Nuclear Traces on the Forehead of the Madonna | 2002

Dortmund- Museum DASA, DASA-Galerie


U.R. In the DASA-Galerie in Dortmund you presented your work "Atomare Spuren auf der Stirn der Madonna" ("Nuclear Traces on the Forehead of the Madonna"), a spatial installation where by a technical device, amongst other things,the cosmic, radio ac­tive radiation in our atmosphere is rendered visible. At the same time there is, in this spatial installation, the projection of a film about Mass celebrated on the occasion of the wor­ship of a relic. This film shows a priest who is saying Mass and behind him the medieval portrait of the Virgin painted on tiles.The tile with the Virgins forehead on it has a crack from which, according to ecclesiastic tradition, blood seeps out from time to time. In this, as in many of your other works you yoke together a modern scientific process and the ritual portrait of a saint. Would you say that linking of different manners of human experiences is an essential feature of your artistic conception?

In this work, which consists of five beamer projections and an authentic cloud chamber I employ the formal analogy of an atom trace made visible and a similarly curled scratch on the damaged ceramic tile. These two views which at first sight have an air of absurdity in their direct combination are two deliberately selected and quite current models of an explana­tion of the world. Physics as well as the different religions use a powerful imagery, symbols and formulae in order to describe the state of the world. The natural sciences and the various ­religions, but also art, are struggling to push back the frontiers of human understanding.These disciplines open up planes of inspiration beyond the comprehensible and the conceptual. My artistically constructed and also uncommented confrontation of these two models of insight (nuclear physics / holy Mass), which I present with moving pictures in space, turns these into a kind of impulse generator with different frequencies. The superposition of these two frequencies results in an interference, a new tangible plane of insight with a structure hitherto unknown and in posession of a new truth. I want to render comprehensible essential forms beyond the factual and to distil from the two already known realities a third, albeit temporally limited, reality. It has become a principle of my artistic work to contrast known, i.e. recognized, pictures and formulae from the fields of natural science, religion and art to produce a visual reticulum from which new sensual and intellectual stimuli and insights may be drawn.

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