Palaces is a spectacular crystal resin sculpture embedded with milk teeth donated by hundreds of children across the UK. As a collaboration with Professor Sara Rankin, the Palace has gradually grown as the milk teeth contributions are received. Standing 3m high, 2m wide and 1m deep, the detail of hundreds of tiny teeth embedded in this structure is only visible on closer inspection.
The work is fundamentally about belief. It’s an interweaving of science and magic, possibilities and potentials, fact and fictions, and the rituals we enact. Milk teeth and their symbolic association with growth and progress, loss of innocence and entering maturity.
They also a symbol of the body's ability to regenerate in this context - stem cells can be extracted from milk teeth. The translucent quality of Palaces is familiar to scientists who create scaffolds for tissue engineering by de-cellularising organs.
The Palace has formed - like many of Gina’s works - from numerous inputs that are a melting of present and past experiences, of knowledge and memory. The idea for the Palace really started with her daughter, Saskia, returning from school at 7 years old and saying to her: “Just tell me the truth: is the Tooth Fairy real?"
The donated teeth are symbolic of altruistic donation of body parts for future health care possibilities, including organs for organ transplants, umbilical cords for bone marrow transplants, and donation of adult stem cells found in fat from liposuction and baby teeth.
Palaces at the Bluecoat, Liverpool
Detail of milk tooth molars
Funding & Support
Palaces is created by Gina Czarnecki with Professor Sara Rankin in 2011-2016.
Commissioned by the Bluecoat Arts Centre, the Imperial College London and The Wellcome Trust.
Supported by the Science Museum London, the Polish Institute and all the donors of milk teeth.