When DNA becomes part of a painting

Cancer researcher and conceptual artist Anton Henssen opens his first solo exhibition in Berlin on June 6. In the Alte Münze, the children's oncologe presents works in which he deals with circular DNA.
DNA becomes part of the identity of an image and thus experiences a kind of rebirth.
Anton G. Henssen
Anton Henssen Cancer researcher and conceptual artist

Anton Henssen is a painter, conceptual artist and Emmy Noether working group leader at the Experimental and Clinical Research Center (ECRC), a joint institution of the Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin and the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC). Henssen's research focuses on genetic phenomena, which he investigates using modern sequencing methods. In his first solo exhibition, which will open on June 6 at the Alte Münze in Berlin, Anton Henssen will present new works dealing with the topic of DNA circularization. The show entitled "Circular DNA" will be presented on the second floor of the Alte Münze at Berlin's Molkenmarkt.

Untitled, 2018
Human DNA, Oil and lacquer on linen, in artist's frame
9 4/10 × 11 4/5 in; 24 × 30 cm

Henssen extracts circular DNA from human tissue and applies it in layers on canvases. On the canvas, he mixes the invisible DNA with oil paint, acrylic, and paint spray. For Anton Henssen, the disappearance of DNA in color and image is an attempt to deal with the theme of identity. "The exploration of our human blueprint requires the extraction, isolation and sequencing of DNA from our cells. In my painting I reverse the process. I mix the DNA and let it become anonymous again in the layers of the picture. The DNA becomes, so to speak, a component of the identity of an image and thus experiences a kind of rebirth," he says.



2nd floor at Alte Münze
Molkenmarkt 2
10179 Berlin

Open: 6 June 2019, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Opening hours:
6 - 23 June 2019
Thurs - Sun, 4 p.m. - 8 p.m.

Further informations

As a physician and researcher, Anton Henssen has specialised in paediatric oncology, i.e. cancer in children. Since the end of 2018, he has headed an Emmy Noether research group at the ECRC, which is also a guest group at the MDC; at the same time, he works at the Charité as a physician in the Clinic for Paediatrics with a focus on haematology and oncology: "Better treatment for children with cancer".

Alte Münze Website

The Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC)


The Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine in the Helmholtz Association (MDC) is one of the world’s leading biomedical research institutions. Max Delbrück, a Berlin native, was a Nobel laureate and one of the founders of molecular biology. At the MDC’s locations in Berlin-Buch and Mitte, researchers from some 60 countries analyze the human system – investigating the biological foundations of life from its most elementary building blocks to systems-wide mechanisms. By understanding what regulates or disrupts the dynamic equilibrium in a cell, an organ, or the entire body, we can prevent diseases, diagnose them earlier, and stop their progression with tailored therapies. Patients should benefit as soon as possible from basic research discoveries. The MDC therefore supports spin-off creation and participates in collaborative networks. It works in close partnership with Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin in the jointly run Experimental and Clinical Research Center (ECRC), the Berlin Institute of Health (BIH) at Charité, and the German Center for Cardiovascular Research (DZHK). Founded in 1992, the MDC today employs 1,600 people and is funded 90 percent by the German federal government and 10 percent by the State of Berlin.


Jutta Kramm
Head of the Communications Department
Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine in the Helmholtz Association (MDC)

+49(0)30 9406-2140