Submerging fact into speculation through the elemental process of cyanotype.
Cyanotypes; 50cm x 70cm
by Sarah Gillett
cyanotype; 50cm x 70cm
The way we live in the world is often a far cry from the empirical knowledge held in reference books. As time passes, the truth is being continually updated, revised, recoded and relearnt.
Boundaries shift and perspectives change – in science, in geography, in society, in language. Encyclopaedias, dictionaries, atlases, medical journals, history books and pages on the internet become obsolete.
This series transforms fact into speculation through the elemental process of cyanotype. As though ripped from an oversized guide to the world, these mysterious works invite us to question the nature of learning and to examine the real and not real.
I could not have made this series of cyanotypes without the expertise and knowledge of the master printmaking technicians at the Royal College of Art. Thank you to Andrew Richardson, Robin Smart and Alan Smith.
A blueprint is...
2. A process invented by Sir John Herschel in 1842, nephew of Caroline Herschel and an English polymath, mathematician, astronomer, chemist and experimental photographer. In his life, he named the seven moons of Saturn and four moons of Uranus. His investigations included the Comet Halley, colour blindness, the flora of southern Africa and the chemical power of ultraviolet rays
3. A now obsolete process that produces a negative of an original. Paper is impregnated with a solution of ammonium ferric citrate and dried. When the paper is illuminated, a photoreaction turns the trivalent ferric iron into divalent ferrous iron. The image is then developed using a solution of potassium ferricyanide forming insoluble ferroferricyanide (Prussian blue or Turnbull’s blue) with the divalent iron. Excess ammonium ferric citrate and potassium ferricyanide are then washed away
4. A detailed plan of action
5. A model or prototype
From the studio...
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“And this is the sign for asleep,” says Alison, closing her index fingers and thumbs together in front of her eyes. “Go to sleep now my darling.”
She smooths out the duvet cover with her hands, uncreasing the printed astronaut suit, flattening the stars in their cotton void, repositioning the blue Earth from sliding off the side of the bed. She kisses Bill’s hair, feeling his fragile skull millimetres away from her lips. “Night night.”
“Night night Mummy,” he says.