Kay Kaul | Cloudbusting
Mar 08, 2019 - Apr 27, 2019






The exhibition is part of Düsseldorf Photo Weekend 2019.

http://www.duesseldorfphotoweekend.de/

In the early 1950s, the Maine-based scientist Wilhelm Reich began carrying out experiments aimed at producing artificial rainfall. During the two preceding decades, US American and British institutions had already attempted this by using chemicals, such as silver iodide, to induce moisture in the clouds so as to cause a rainfall. While the latter had sent planes up into the sky to seed accumulations of water in the atmosphere with these substances, Reich had positioned a device called a ‘cloudbuster’ on a hill close to his farm, which he named Orgonon, where he conducted his psychophysical tests. In the 1930s, Reich believed that he had discovered a type of cosmic life force that he wanted, among other things, to deploy using this apparatus, which consisted of metal tubes. Indeed, according to a newspaper report, in the summer of 1953, he succeeded in doing this. His ‘cloudbuster’ allegedly produced a rainfall that saved the blueberry harvest, of two farmers, from withering. In 1985, Kate Bush paid a musical tribute to this bold undertaking with her song Cloudbusting, which was based on the biographical notes of Reich’s son.
Water, in all its physical states, is regarded as being one of the vital elements that enables life on Earth. A blue planet, captured in a photograph by Harrison Schmitt - an astronaut on the 17th Apollo mission in 1972 - that has become iconic. Here, Earth itself appears to be a type of space ship. Indeed, this phrase was popularised in the 1960s by politicians, economists and scientists, including the inventor and philosopher Buckminster Fuller as well as U Thant, 3rd Secretary-General of the United Nations. On “Earth Day” in 1971, at the ceremony of the ringing of the world peace bell - which was donated by Japan -, at the UN headquarters in New York, U Thant spoke the following words: "May there only be peaceful and cheerful Earth Days to come for our beautiful Spaceship Earth as it continues to spin and circle in frigid space with its warm and fragile cargo of animate life."
In October 1957, a month before the death of Wilhelm Reich - he passed away while serving a prison sentence for a conviction related to his research - the first artificial earth satellite reached Earth’s orbit. With Sputnik 1 Soviet researchers achieved a milestone victory in the quest for outer space. Ever since then, satellites have constituted the external part of the sensory system of our planet and, here, they are used for surveillance and communications; they also enable a view from the outside.
While some of these cosmic companions orbit around the Earth, the satellites in geostationary orbit - first launched in 1963 - rotate with the Earth. They are in the Clarke orbit, named after the science fiction author Arthur C. Clarke who, in 1945, following in the footsteps of Herman Potocnik, postulated the possibility of a worldwide communications network in space. Visions turned into reality.
Some of the images that Kay Kaul has assembled in his ‘Cloudbusting’ series originate from such a geostationary monitoring system called ‘Himawari 8’, which was sent into orbit from the Japanese space centre, Tanegashima Uchu Senta, in 2014, and has been in operation since 2015. It is positioned above the equator north of Papua New Guinea and its reach stretches from both poles in the North and South through to Hawaii in the East and India in the West. The “sunflower” - the English translation of the Japanese name - is a weather satellite operated by the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) and with its multi-spectral camera it is able to capture visible light and infrared light. Using this camera, it is possible to capture various meteorological phenomena - such as water vapour, dust and rain - on different channels. However, it is not able to produce rainfall even if climate control is increasingly turning from being an age-old dream of humankind into a necessity.
For his images here, Kay Kaul has used photographs that show part of the world in daylight. To this end, the artist had to intricately filter the freely accessible extensive data. A total of six photographs, taken by the satellite camera at different times, were combined for each image. Two of the colour areas were overlapped by means of colour separation. The colours red, yellow and blue were extracted to create the additive colour area as well as cyan, magenta and yellow to create the subtractive colour area. Here, the ‘Blue Marble’, which Harrison Schmitt photographed while flying to the moon, no longer appears to be blue but is now colourful. The extracted colours in combination with the time-lapsed shots thus enable the movement of the air masses heavy with moisture to be made visible in just a single image. The relatively calm areas of cloud appear white at the points where the previously separated colour extracts overlap. Yet, in those areas where particularly dynamic processes are taking place, in the course of a storm, for example, the colours appear clearly differentiated. Landmasses form fixed points that provide orientation possibilities. Yet, the Earth is not a static body as is indicated by the Coriolis force of this rotating terrestrial body that affects the air currents and is particularly visible in large cyclones. The specific form and the course of these cyclones and air currents even make it possible to identify the photographs. The interplay of all the forms that are visible through the clouds and air currents is the equivalent of a global fingerprint in which prodigious protagonists like Yutu, Trami or Kong-rey, all of them typhoons from 2018, become recognisable.
The second part of the Cloudbusting series provides a change in perspective when viewing the clouds. Here, too, the clouds have been “broken up” in terms of colour. Likewise, it is only in the calmer parts where they appear in the familiar colours, the points at which the six layers of colour overlap. In the images with no landscape reference points they appear almost as picturesque and abstract colour fields. This seems particularly appealing in places where, otherwise, only an oppressive grey sky would hang - above the Rhineland usually. When mountains become part of the image composition they, too, can then be clearly appreciated as landscapes.
From an art historical perspective, the images are closely related to the Early Modern - 1750 to 1850 - cloud studies by Alexander Cozens and John Constable through to William Turner. Cozens and Constable created paintings with cloud formations with no connections to the landscape. It is no coincidence that their work correlated with the rise of modern natural science, which systematically segregates the subject for research. Although, as artists, they were not only committed to accurately capturing things but likewise to the physiognomy of these elements. This implied a changeability of light, colour and form - the prelude to Impressionism. In turn, in the work of its proponents, Impressionism established a new form of pictorial design where the structure of the brush strokes and flecks of colour anticipated more modern image generation techniques right up to colour pixels.
Kay Kaul, to a certain extent, has transferred these pictorial and graphic explorations of the visible into the photographic domain, or rather, into the present day with the possibilities it provides for using high-tech image systems. In this respect, Kaul, with his many years of specific engagement with temporality, has himself been involved. This began in film and ultimately expressed itself in his Chronochromie ( Colour of Time) process. The time spectrum of these works starts in the range of milliseconds in the case of his Wasserfarben (Watercolours) series, around 2007. This series recorded the microscopic time intervals for movements of water and went as far as the macroscopic time intervals of his global cloud studies that continued for days. The physical states of water include transitory moments not least due to their seemingly infinite mutability.
Just as much as in the case of John Constable or the Pointillist painter Paul Signac, Kay Kaul’s images reveal nothing more than the application of a technical process where the development itself was a creative achievement. An essential element for artistic design is the application of the principles of composition. The quality of a composition lies in the choice of the image section and the individual images that are subsequently superimposed right up to the particular colour extracts, which alone enable 46,656 variants. However, the interplay of the clouds with the rock formations of the Aiguille du Chardonnet and the Aiguille du Plat de la Selle - created in 2015 in the French Alps - was especially complex. Here, the clouds lie heavily in the valley where they form a nimble veil that comes to rest over the rock massif like another transparent rock formed out of nebulous water and light; moreover, this contrasts with the intense grey of the actual rock formations in the foreground.
It is generally disputed whether or not “orgon” - the name that Wilhelm Reich gave to the cosmic life force, the existence of which he postulated - does indeed exist. Yet, with the images created by Kay Kaul, which are based on the concretely visible world, it is nevertheless difficult not to think about the possibility of animate forms of inorganic matter. The spiritual and natural philosophical considerations of pantheism, which are much older than those of Wilhelm Reich, provide yet another conceptual point of reference when viewing Kay Kaul’s cloud images. Nevertheless, putting aside the idea of blending the spiritual with the cosmic - which has traced a significant path through literature and fine art from Romanticism right up to Expressionism -, Kay Kaul parades the fascinating phenomena of the visible universe before our very eyes, which for a moment become prisms. Yet, these prisms not only fracture the light and the clouds but they also resynthesise and reunite them.

