Cosmic Ashes

In early 2012, an exhibition entitled "Gold & Ashes" took place at the Marta in Herford (Germany), a contemporary art museum designed by F. Ghery. Learn more about Marta, or the exhibition. Note that it was also presented within the Mindscapes exhibition framework (Brussels, La Centrale)

Gold and ashes are materials with opposed cultural significance: gold is valuable and lively, whereas ashes have no worth and are linked to death. But are they really so different? By using these contrasting materials, this highly symbolic exhibition offers a journey between nature and culture, value and myth, between life and death.

In this context, we have presented an installation called "Cosmic Ashes" - where you notably learn that gold actually IS ashes, turning the old wisdom upside down... It contains 3 parts: a slide show, a video and postcards. If Herford and its exhibition seem to far away, get a glimpse of it by watching the video below, and sending sci-art postcards to your friends...


See the Cosmic Ashes video here - be sure to turn the sound on!
(© Jacques Charlier & Yaël Nazé ; Montage: Ute Willaert ; Images/videos: HST-ESA/NASA)


To send a "Cosmic Ashes" postcard (© Yaël Nazé), fill the form below the images...

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your name: , your email address:
and the email address of the recipient:
We are cosmic ashes. Nous sommes des cendres cosmiques. Wir sind kosmische Asche.
We are cosmic ashes.

At the beginning of the Universe, there was only hydrogen and helium, dead matter. The calcium in our bones, the oxygen that we breathe, the uranium in our nuclear plants, the gold that we wear, even our own flesh : all this has been built, slowly, by stars. During their life, stars built more complicated chemical elements in a celestial avatar of a lego game. At their death, their ashes are ejected, spreading out the building blocks of life. These ashes form clouds, which give birth to new stellar systems. Our matter has gone three times through this big recycling process: three generations of stars have died so that we could rise. The cycle is not finished. The solar and human ashes will give birth to new systems...

We are cosmic ashes, and the future too. Ashes are life.
Nous sommes des cendres cosmiques.

Au début de l'Univers, il n'y avait que de l'hydrogène et de l'hélium, matière morte. Le calcium de nos os, l'oxygène que nous respirons, l'uranium de nos centrales, l'or que nous portons, notre chair même : tout cela a été patiemment construit par les étoiles. Au cours de leur vie, ces astres assemblent des éléments chimiques plus lourds dans un énorme jeu de lego céleste. A leur mort, leurs cendres se dispersent, emportant les briques de la vie. Ces cendres forment des nuages, desquels naissent de nouveaux systèmes stellaires. Notre matière est passée trois fois par ce grand recyclage céleste : trois générations d'étoiles sont mortes pour que nous puissions apparaître ! Et le cycle n'est pas fini : les cendres du Soleil et celles de l'Homme engendreront de nouveaux astres...

Nous sommes des cendres cosmiques, et le futur aussi. Les cendres, c'est la vie.
Wir sind kosmische Asche.

Im Anbeginn des Universums gab es nichts als Wasserstoff und Helium, Leblose Materie. Das Kalzium unserer Knochen; der Sauerstoff, den wir atmen; das Uran unserer Kraftwerke; das Gold, das wir tragen; selbst unser Fleisch: All dies wurde mit Geduld von den Sternen erschaffen. Im Verlauf ihres Lebens sammeln diese Gestirne schwerste chemische Elemente an, in einem unermesslichen himmlischen Lego-Spiel. Sterben sie, zerstreut sich ihre Asche. Mit sich nehmen sie die Bausteine des Lebens. Diese Asche formt Wolken, aus denen neue Sternensysteme geboren werden. Unsere Materie hat dieses riesige Recycling dreimal durchlaufen: Drei Sternengenerationen mussten sterben, damit wir entstehen konnten. Und der Kreislauf ist nicht am Ende: Die Asche der Sonne und die der Menschen werden neue Gestirne hervorbringen...

Wir sind kosmische Asche, aber auch die Zukunft. Asche ist Leben.