Archives for posts with tag: simulation

Back to etching. Have completed an intro/induction at Thames Barrier Print Studio so am now good to go with new work. 1603 aluminium plateTried aluminium in saline sulphate which gives a really deep etch. Used stop out and painting into hot hard ground. Was good to play around with new materials and get some tips from resident expert etcher Nick Richards. 1603 stop out

This primer from Wilkinsons is cheap and works well as a stop out solution. The etchings I had done before were all on steel with soft ground, I love the deep rich tones from steel but am trying a new piece of work on zinc with hard ground with should give me a more precise line.

1603 etching plate




This work is inspired by the idea of gravitational waves and grains of space which is one of the lessons in Carlo Rovelli’s book Seven Brief Lessons on Physics. It’s taking a while to cover the plate in the dots. I’m not sure when it’s all done if the wave pattern will disappear.


Michael Doser’s keynote paper Seeing Antimatter Disappear at the symposium Shadow Without Object  gave an insight into how the study of gravity acting on antimatter may help explain why it has disappeared. As a research physicist at CERN he is engaged is trying to discover why there is not the same amount of antimatter as matter in the universe and why what little there is remains clumped at the centre of our milky way galaxy. I asked him if antimatter was considered part of the 5% of the visible world of matter and I think he said that it was as it interacts with photons and fundamental forces.

1603 Michael Doser

Although gravity is the weakest of the fundamental forces its impact on the parabolic flight of anti-hydrogen atoms can be witnessed by using emulsion on a photographic plate which records the particle collision. Using photographic emulsion gives a far more accurate and sensitive result than any digital recording device could.

1603 anti proton imaging.jpg

He said some confounding things – that antimatter emits light exactly like normal matter so you can photograph it but you only see it when it annihilates. So we don’t actually see the antiprotons just the trace of the aftermath of their disappearance left in the photo emulsion on the plate. Working at quantum scales the collision of the proton into the emulsion is digitally scanned and a 3d image stacked up to reveal a starburst. The starburst is the locus of disappearance.

Cosmic rays coming from remote stars hit our atmosphere and produce showers of particles that plough through our bodies – these can be seen using cloud chambers which are detectors that track the particles. The unseen activity of the universe made visible. This is something I am hoping to see when we visit the underground laboratories at Boulby.

1603 cloud chamber particles.jpg

At the talk Are We Darkened by the Light? at Tate Modern architect Asif Khan had brought along a sample of the darkest material on earth – a Vertically Aligned Nano Tube Array. This material was made as a reference for noise images which aim to establish what black should be when looking at a camera chip to remove interference. This material is so black because it absorbs all the photons of light rather than bouncing some back to our eyes.

1512 darkest matter

I wonder if all the photons stay in this material when they are absorbed. Does it fill up with photons?  Does it get hot in there?  Planck’s constant states every hot object emits light, how does that fit in?

Also at Tate Modern was In/Visibility a work by Vinita Khanna that uses a polarising filter to conceal and reveal the colours in a copy of Gustav Klimt’s painting Portrait of Frau Adele Bloch Bauer.

1602  InVisibility

Vinita Khanna In/Visibility

Choosing an image that we are all familiar with, yet most of us have never seen the original, Vinita Khanna comments on the intangible nature of vision demonstrating the invisible made visible. Humans treat their vision as absolute, when in fact the bulk of our perceived reality is generated by our brains.

1603 Clare Muireann Murphy

Clare Muireann Murphy is a brilliant story teller. She was performing her new work Universe at The Crick Crack Club event upstairs at Soho Theatre. Colliding the science of the big bang (cracking of the cosmic egg) with mythical tales of a goddess tumbling from the skies into a watery world to be rescued by a fearless turtle who then gets turned into a magical lyre that plays the music of the cosmos passing from god to mortal. Clare creates a place of wonder and insight where time stretches and a fissure opens that builds a dream bridge between many worlds…

1601 Repetition Variation

Julian Page presented a group show at Clerkenwell Gallery with a strong sense of the material world. Layers, grids, clusters, networks and stacks – great pictures here:  Repetition Variation.  Having watched the steady growth of Stack while sharing a studio space with Amy Gear at the RCA I have a great affection for this piece.

Stack is an encounter with mass.