Thomas Wolfgang Kuhn, Pinneberg/ Tiergarten 2019





./ Participating Artists


Kay Kaul


Exhibitions Overview

 
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Aug 30, 2019 - Nov 02, 2019


 
  Summer Break
Jul 26, 2019 - Aug 26, 2019


 
  Christian Bazant-Hegemark | Kindness of Strangers
Jun 07, 2019 - Jul 13, 2019


 
  Sandra Ackermann | Escape into your Reality
May 03, 2019 - Jun 01, 2019


 
  Kay Kaul | Cloudbusting
Mar 08, 2019 - Apr 27, 2019


 
  Jurriaan Molenaar | Fermate
Jan 18, 2019 - Mar 02, 2019


 
  Harding Meyer / Humanize
Oct 19, 2018 - Jan 12, 2019


 
  Mihoko Ogaki / Soft Landing
Aug 31, 2018 - Oct 13, 2018


 
  Iwajla Klinke / ONEIRONAUTS
Jun 08, 2018 - Aug 18, 2018


 
  Peter Uka / Fragment of the Present Passed
Apr 13, 2018 - May 26, 2018


 
  Daniel Heil / Monologues
Mar 09, 2018 - Apr 07, 2018


 
  Düsseldorf Photo Weekend 2018
Feb 16, 2018 - Feb 18, 2018


 
  Sandra Senn / Zwischen Zwei Meeren
Jan 26, 2018 - Mar 03, 2018


 
  Frank Bauer / Die Gelassenheit der Dinge
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  Kate Waters / Whistling In The Dark
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  Davide La Rocca / 13K ( Part 1 )
May 12, 2017 - Jun 27, 2017


