Stories Told by Stones
stone and earth pigments and alum crystal on glass
2018, dimensions variable
With stone and earth pigments, together with alum crystal, the artist painted images of extinct plant species on glass. The paintings resemble the tropical forests of the Carboniferous Period, which around 300 million years ago greened the present northern hemisphere. The stones that were used as colour pigments for the paintings existed already back then - unlike humans.
According to animist worldview, every natural element has its own spiritual consciousness. Do the many experiences of old stones make them one of the most intelligent persons on our planet? What have they witnessed throughout their lives and what experiences would they share with us if a common language would allow it? With animistic view also the image of natural pigments changes radically. How much of a stone’s consciousness is left in a pigment ground from an azurite?
Technical support / pigments: Kremer Pigmente, Aichstetten, Germany
Thematic consultancy / geology: Saija Saarni, Ph.D. Researcher in Geology, University of Turku, Finland
Thematic consultancy / animism: Graham Harvey, Professor of Religious Studies, UK
Exhibition views: Jochen Hempel Gallery, Leipzig, 2022 / Photographer: Björn Siebert and Schwartzsche Villa, Berlin, 2019 / Photographer: Ludger Paffrath
Coal deposits from the Carboniferous Period are found in Europe, Asia and North America, i.e. the areas that formed the ancient Laurasian continent. During the Carboniferous Period Laurasia was located near the equator, where the conditions were favourable for tropical forests. The minerals you are using have very likely existed already in the Carboniferous Period. Each mineral is created under certain conditions, such as with any mineral, the right conditions occur at different times in different parts of the world. Thulite is found for example in Norway, where the bedrock was formed just before the Carboniferous Period. Mountain crystal is a colourless variety of quartz and common all around the world. It is also found in Finland's over two billion-year-old bedrock. With certainty, one can say that the rock crystals have existed already in the Carboniferous Period.Saija Saarni, Ph.D. Researcher in Geology, University of Turku, Finland, in an e-mail conversation about the themes of the works, 2018