Repetition celebrates editions in the print fest Multiplied at Christies. A jostle of galleries showing their wares. The RCA gets a stand showcasing alumni with recent graduates. I had one sculpture from everydaymatters showing. It looks obvious in this picture but it was surprising how people just didn’t see it. It was about the only work not on the wall and when the room was packed it disappeared in the crowd. Invisible matter.1602 RCA  mulltipliedI was pleased to have two variable editions of Paradise Road sw4 shown by Dark Matter Studio in a grouping with work by Zoe Dorelli, Mary Yacoob, Marianne Walker and Patrick Jackson – The Inner City Pilgrims. A new collaborative project I am involved with whose aim is to re-mystify the city.

1602 Dark Matter at Multiplied

Katharina Grosse has been interrogating space in relation to her paintings such as  ‘Untitled Trumpet’ which have expanded to the point that you can walk through them.

1601 Venice Katherina Grosse  (2)

Katharina Grosse Untitled  (Trumpet)

From the experience of having a painting transferred from canvas to silk she was inspired by the folds in the fabric. Folds in space.

1601 Venice Katherina Grosse  (1)

Katharina Grosse Untitled (Trumpet)

A fold in space could theoretically, allow a short cut from one place to another.

1601 wormholeA wormhole has two mouths and a throat. For travel to be possible, wormholes would need to be full of exotic matter, that is to say a non-baryonic matter like dark matter i.e. not made of the stuff we are made of. It is as yet another unknown.

How we move through space and interact with the architecture that surrounds us was explored in Mimesis  at Westminster Reference Library.

“Mimesis produces mere ‘phantoms’, not real things. It is at once dependent and deluded, just as a mirror is empty and inessential without something to reflect.” – Matthew Potolsky

1602 Amelia Critchlow

Amelia Critchlow

Amelia Critchlow and Evy Jokhova have been considering how image and architectural form influence the way we read our world; how cognition can cloud and clarify and how association can attack an image or experience, or stand apart, apparently neutral and transparent.

1602 Evy Johkova 3

Evy Jokhova

Mimesis created an unstable environment of wobbly furniture, erased images and material associations where the chalky surface of architectural columns turn out to be constructed from Brie.

This is the playful mimic undermining the authority of grand architecture and opening a space to question our surroundings by subverting expectations of form.

I was introduced to the beautiful work of Ben Cove at Multiplied and then visited his exhibition Modern Language at Peter Von Kant Gallery.

Architectural devices are made symbols. Flat surfaces deceive the eye with shadow and form. Clean, sharp colours zing against black and white images drawing the eye backward and forward shifting us in space and in time. It’s a dynamic experience. Having read a lot lately about how there is no empty space, there is no void, I can feel here that all space is packed with information and all is connected through space time.

For her archaeological installation Wrong Way Time in the Australian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale Fiona Hall filled the room with an ecology of objects that tell the story of civilization from primal beliefs in magic and animism through capitalism, global economic collapse and climate change leaving us with the challenge of facing the end of anthropocentrism.

1601 Venice Australia Fiona Hall (2)

Fiona Hall

She trusts in our sense of wonder and imagination that can see life forms in sculpted drift wood to see a world not of exploitation but of symbiosis.

1601 Venice Australia Fiona Hall (3)

Fiona Hall

In the French Pavilion Celeste Boursier-Mougenot’s work also activated primal beliefs that animals, plants, and inanimate objects possess a spiritual essence. In transHUmUs an arboreal dance reintroduces us to a latent anthropomorphism. The trees glide around directed by their own metabolism with their truncated roots exposed on their islands of dirt, like isolated protesters quietly demonstrating.

1601 Venice France Celeste Boursier-Mougenot (2).jpg

Celeste Boursier-Mougenot transHUmUS

In the beginning…the word became flesh. The vertical-transcendent dimension of the Logos – the word of God from above and the horizontal-immanent dimension of the flesh below were the axes of research put forward by the Holy See as participant in the Venice Biennale 2105.  Elpida Hadzi-Vasileva created ‘Haruspex’ in this context.

1602 Venice Elpida Hadzi-Vasileva

Elpida Hadzi-Vasileva Haruspex

Using the raw flesh of pig’s caul, sheep’s intestine and cow’s stomach she weaves a canopy, an enclosure, a net, a trap, a sanctuary. It’s meaning oscillates as does the beauty and horror of its materiality. We must read the omens by inspecting the entrails of sacrificial animals.

Pamela Rosenkranz questions what it means to be human in a digital age. The anthropocentric bias of humanism is challenged when subject and object are impossible to separate. Our physical and psychic being is undergoing a transformation by the new materials that we wear, inject, subsume.

1601 Switzerland Pamela Rosenkranz (1)

Pamela Rosenkranz Simulation

The glowing wet body of synthetic liquid designed to replicate a particular skin colour floods the Swiss Pavilion with a sickly sweetness that has a back flavour of the murder victim’s chemical bath.





