The Great Work of the Metal Lover

- Andrew W. Brown

The Great Work of the Metal Lover is an artwork by Andrew W. Brown that situates itself on the intersection between art, science and alchemy. Through modern microbiology, the centuries old mystery of gold production is solved; a controlled atmosphere in an alchemic bioreactor has the ability to encourage extremophile bacteria to reproduce. These specific bacteria form the key to the origin of live. They have the unique ability to metabolize toxic materials such as uranium, arsenic and gold chloride. Lakes and oceans contain substantial amounts of dissolved gold which, due to its diluted concentration, becomes virtually unusable. This gold is incorporated in his paintings – obtained by combining print and paint techniques – where it shines on the enlarged microscopic images of the bacteria.⁠