"The creation of art is not the fulfillment of a need but the creation of a need.
The world never needed Beethoven's Fifth Symphony until he created it. Now we could not live without it."

-Louis I. Kahn, Architect

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

My "Pillars of Creation"

 I am not a landscape painter but since the releases of the Hubble Space Telescope’s pictures, galaxies and other nebulae have become part of our landscape. The central subject of my painting is the "Pillars of Creation", located in The Eagle Nebula (M16, NGC 6611). Released in April 1995, they are Hubble Space Telescope’s most famous picture. The M16 is approximately 7,000 light years away and is approximately 24 trillion miles long.
My painting is a 360 degrees panorama which has therefore no fixed central viewpoint. It is however viewed from one single observer living on our planet Earth.
I have therefore painted it from all possible angles, turning the canvas on all its four possible positions (therefore these four views of my painting). This painting can be appreciated from any angle, hopefully superseding the limited "Cubist perspective" attempted a century ago.
As a so-called "fish-eye" panorama, its positive curvature reflects the curvature of our expanding (inflationary) universe.
The "Pillars" patterns can also be found amongst the clouds above the sun (sorry but my photograph isn't good enough to see them well). These are "Pillars-like clouds" BUT with quite literally a twist: they are inverted as in a mirror. My idea here is to suggest the idea of a relation between what Ancient philosophers called Macrocosm&Microcosm. In Ancient Egypt, our "Milky Way" was considered as a celestial copy of the "earthly Nile", a place where all dead's souls end their journey. 
I liked this metaphor: we are but a reflection of a much bigger world. We are mere stardust.
Viewed at some distance, the circle of the panorama can also be seen as either an outside or inside "sphere"- my artistic rendering of the concept of a "boundless yet finite" Universe.
I hope that at this point you feel a little bit dizzy... 
The circle of the panorama can also be seen as a clock. If you look a little bit closer you will realize it is being populated by Life's activities over a span of... several millions years. The central subject being, after all, the "Pillars of Creation". We are all ephemeral stardust, are we not?
So it is all about time + space ... in a nutshell.
The irony is that this image of these "Pillars of Creation" isn't eternal either. In 2007 an infrared image from the Spitzer Space Telescope revealed a previously unknown supernova whose shock wave may have destroyed the Pillars approximately 6,000 years ago. 
Given the distance to the nebula, we have another 1,000 years to enjoy this striking beauty.
Since I won't live long enough, I thought it would be a good idea to portray it.

This painting of Vincent Van Gogh (The Starry Night) was an obvious inspiration.

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