 
  Sandra Ackermann / Lost in Nothingness
Mar 24, 2017 - May 06, 2017


 
  Claudia Rogge / CONCENTRATION
Jan 27, 2017 - Mar 18, 2017


 
  Christian Bazant - Hegemark / The Rise and Fall of Transformative Hopes and Expectations
Nov 11, 2016 - Jan 21, 2017


 
  Harding Meyer / The Others
Aug 26, 2016 - Nov 05, 2016


 
  Crossing Borders
Jun 03, 2016 - Jul 15, 2016


 
  Sandra Senn / Flüchtiges Getriebe
Apr 08, 2016 - May 21, 2016


 
  Iwajla Klinke / Red Sandals and a Mirror for Gabriel
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  Corrado Zeni / Éloge de la fuite
Nov 27, 2015 - Jan 09, 2016


 
  Claudia Rogge / PerSe
Oct 16, 2015 - Nov 21, 2015


 
  Kate Waters // Tell it like it is
Aug 28, 2015 - Oct 10, 2015


 
  Visions Of Sensory Space ( by Weightless Artists Association - SPARTNIC )
May 15, 2015 - Jul 04, 2015


 
  Sandra Ackermann / Wasteland
Mar 13, 2015 - May 02, 2015


 
  Lost Scapes
Jan 30, 2015 - Mar 07, 2015


 
  Christian Bazant-Hegemark / Calibrating Aesthetics
Nov 14, 2014 - Jan 17, 2015


 
  Frank Bauer / Back to Basics
Aug 29, 2014 - Nov 08, 2014


 
  Harding Meyer // recent paintings
May 23, 2014 - Aug 23, 2014


 
  Till Freiwald - memoria
Apr 11, 2014 - May 17, 2014


 
  Quadriennale Düsseldorf 2014 / Gallery Evening
Apr 05, 2014 - Apr 05, 2014


 
  Iwajla Klinke / Ritual Memories
Jan 17, 2014 - Apr 05, 2014


 
  Giacomo Costa // Traces
Nov 22, 2013 - Jan 11, 2013


 
  DC-Open Galleries: Matthias Danberg - Inventory by Appropriation
Sepr 06, 2013 - Nov 16, 2013


