Elsa Salonen

The Colour of Whale Fossils’ Songs

salt and copper-containing chrysocolla stone from the Atacama desert, Chile, copper sulfate, vinegar, glass
2020-2021, 180x70x33 cm

Salt, copper-containing chrysocolla stones, and copper sulfate made from the local copper were sent to the artist from the Atacama desert, Chile. By oxidising the stones, the artist processed them into turquoise verdigris pigment and vinegar liquids of the same shades. With these and the desert salt the artist created the symmetrical pattern of the installation. In addition, she crystallised the self-designed glass vessels with blue copper sulfate.

The Atacama is the driest place in the world and - as a former seabed - the richest marine mammal fossil habitat.

Technical support / materials from the Atacama desert: H-residency, Calama, Chile
Technical support / glass vessels: glassblowing studio / Walter Velasco
Thematic consultancy / Atacama fossils: Osvaldo Rojas, director of the Calama Museum of Natural History, Chile
Exhibition views: Ama Gallery, Helsinki, 2021 / Photographer: Jere Salonen

Indeed Atacama desert was immersed in the sea, mainly during the Jurassic about 150 million years ago.

Osvaldo Rojas, director of the Calama Museum of Natural History, Chile, in an e-mail conversation about the themes of the works, 2021