Artist Berndnaut Smilde Brings the Weather Indoors with his Temporary Nimbus Clouds
Berndnaut Smilde, Nimbus Cukurkuma Hamam 2012. Photo by Onur Dag.
Berndnaut Smilde, Nimbus Platform57 2012. Photo by Cassander Eeftinck Schattenkerk.
Berndnaut Smilde, Nimbus Minerva 2012. Photo by Cassander Eeftinck Schattenkerk.
Berndnaut Smilde, Nimbus 2010.
Berndnaut Smilde, Nimbus D'Aspremont 2012. Photo by Cassander Eeftinck Schattenkerk.
Berndnaut Smilde, Nimbus II 2012. Photo by Cassander Eeftinck Schattenkerk.
Moses is famously known for parting the Red Sea, and Aeolus was said to have bestowed Odysseus with a bag containing the wind, and now Netherlands-based artist Berndnaut Smilde has mastered the art of conjuring clouds as part of his Nimbus series. Smilde's methods however are less mythic and more scientific, instead relying on a perfectly timed release of aerogel (also known as "liquid smoke") a liquid made of 99.8 percent air making it one of the lightest solid materials on Earth. Of course science alone doesn't account for the striking visual impact contained in each image, as the artist carefully selects the perfect location for the creation of each cloud and then painstakingly lights it from behind for the desired effect. Via email Smilde tells me that it can take quite a while to get all of the elements in place for each cloud and that the installation is so fleeting, the use of photography is critical in capturing the split second where everything becomes perfect. You can watch the video above to see how it all comes together.
Smilde has three ucoming exhibitions this year including Ronchini Gallery in London from January 16 through February 16, the SFAC Galleries in San Francisco from February through April, and at Land of Tomorrow in Louisville, Kentucky also from February through April.
I would like to thank the artist for providing two new photos for this post, and also a thank you to everyone who has suggested I cover this the last few months. You can learn more over on Smithsonian Magazine.