Impact Crater

Taha Heidari 19 Apr 2019 - 28 Jun 2019

I archive images and make a folder for each painting and tend to think about them as individual projects. I am interested in painting as a possibility of encountering what images do in relation to how they are made and appear to us. I have always been fascinated by the moment of glitch– a visible instance of the separation between the technology of fabricating and representing images and what they do/show. I use various palette knives, rollers, airbrush and masking tapes to create complex, highly detailed surfaces so I can accentuate the significance of technique, tools and materials to respond to the multilayered existence of images and array of banal and sometimes ominous associations. The following paragraphs are some of the narratives around the images I chose to paint.

November 30, 1954 at 2:46 pm a large meteorite streaked through the East Alabama sky, triggering aerial explosions as it broke apart. A 3.8 kilogram fragment of the meteorite, approximately the size of a grapefruit, crashed through Ann Hodges' roof, glanced off a radio and struck Hodges while she was in the middle of an afternoon nap. The meteorite made a mark on her left hip, and because of this she later claimed the ownership of the rock.

“I feel like the meteorite is mine,” she said. “I think God intended it for me. After all, it hit me!”

Lenin died on January 21, 1924. Alexei Abrikosov performed the usual short-term embalming procedure to preserve the body temporarily, allowing it to be publicly displayed for a few days before the funeral. On March 26, 1924, the examination commission noticed the rst threatening signs—the ‘‘drying and softening of body parts and the appearance of dark spots on the skin, especially on the face and hands”. In late March, after endless discussions and disagreements, it was decided to subject Lenin’s body to an experimental embalming procedure.They managed to solve the problem by the use of a variety of different reagents in between baths. For example, if a patch of wrinkling or discoloration occurred it was treated with a solution of acetic acid and ethyl alcohol diluted with water. Hydrogen peroxide could be used to restore the tissues' original colouring.

The surfaces of the stones used to build the Saint George's Church in Nördlingen, Germany, are covered with tiny diamonds, barely visible to the human eye. A type of rock called Suevite, created or modified by the impact of a meteorite. Nördlingen itself is built in an impact crater. Travelling at an estimated 25km per second, the 1km-wide asteroid slammed into the ground with such force that it not only created a 26km-wide crater in which the town lies, but subjected the bedrock to such intense heat and pressure that the bubbles of carbon within it transformed almost instantaneously into tiny diamonds.

In 16th Century Elizabethan England one of the most popular women’s facial cosmetics was called Venetian Ceruse or Spirits of Saturn. The lead- based makeup caused the skin to appear whiter than natural skin, which was a sign of nobility and ideal beauty. It was in high demand and considered the best available at the time. Once an ideal whiteness was achieved (sometimes complete with false veins traced onto the skin), coloring was applied. Rouged cheeks and red lips were very popular, these were obtained with plants and animal dyes. While this make up was very popular, its use came at a high cost, the side effects of this toxic lead-based cosmetic included skin discoloration, erosion of dental enamel, hair loss, and illness. Heavy use of the lead could cause death.

Impact Craters are marks made by meteorites on the surface of the planets they collide with, in other words, planetary mark making. In this series I have been thinking about the relationship between material and image in creation of marks. Black spots on Lenin’s face due to postmortem skin changes, the bruise on Ann Hodges’ hip caused by a meteorite, the microscopic diamonds on the surface of Saint George's Church in Nördlingen, the use of lead to lighten skin, and painting as the epitome of 30,000 years of mark making by humans.