parts survive, and the yeasts form the image on the growth medium. After the exposure Rotko photographs the different states of growth and change as the images get covered by molds and other species. From this archive of photos Rotko then selects works for her exhibitions. The yeastograms themselves are biodegradable and they return to the nature's cycle as biowaste.
The main themes of Living Images are one's own relationship with nature and how nature is affected by human actions. Rotko's work presents a biocentric worldview, which does not place people above nature. It raises concerns about the state of the world and complex issues such as the loss of biodiversity. Bioart is inevitably based on manipulation of living materials but Rotko interferes the yeastogram processes as little as possible to let her works emerge from what grows in and around the petri dishes.