The potential for life in other parts of the universe has been a constant source of fascination for both scientists and artists alike. This part of the exhibition explores the origin of life in the cosmos, and ponders whether we are alone. It features contemporary depictions of alien worlds by internationally revered artists, including Laurent Grasso, Pierre Huyghe, and Hiroshi Sugimoto. Their works is shown alongside pop culture graphic art, which stirs our imagination about mysterious extra-terrestrial encounters. Work by Patricia Piccinini, Vincent Fournier and Hajime Sorayama suggests how new technology such as robotics, nanotechnology and genetic engineering, might give rise to strange new life forms somewhere within the universe. 


This section includes artworks by:

  • Laurent Grasso

  • Pierre Huyghe

  • Hiroshi Sugimoto

  • Vincent Fournier
  • Patricia Piccinini

  • Hajime Sorayama

  • Momoko Seto

Prêtre JÔMON
Laurent Grasso  |  2015

Courtesy of Fondation d'entreprise Hermès, Edouard Malingue Gallery, Hong Kong
Photo: Nacása & Partners Inc.
Photo courtesy: Fondation d'entreprise Hermès, Edouard Malingue Gallery, Hong Kong
© ADAGP, Paris 2017

These artworks by Laurent Grasso draw on symbolism from various cultural mythologies, and take the form of mysterious archeological artifacts. These silent, solemn figures ask questions about the origins of our mythologies, and where our notions of enigmatic celestial beings may have come from.   


Pierre Huyghe  |  2014
Duration: 12 min 35 sec (loop)
Collection of Atom Suematsu
Courtesy of Hauser and Wirth, London; Esther Schipper, Berlin;  Taro Nasu, Tokyo; and Anna Lena Films, Paris
© ADAGP, Paris 2017

This artwork by renowned French artist, Pierre Huyghe shows the interior of a piece of amber that encases insects. Shot in high resolution, the inside of the amber resembles nebulae in outer space. The compound eyes and body parts of the insects are reminiscent of planets or UFOs. Seeing the insects, which appeared on Earth long before people, trapped inside amber for so many years conveys the evolutionary link between ancient, extinct life forms and modern ones. 

Robotic Jellyfish Drone (Cyanea Machina)
Vincent Fournier  |  2013
Collection of the artist

Produced with a 3D printer, Robotic Jellyfish Drone is part of Fournier's Post Natural History series, a collection of imaginary species inspired by synthetic biology and cybernetics. These poetic and sensitive creatures reconsider the relationship between nature and technology, and inspire ideas about how novel life forms may evolve somewhere within the universe. 

Sexy Robot
Hajime Sorayama  |  2016
FRP, iron, silver and gold plating air brush paint, LED neon light
Collection of the artist
Courtesy of NANZUKA, Tokyo
Photo: Shigeru Tanaka      
Photo courtesy: Nanzuka, Tokyo

The sculpture draws inspiration from science fiction, and pulp fiction, about how life and technology may evolve on alien worlds. Hajime Sorayama is a Japanese artist known for his biomechanoid robots, and his design work on the original Sony AIBO robotic pet.  He first created Sexy Robot as a graphic artwork in 1983, with this full-size robot version evolving more recently.