Installation: Anvilled Stars, Science Museum, London, until October 2011
© Matthew Luck Galpin
Where most artists might see meteorites as objects to be avoided on their creative paths, Matthew Luck Galpin heats, hammers, grinds and polishes them into something altogether new.
Taking shards which fell in Northern Argentina 6,000 years ago, the intrepid blacksmith completes their journey through heat, cold, lightness and dark by turning them into a dazzling mirrored galaxies, defining his new creations as Anvilled Stars.
“The Anvil is absolute, fundamental and totally untransmutable,” asserted sculptor Brian Catling, writing in the essay for the display when it appeared in Oxford at the Museum of the History of Science earlier this year.
“His intervention is to shape it again – to shift it beyond its pummelled splinter of iron that spun through the cold dark universe to fall ablaze 6,000 years ago.”
There are darker, more spiritual concepts at play here. Local tribes who witnessed the fall-out named the site Campo Del Cielo (the Field of Heaven), and Galphin is an admirer of the transcendental and seemingly impossible.
His previous works have used white noise recorded in Antarctica, frozen ink and salt water collected at the dead sea and breath collected from light trapped in peoples’ mouths.
He reflects the imperfection of these reformed lumps of metal, and their alien status forces us to reflect, in turn, on the enormity of the universe.
Set in the museum’s Cosmos and Culture and Measuring Time galleries, the emergence of this mysterious installation is timed to coincide with the museum’s summer space season.
Watch Matthew Luck Galpin create meteorite art (from the Museum of the History of Science):