Medieval Science: Nexus & Lore, Punctum Caecum series, 2015

Medieval Science: Nexus & Lore, Punctum Caecum series, 2015

above: Lore; detail

Nexus and Lore, Punctum Caecum series, 2015

In my silkscreen prints, Nexus, I feature the medieval and early modern Persian, Arab and European scientists who were inspired or influenced by each other’s scholarly works or theories. I present these scientists’ textual works side by side to showcase the circulation of knowledge across different cultures and periods. For example, I place Alhazen’s work, the renowned 11th century Arab scientist, side by side the work of Kepler, the renowned 17th century German scientist. Although 600 years apart, Alhazen’s writings influenced Kepler’s discoveries in the field of optics.

I convert the pages of texts and diagrams of the manuscripts by these scientists into black silhouettes. Acting as a new visual language, these silhouettes present the medieval imagery through simplicity and absence of didactic textual information while offering more compositional opportunities in my work. For creating these black silhouettes, I draw inspiration from the Russian Suprematist artists El Lissitzky (1890-1941) and Kazimir Malevich (1878-1935). These artists were in search of a style of abstract painting based on geometric shapes, which they believed promoted the supremacy of pure artistic feeling over the depiction of objects. Like Suprematists’ works, my black shapes aim to engage the “pure feelings” of my audiences through simplicity and absence of didactic information. I want to explore the ways in which viewers respond to form both visually and conceptually. I utilize mainly black and white to connote our current neglect for such a vibrant flow of information that took place in the Dark Ages.

 

Averroes and Avecinna-xs

Nexus (Averroes and Avicenna), 2015, silkscreen on paper, 30”x 22”

Above left: a page from Avicenna’s The Canon of Medicine (Persian scientist, 11th c.)
Above right: a page from Averroes’ Kulliyat (Colliget) on Avicenna’s The Canon of Medicine (Andalusian philosopher and medical scientist, 12th c.)
Bottom left and right: my black silhouettes of the manuscript pages

Newton and Khayyam-xs

Nexus (Newton and Khayyam), 2015, silkscreen on paper, 30”x 22”

Above left: a page from Khayyam’s manuscript on algebra (Persian scientist, 12th c.)
Above right: a page from Newton’s Principia manuscript on mathematics
Bottom left and right: my black silhouettes of the manuscript pages

Kepler and Alhazen-xs

Nexus (Kepler and Alhazen), 2015, silkscreen on paper, 30”x 22”

Above left: a page from Kepler’s manuscript on optics (German astronomer, 17th c.)
Above right: a page from Alhazen’s manuscript on optics (Arab scientist, 11th c.)
Bottom left and right: my black silhouettes of the manuscript pages

Copernicus and Tusi-xs

Nexus (Copernicus and Tusi), 2015, silkscreen on paper, 22”x 30”

Above left: a page from Tusi’s manuscript on mathematics (Persian mathematician, 13th c.)
Above right: a page from Copernicus’ manuscript on mathematics (Polish mathematician and astronomer, 16th c.)
Bottom left and right: my black silhouettes of the manuscript pages

Razi-xs

Nexus (Dioscorides and Razi), 2015, silkscreen on paper, 22”x 30”

Right: An illustration and description of a Cinnamon tree in the 10th-century manuscript of Dioscorides’ De Materia Medica reproduced by Razi in Arabic (Persian scientist, 10th c.)
Left: My black silhouette of the manuscript page

In Lore, I display the black shapes extracted from Nexus, my silkscreen prints, in a horizontal composition using plexiglass and pins on the wall. The horizontal composition suggests a long-term flow of scientific knowledge and exchange of ideas across cultures. The color black, again, indicates our current disregard for this long-term exchange. The installation initiates what appears as an organized composition that gradually moves towards a systematic disorganization as a commentary on the loss of information, and reinterpretation of scientific concepts.

Lore 1A

Lore, A Visual Narrative of Science History, 2015, plexiglass and pins, 6 x 13  feet

LOREall-together-detail

Lore, detail

lore-and-nexus

pC-exhibition

Lore and Nexus, installation view, 6 x 13 feet, solo exhibition at California State University, Stanislaus,  2016

Research

The Nexus silkscreen prints showcase appropriated versions of images from the following manuscript pages

Avi-and-Ave
Left: Aviccena, 11th c., Persian, a page from his manuscript on medicine (from The Canon of Medicine manuscript, 15th c. edition)
Right: Averroes, 12th c., Spanish, a page from his Kulliyat (Colliget) manuscript

The Canon of Medicine remained a medical authority for centuries. It set the standards for medicine in Medieval Europe and the Islamic world and was used as a standard medical textbook through the 18th century in Europe”

Khayyam-Newton
Left: Khayyam, 12th c., Persian,  a page from his manuscript on algebra
Right: Newton, 17th c., English, pages from his Principia manuscript on mathematics 

Tusi-Copernicus

 

 

 

 

 

Left: Copernicus, 16th c., Polish,  pages from his manuscript on mathematical astronomy
Right: Tusi, 13th c., Persian, a page from his manuscript on mathematics

“Since the Tusi-couple was used by Copernicus in his reformulation of mathematical astronomy, there is a growing
consensus that he became aware of this idea in some way”

Al-and-Kepler
Left: Alhazen, 11th c., Arab, a page from his manuscript on optics
Left: Kepler, 17th c., German, a page from his manuscript on optics

“Alhazen’s most famous work is his seven-volume treatise on optics Kitab al-Manazir (Book of Optics), written from 1011 to 1021. Alhazen studied the process of
sight, the structure of the eye, image formation in the eye, and the visual system. Alhacen’s Optics book influenced the Perspectivists in Europe, Roger Bacon, Witelo, and Peckham. The Optics was incorporated into Risner’s 1572 printing of Opticae Thesaurus, through which Kepler finally resolved the contradictions inherent in a Ptolemaic explanation of the imaging chain, from external object to the retina of the eye”

Nexus and Lore as part of Punctum Caecum series has been exhibited in a solo exhibition in March 3-25, 2016 at California State University, Stanislaus, Turlock, CA and in stARTup Art Fair SF in April 29-May 1, 2016