On the works of Simone Albers – by Sabine Winters
The natural sciences open up new spaces of possibility and expose nature’s well-hidden intricacies that would still be a mystery were it not for our ingenious technologies. Scientific instruments provide us with the perspicacity necessary to observe structures that otherwise remain opaque and impenetrable to the human eye. This goes for gargantuan as well as miniscule phenomena. Unsurprisingly then, the natural sciences’ greatest unravelings are Simone Albers’s main source of inspiration.
The most decisive factor for her fascination with science are the fundamental laws, systems and patterns that are at the base of our directly accessible world. What can these structures inform us about? How should we relate to what science has to tell us? And how does science itself relate to that which we call reality? We usually approach scientific imagery through reconstructions. In fact, the majority of the cosmos’s recordings are amalgamations of different images made at different wavelengths or artist impressions. In trying to gain better insight into the complex interplay between macro and micro phenomena, we are greatly dependent upon science’s imaginative power.
Through her colorful collages, paintings and installations, Simone explores science’s visual language. She studies whether the imagination and visualization of the structures and processes that physics aims to expose attributes to a better understanding of them, or, contrarily, sometimes mystifies them in the process. This sounds more complex than it should be: basically anyone can engage with studies of the sort, each in their own way. Simone’s multidisciplinary approach shows us that there are innumerable ways in which to understand, and familiarize with science.
The driving force and necessity that underlie Simone’s work are her ongoing admiration for nature’s astonishing beatitude on the one side, and science’s perplexing achievements on the other. One could argue that Simone explores the romantic and spiritual foundations of science by questioning its methods.
Although her works surface as a joyful interplay of materials, forms and colours, the end-products are more than the sum of their parts and go beyond what the mere human eye can observe. The questions that Simone raises and tries to answer through her artistic procedures are profoundly philosophical of character: Will we ever be able to thoroughly scrutinize the true nature of being and the universe? Or are these aims impossible by definition?
Simone additionally performs visual as well as intellectual thought-experiments throughout her works: What would it be like to time-travel? How would we experience being able to see microscopic details with our bare eyes? What would happen if I was authorized to define the laws of physics? That there is a great chance we might never be able to answer these questions shakes up all sorts of complex sentiments and emotions, a fear that concurrently conceals some kind of euphoria.
Ranging from exploding galaxies to microscopic cell structures, and drawing on queer shapes and colours, Simone allows herself to be inspired exuberantly by various natural phenomena and does not hold back in her artistic expression and representation of them. Like a true chemist, Simone mixes and mangles her paints, mediums, detergents and solvents, by which she establishes a new reality in which different materials reciprocally repel and attract: an analogy of nature’s structures and forces. Where physics compartmentalises nature’s grandeur, Simone works artfully reconfigure the bits and pieces left by science into a new coherent whole.
She establishes the boundaries of her artistic exploration of natural phenomena by focusing on one particular subject at a time. The result of her research aggregates in collections of psychedelic paintings and collages that she subdivides in themes like “The arrangement of matter through evolution”, “The universal nature of organic structures”, and “The depiction of natural phenomena in Science”. By abstracting these scientific subjects from their contexts objects break loose from their physically determined formative scale and relational context, resurfacing as and fluctuating between microscopically small and divinely large, matter and energy, the physical and metaphysical. Simone’s works are the physicalised playful experiments of these abstractions. They are manifestations of a visual language ridden with psychedelic trippy scenes that do not conform to formalist rules, wherein the most vehement swirls and swipes get into conversation with the tiniest scribbles.
Edit: Kees Muller.