Atomic Bodegón, Still Life with Apple, Cabbage, Cucumber and Aubergine (Tribute to Juan Sánchez Cotán)

by Luca Federici

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One of the effects of the atomic bomb in Hiroshima and Nagasaki that most impressed me is the shadows printed on the walls by the flash of the explosion: in the moment of the splitting of the atom of uranium (or plutonium) a large amount of energy is released, it generates a kind sun-fireball, whose thermal radiation, (they speak of hundreds of thousand of degrees), vaporize and / or carbonize everything is in the immediate vicinity. For a whole series of chemical-physical phenomena, the bodies and objects, interposed to the propagation of thermal radiation, absorbing part of the heat, leave their own shade engraved on the rear surfaces. What is more impressive is that the shadows fixed on the walls, on the steps, on the floors are not only of objects, but also of human bodies, that at the time of the explosion were incinerated instantly by the huge heat. Since the etched shadows have a similarity with those made with the photographic technique, I thought about using this last one to print shadows as if they were made with a nuclear explosion; in other words as if I used the atomic bomb to create artistic prints. The most congenial technique to create this type of prints is certainly that of the "gumoil", the printing process devised by Karl Koenig in 1990, it is a variant of the process of contact printing of gum bichromate, in particular, instead of using a negative is used a positive, that must have the same dimension of the final image, the prints also have the characteristic of being at high-contrast and therefore without intermediate grays, another very interesting aspect, as dye they use the traditional oil colors, same that the greatest part of the painters have been using for centuries.


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