Alpher-Bethe-Gamow is a personal and artistic exploration of different ways in which creation can be analysed and understood.
The story of the exhibition is built around a scientific paper signed by three researchers, one of which is there as a pun. In their attempt to explain the Big Bang theory, Ralph Alpher and George Gamow published on the 1st of April 1948 the scientific paper titled The Origin of Chemical Elements. Hans Bethe is mentioned as an author of the paper by Gamow to create a pun on the Greek letters alpha, beta and gamma.
Mihai Plătică’s creative investigation of reality resembles in some ways a scientific research. Observation, data collection, analysis, experimentation are methods he uses to create his works. Primordial chemical elements such as hydrogen and helium form part of the exhibition’s narrative formula. Anodized niobium, vanadium foil, tritium isotopes visually accompany landscapes that reveal an enigmatic nature. A nature that silently vibrates between filters of light.
Ralph Alpher and George Gamow’s paper presents a mathematical model that can be used to calculate nuclear processes that could have taken place seconds after the primordial cosmic event, thus proving the validity of the Big Bang theory. As scientists use formulas to control the relativity of research, Mihai Plătică uses photographic techniques to analyse reality’s relativity. In the process of applying these techniques, he continuously adjusts reality to generate new meanings.
The chromatic model RGB (red-green-blue), mainly used to represent images on electronic systems, maximizes informational content by minimizing the interpretation time. That’s why this model is applicable to different mediums, from photography to satellite imaging. When it comes to colour photography, these three colours are used in different combinations and quantities so that they represent reality through to the human eye’s capacity to perceive the visible light spectrum. In the case of scientific photography, the RGB model is applied to images so that scientists can visualize and categorize information that is registered by monochromatic satellite imagery.
Key components of the exhibition are natural landscapes explored through manipulation of the chromatic model. Whether they focus on the complexity of natural forces or the peculiarity of certain textures of elements found in nature, these works aim to question photography’s ability to capture the complexity of reality. The RGB model thus functions as a unique mediator between art and science, an exercise of visual remediation of the world.
Instead of imposing a certain narrative, the exhibition invites viewers to organically explore the spaces captured in the images. In the structure of the Alpher-Bethe-Gamow universe, reality is channeled and divided in a spectrum. By analysing it, one is able to discover the elements that this reality is composed of. A reality where Chromatic Waves are generated by Dynamic Storms. A Radiant Landscape is revealed at Moonset. Walled Plain and Underground Constellations await to be discovered. Monolithic structures (Wispy Columns) spatially fragment a reality whose past can be read in the Negative Acceleration of stars and whose future can be foreseen in a Silicon Crystal.
The objects that accompany the photographs – Sound Mirror, Silicon Crystal, Umbra Shape – function as cultural artefacts belonging to a world that awaits its reconstruction.
The works in this exhibition offer viewers access to a space that exists at the border between the perceptible and the susceptible. The final aim of playing with the filters of reality is to perceive creation through the eyes of a Bethe: as an intentionally coincidental presence.
Text by Oana Stan