 
  Christian Bazant-Hegemark // VOW OF SILENCE
May 24, 2013 - Aug 20, 2013


 
  Corrado Zeni // Generation Why
Apr 12, 2013 - May 18, 2013


 
  behind the Non-Colours
Mar 22, 2013 - Apr 06, 2013


 
  Sandra Ackermann // Running to stand still
Feb 15, 2013 - Mar 16, 2013


 
  Düsseldorf Photo Weekend 2013
Feb 01, 2013 - Feb 09, 2013


 
  Mihoko Ogaki // Star Tales - White Floating
Nov 30, 2012 - Jan 31, 2013


 
  Claudia Rogge / Lost in Paradise
Oct 12, 2012 - Nov 24, 2012


 
  Harding Meyer // features
Sepr 07, 2012 - Oct 06, 2012


 
  Summer 2012 - Part 2
Aug 10, 2012 - Sepr 01, 2012


 
  Summer 2012
Jul 06, 2012 - Sepr 01, 2012


 
  Maria Friberg // The Painting Series
May 11, 2012 - Jun 23, 2012


 
  Mary A. Kelly // Father & Child
Mar 30, 2012 - May 06, 2012


 
  Maia Naveriani // Future Wolves and Chicks so far
Feb 10, 2012 - Mar 24, 2012


 
  Düsseldorf Photo Weekend 2012
Feb 04, 2012 - Feb 08, 2012


 
  Kate Waters // The Air that I breathe
Dec 09, 2011 - Jan 28, 2012


 
  Frank Bauer / ...den Wald vor lauter Bäumen....
Nov 04, 2011 - Dec 03, 2011


 
  Claudia Rogge // Final Friday
Sepr 09, 2011 - Oct 29, 2011


 
  Davide La Rocca - STILLS
May 27, 2011 - Jul 16, 2011


 
  Giacomo Costa // Post Natural
Apr 01, 2011 - May 21, 2011


 
  Harding Meyer - to be a real vision
Feb 18, 2011 - Mar 26, 2011


 
  Shannon Rankin - Disperse / Displace
Dec 03, 2010 - Feb 12, 2011


 
  Sandra Ackermann // I look inside you
Oct 15, 2010 - Nov 27, 2010


 
  Amparo Sard / AT THE IMPASSE
Sepr 03, 2010 - Oct 09, 2010


 
  Kate Waters // The Land of Kubla Khan
Jun 11, 2010 - Jul 17, 2010


 
  Jurriaan Molenaar // Lessness
Apr 30, 2010 - Jun 05, 2010


 
  Claudia Rogge // The Paradise of the Onlooker
Mar 05, 2010 - Apr 24, 2010


 
  Ivonne Thein // incredible me
Jan 22, 2010 - Feb 27, 2010


 
  Frank Bauer // Jet Set
Nov 27, 2009 - Jan 15, 2010


 
  Michael Koch // forever more
Oct 23, 2009 - Nov 21, 2009


 
  Masaharu Sato // SIGNS
Sepr 04, 2009 - Oct 17, 2009


 
  Harding Meyer // blind date
Jun 19, 2009 - Aug 22, 2009


 
  Maria Friberg // way ahead
Apr 24, 2009 - Jun 13, 2009


 
  Claudia Rogge // Isolation ( aus: Segment 8 - die Blasen der Gesellschaft)
Mar 06, 2009 - Apr 18, 2009


 
  Claudia Rogge - The Opening
Mar 06, 2009 - Apr 18, 2009


 
  JoJo Tillmann // What you see is what you get
Jan 30, 2009 - Feb 28, 2009


 
  Sandra Ackermann // Die Wirklichkeit ist nicht die Wahrheit
Nov 21, 2008 - Jan 24, 2009


 
  Kate Waters - Getting used to the 21st Century
Oct 10, 2008 - Nov 15, 2008


 
  Mihoko Ogaki - Milky Ways
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  Summer 2008 // Painting
Aug 12, 2008 - Aug 30, 2008


 
  Silke Rehberg: Stationen 1,4,6,7,11,12,13,14
Jun 13, 2008 - Jul 12, 2008


 
  Maia Naveriani: At home with good ideas
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  Maria Friberg: Fallout
Oct 12, 2007 - Nov 24, 2007


 
  Harding Meyer / in sight
Sepr 06, 2007 - Oct 11, 2007


 
  SUMMER '07
Jul 17, 2007 - Sepr 01, 2007


 
  Kay Kaul - Wasserfarben
Jun 15, 2007 - Jul 14, 2007


 
  Sandra Ackermann - Point Blank
Mar 02, 2007 - Apr 28, 2007


 
  Tamara K.E.: pioneers -none of us and somewhere else
Jan 19, 2007 - Feb 24, 2007


 
  Till Freiwald
Nov 17, 2006 - Jan 13, 2007


 
  Claudia Rogge: U N I F O R M
Sepr 01, 2006 - Nov 11, 2006


 
  Frank Sämmer: Die Stunde des Zaunkönigs
Jun 23, 2006 - Aug 22, 2006


 
  Kate Waters: Killing Time
May 05, 2006 - Jun 17, 2006


 
  Katia Bourdarel: The Flesh of Fairy Tales
Mar 31, 2006 - Apr 29, 2006


 
  Mihoko Ogaki
Feb 10, 2006 - Mar 18, 2006


 
  Silke Rehberg: RICOMINCIARE DAL CORPO
Jan 27, 2006 - Feb 26, 2006


 
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Dec 08, 2005 - Jan 15, 2006


 
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Dec 04, 2005 - Jan 11, 2006


 
  Frank Bauer
Nov 18, 2005 - Jan 15, 2006


 
  Harding Meyer
Oct 07, 2005 - Nov 12, 2005


 
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Sepr 02, 2005 - Oct 01, 2005


 
  Claudia Rogge: Rapport
Jun 17, 2005 - Jul 20, 2005


 
 
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Apr 16, 2005 - May 20, 2005


 
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Apr 08, 2005 - May 07, 2005


 
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Apr 03, 2005 - May 29, 2005


 
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Mar 04, 2005 - Apr 02, 2005


 
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Feb 26, 2005 - Apr 17, 2005


 
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Nov 26, 2004 - Jan 15, 2005


 
  Maia Naveriani: What' s the difference between ME and YOU?
Oct 15, 2004 - Nov 20, 2004


 
  Tamara K.E.: MAD DONNA AND DONNA CORLEONE
Sepr 03, 2004 - Oct 09, 2004


 
  Davide La Rocca: Real Vision Reflex
Jun 12, 2004 - Jul 17, 2004


 
  Kay Kaul COLLECTORSCAPES
Apr 23, 2004 - Jun 05, 2004


 
  Frank Sämmer MUTABOR
Mar 12, 2004 - Apr 17, 2004