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Nanna Debois Buhl | A Cosmic Roar

A Cosmic Roar I, 2024, photogravure

The flickering imagery in Nanna Debois Buhl’s prints depicts matter that is normally too microscopic to grasp, and too foundational to comprehend.

Visualisations of dust grains from meteorites form the basis of four black and white photogravures. These dust grains contain particles that are more than 4.5 billion years old – older than our solar system. The wealth of detail invisible to the eye on the dust grain’s surface is given a new digital entity when read by the microscope and translated by computer software. In the resulting computer-generated 3D model, the meteoritic dust samples appear as black-and-white digital landscapes of stirred waters, peaks, and valleys.

The choice of the medium of photogravure allows Nanna Debois Buhl to visualise this otherwise invisible materiality and three-dimensionality: intaglio prints are made through indentations in a printing plate which are filled with ink and transferred onto paper. The ink sits in thick layers where it is darkest and finer layers where it is lighter. What makes the photogravure print exceptional is its own microcosm of tonalities which isn’t sensed through a screen but in the physical meeting between print and eye. By turning the meteoritic images into photogravures, Nanna Debois Buhl utilizes the inherent tactility of the medium to highlight the tactility of the microscopic particles.

A Cosmic Roar evolves from Nanna Debois Buhl’s practice-based Ph.D. PICTURE THE SKY: COSMIC CODE, IMAGES, AND IMAGINARIES, in which Buhl considers the image as a tool with which to map and to speculate. The series of four prints emerges from her conversations with astrophysicist Anja Cetti Andersen and nano physician Tue Hassenkam from University of Copenhagen.

A Cosmic Roar is part of Nanna Debois Buhl’s solo exhibitions Picture the Sky at Kunsthal Aarhus (3 February – 7 April 2024)

The paper is hand-coated with pearlescent powder before printing
A photogravure plate inked and ready for printing
A Cosmic Roar III, 2024, photogravure

Learn more about Nanna Debois Buhl