2020 was conceived as the coronavirus pandemic began to grip the world. The sculpture is Angela Palmer’s three-dimensional ‘drawing’ of the virus that causes COVID-19, and is based on the first genomic map of SARS-CoV-2 from Wuhan, China. As the pandemic spread, Palmer was struck by how our understanding of the virus shifted and challenged even the greatest scientific minds. The result of months of careful work and collaboration with scientists, 2020 captures the virus at eight million times its real size, seen suspended and imprisoned in glass. The installation is an eerie and ethereal rendering of the virus. From the front of the sculpture you are confronted by the entire sphere, with its spike proteins emerging from the surface. Yet as you pass around, it disappears entirely from view, only to reappear again, echoing the elusive behaviour of the virus as it continues to spread across the world.
Angela Palmer – '2020: The Sphere that Changed the World' | Oxford University Museum of Natural History