Distillation of Matter
2017, hand-crushed ferrite magnets, rare earth magnets, linen thread, steel. Installation view, 2017 Visual Arts Emerging Fellowship, Artspace, Sydney. Video: Tom Compagnoni. Photos: Zan Wimberley.
Distillation of Matter is a site-specific artwork installed at Artspace, Sydney, for the 2017 NSW Visual Arts Emerging Fellowship. The installation engages with the unseen magnetic potential of Artspace’s architecture. Relying upon the force of magnetism, the installation is suspended by rare earth magnets that are attached to ferromagnetic steel plates at the top of the building’s timber posts. These steel architectural elements are pulled down with lines through space, converging to single points.
Hovering just above eye height upon taut linen threads, the orb is made from hand-crushed ferrite magnets, a material that I make by smashing ceramic magnets with a mortar and pestle. This is an intensely physical process that shifts the context of these industrially produced magnets, changing them from functional objects to a sculptural material that is more reminiscent of their original ceramic earthly origin.
This work is part of my ongoing exploration of the infinite, and universal invisible forces such as gravity and magnetism. The installation evolved from my previous artworks, particularly Distant Orbits (2016). Distillation of Matter alludes to the idea of a singularity – an infinitesimal point at the centre of a black hole where crushed matter of a collapsed star, drawn inward, might become infinitely dense. Differing from a scientific representation of this idea, mine is an imagining that has emerged from recent scientific investigations in my practice and the architectural space that the work inhabits.