Burning Down the House
April 26, 2012
‘Explosion’ series; All works: Joschi Herczeg and Daniele Kaehr
In his wonderful book on climatology and architecture, Fire and Memory, Luis Fernández-Galiano writes that ”the primitive hut and the primitive fire are revealed to be inseparable”. In this way, architecture has its origins and even its most profound moments in fire. After the innovations introduced by modern architects and engineers that freed buildings from the fluctuance of climatological forces, the home has been irrevocably distantiated from its material origin–the hearth.
“Explosion” by artists Joschi Herczeg and Daniele Kaehr explores the home’s intimate relationship with fire. Using “highly complex pyrotechnics”, they developed a series of photographs that channel the anxiety of domestic life when faced with its past and future undoing. To create the images, Herczeg and Kaehr devised a specially-made detonator that, when connected to a camera, synchronized the photo capture with the exact moment of explosion. Micro-mushroom clouds and clusters of flame engulf the most inane of objects in a manner that is both whimsical and menacing. The artists describes them as combustible “chance sculptures”, in that the formal qualities of the fireballs are both unique and ephemeral. Similar to Berndnaut Smilde’s manmade clouds, the ‘explosions’ are compelling because their documentation gives form to transient matter. Click through for more images.