At the Royal Observatory of Brussels, a drawing of the Sun is sketched by hand every single day to follow the progression of sunspots. Based on this daily scientific practice, Ash Light takes its cue from the Sun’s mysterious multi-faceted surface, represented here by a radiant element which evokes both sun and moon; a celestial body in perpetual motion and mutation.
The mathematical space of the grid in the background and varying spectral colours convey the scientific spirit, while on the foreground a dynamic repetition unfolds, highlighting the importance and value of hand-drawn sketches in a society where these processes have largely been taken over by technologically driven applications. Ash Light (Lumière Cendrée in French), is an astronomical term for the dim illumination caused by the sunlight that reflects off a planet’s surface and onto the otherwise dark side of a moon in its orbit – or in our case: earthshine.
The title directly opens up to the myths and narratives which have always surrounded the Sun and Moon; the flame of life and the ashes of death.
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The artistic practice of Amelie Bouvier builds from historical research in the field of astronomy to question issues related to cultural memory and collective heritage. Astronomers in particular, and scientists in general, don’t only explain the world, they also represent it through the construction of diagrams, illustrations, photographs or equations. For Bouvier, scientific imagery is an extension of knowledge that reveals ideological and ethical frameworks, which risk cloaking aspects of the reality they aim to represent. She is particularly interested in the sky and stars as a landscape that expose current socio-political contradictions and knowledge gaps. While her work is based on historical facts, data and visuals, she consistently mixes this with speculative imagery, adapting tools and techniques to present alternative potentialities.
Courtesy Amélie Bouvier and Harlan Levey Projects