I have been considering the impact and use of different materials in some of the shows I have seen lately.

The weight of Phyllida Barlow’s sculptures

Phyllida Barlow

Phyllida Barlow

Because of their displacive presence and the stillness, they look heavy, immovable;but maybe they are not and if you pushed against them they would swing lightly away.

Phylida Barlow

Phylida Barlow

The frozen painting of Lawrence Carroll.

Lawrence Carroll

Lawrence Carroll

In the Holy See Pavilion at the Venice Biennale tasked with the theme of re-creation after the cleansing of the great flood Carroll (click for interview) chose to use ice as the medium of a new beginning.

Noemi Niederhauser, winner of the ArtLacuna Prize created an installation during her residency at the gallery – Vista Follies explored themes of artifice and a fetishized view of nature.

Noemi Niederhauser

Noemi Niederhauser

Her chosen materials are at odds with the objects they form.

Noemi Niederhauser

Noemi Niederhauser

Out of the mud. Like ice, mud talks of beginnings.

In the exhibition Delve at Leyden Gallery Atsuko Nakamura uses salt crystals as metaphors for natural evolution and time passing.

Atsuko Nakamura

Atsuko Nakamura

The land has all been cut from this atlas encrusted with salt crystals leaving only the oceans

Atsuko Nakamura

Atsuko Nakamura

after the tsunami the sea has grasped attention away from the land where power is usually described.

Glass Cat at Danielle Arnaud Gallery modest and even abject objects are hieroglyphs in whose dark prism social relations lay congealed and in fragments..In this perspective, a thing is never just an object, but a fossil in which a constellation of forces are petrified. Things are never just inert objects, passive items or lifeless shucks, but consist of tensions, forces, hidden powers, all being constantly exchanged.’ Hito Steyerl
William Waterhouse uses glycerine to repeatedly form a bubble – surface tension plus emotional tension.

William Waterhouse

William Waterhouse

Sophie Lascelles uses an unfolded cardboard box as low key screen for her projection ‘In the grasslands’

Sophie Lascelles

Sophie Lascelles

Sarah Woodfine’s sculptures are so smooth and solid. The pencil drawings on paper are immaculately pressed to a curved block of mdf – mdf made sexy

Sarah Woodfine

Sarah Woodfine

Helen Maurer uses light through cut glass and shadows to create mini animations in space

Helen Maurer

Helen Maurer

James Ireland uses materials found at the local diy centre, mock mini waterfalls in lumpy resin on garage shelving

James Ireland

James Ireland

There is a certain beauty through lighting and repetition and exposure, this can be the new sublime. The work is called ‘Epic’

Is a symbol now enough. This idea of the authenticity of the fake is something I will be tussling with in my dissertation. I have had a look at Jean Baudrillard on simulation but am not quite grasping his language yet.  So, first order simulation is an artificial copy of an original. Second order simulation blurs the boundaries between the authentic and the fake so they are hard to tell apart. Third order simulation is hyperreality which is artifice with no original. But wouldn’t that mean that the first of anything man made was an example of hyperreality. What about the first garden centre, the first cathedral. I got on better with Umberto Eco, Travels in Hyperreality.

Barton Hargreave gave an interesting talk at Ochre Print Studio about his work. Combining print with photography and sculpture to create simple silhouettes of figures in frozen movement.

Barton Hargreaves

Barton Hargreaves

The figures have a lightness about them which comes from the photographic origin and staging of his models who are captured climbing, suspended, or mid jump. Much of his work is installed in site specific locations and so he uses locally photographed images randomly collaged to inhabit the silhouettes.

Barton Hargreaves 'Promised Land'

Barton Hargreaves ‘Promised Land’

He also deals with images of the crowd, multiplying the figure. He has a wealth of knowledge about print surfaces and new technologies that are available. Wallwrap sounds an interesting material for outside installations and dibond was not something I was familiar with.

It’s been a crazy busy few weeks at the RCA making new work for the show at Café Gallery Projects so my blogs have got rather behind yet again.


Etching – work in progress

I have been working on the Paradise Forum piece as an etching. Etching is good for getting a really velvety black for the universe. It has been a real struggle to get the blend right between the photo etch and the aquatint. The problem of a dark or a light circle as one surface changes to another. I have learnt a lot about etching along the way.

Also had Paradise Walk SW3 piece on the go as well. From the photos I took on location I liked the scaffolding at one house – a Jacobs ladder.

Screenprint on Perspex

Screen print on Perspex – work in progress