• Hero6

    Fabian Oefner: Millefiori

Art

Fabian Oefner blows our mind with these spectacular watercolour and ferrofluid photographs

Posted by Rebecca Fulleylove,

It’s a wonderful feeling when you find out something new about this crazy place we call earth. The existence of ferrofluid is today’s new thing for me – a magnetic solution with a similar viscosity to motor oil. This doesn’t sound that interesting, but when watercolours are added to this unusual substance and placed into a magnetic field the reaction is beautiful.

Captured by Swiss photographer Fabian Oefner in his project Millefiori, the iron particles start to rearrange, forming black channels and separating the watercolours from the ferrofluid, creating these technicolour structures that look like psychedelic planets or trippy cells under a microscope. This is just one project out of many of Fabian’s that colourfully and dramatically encapsulate split-second reactions to give them this feeling of importance and preciousness. Here to tell us more about why he’s drawn to these kinds of projects is Fabian himself…

  • 3

    Fabian Oefner: Millefiori

How did you discover images could be made like this in your Millefiori series?

A couple of months ago, I saw a video of the Japanese artist Sachiko Kodama, which caught my attention. In this video the artist used ferrofluids to create amazing looking sculptures. So I decided to start experimenting with this peculiar liquid and eventually found out, that mixing it with watercolours creates these strange brain-like structures.

How does a project start for you?

I usually get my inspiration from magazines or blogs on science and technology but also from other artists from different fields like photography, painting or sculpting. Every now and then I come across a technology or a material, that I find interesting to experiment with and from there on, a project sometimes develops. So for example with the Millefiori series I first tried out creating different shapes of the ferrofluid itself and then started to add all different kinds of other liquids to it and see what happens.

  • 4

    Fabian Oefner: Millefiori

  • 5

    Fabian Oefner: Millefiori

You often capture reactions or consequences of an event in your work, what is it that draws you to this kind of documentation?

To me, photography is an analytic tool. Often it is the only possible way to make the results of my experiments visible, since most of them are either very tiny or very short-lived. For example, in Millefiori, the structures you see are only about the size of a thumbnail or in the Vanishing Beauty project, the structure of the exploding ballon lasted only a fraction of a second. With photography it is possible to magnify such tiny structures or to freeze a moment lasting only in the blink of an eye.

Do you think the progression in photo technology is a positive thing? Does it help or hinder your work?

I think it can be both. Since most of my projects have to do with a lot of experimenting, trying out different options, it is very comfortable knowing I am able to look at the images right after taking them. In this way I can adapt the assembly to achieve the images that I have in mind more quickly. But nevertheless, be it an old 4″ × 5″ view camera or the latest 80 megapixels camera that you take your pictures with, you still have to make the right decisions to get the images you want.

  • 2

    Fabian Oefner: Millefiori

  • 1

    Fabian Oefner: Millefiori

  • 7

    Fabian Oefner: Millefiori

Becky-picture

Posted by Rebecca Fulleylove

Rebecca joined us as an editorial intern after studying at Norwich University College of the Arts. She originally wrote for the site between March and June 2012 and returned in the summer of 2014 for a four-week freelance stint.

Most Recent: Art View Archive

  1. Ellakru-painting-7home-int

    Latvia-born Ella Kruglyanskaya now lives and works in New York, depicting cartoon-like friends and “frienemies” out-and-about in large-scale oil paintings and murals. Ella’s work is packed with bawdy humour, exaggerated forms, exuberant mark-making and interactions. She describes her intention as “pictorial events… [that] aspire to an unspoken punch line” – the content, references and line-work all filtered through comedy.

  2. Anniedescarteaux-collage-7home-int

    Annie Descôteaux’s work is confident, engaging and straight-forwardly slapstick. The Montreal-based artist works with installation, drawing and collage and has seen her work exhibited and discussed at conferences on colour theory. In equally impressive outings, it’s also appeared in Bloomberg and Pica magazines, among other publications. Annie’s collage work is well-balanced with clean lines, sharp colours and discreet humour; each piece littered with raw steak, fried eggs and shuttlecocks.

  3. Oliviervrancken-untitled-1-inthome

    Olivier Vrancken is a graphic designer and artist based in Holland. Painting and drawing his way through commissions and personal work, he is inspired by everything from primitive art to the great lyricists that are Black Sabbath. Olivier has exhibited all over Europe, his Cubist aesthetic and visual references laden with nods to cut-outs, still life, architecture and the human form. There’s a great colour palette to his work and some nice titles like Bad Hair Day and Wanderlust. Olivier’s work reminds me of the prints that appeared all over the T-shirts of the 1980s, in a good way.

  4. Menutnutnut-drawing-4-int

    Me nut nut nut was one of Jason Murphy’s daughter’s first utterances, and is now the name for his drawings of awkward stories of fear and incompetence. Inspired by the physical comedy of The Young Ones and The Ren & Stimpy Show, Jason’s drawings rely on comic intuition and references to real-life moments, like dropping a potato on his cat.

  5. Seamus_murhpy_pj-harvey_-recording-in-progress_-2015.-an-artangel-commission.-_1_int

    While we wait to take our turn to become a sort of strangely sanctioned voyeur as PJ Harvey records her ninth album, thinking about what’s ahead feels peculiar. Essentially, we’re going to see PJ (Polly Jean) Harvey, her band, producers Flood and John Parish, a photographer and two engineers making an album in a Something & Son-designed box, formed of glass that allows visitors to see in, while the musicians can’t see out.

  6. Atelierbingo-list-int

    Up to the point when I opened Atelier Bingo’s new zine Wogoo Zoogi I’d never wondered what two aliens in heated conversation might look like. Having had a read I can now confirm that the answer is “they are speaking, singing very strangely, and they have a hair on their tongues." The newest bout of work from French illustration and surface design duo Adèle Favreau and Maxime Prou is a wonderful celebration of playful, dynamic, abstract art; blending shapes, colours and patterns in a glorious puddle of chaos thinly disguised as alien chat. In fact, it’s everything we’ve been led to expect from the pair, who we’ve dolloped praise on in the past.

  7. Faigahmed-carpets-list-2-int

    Faig Ahmed is an Azerbaijani artist doing remarkable things with carpets. He takes traditional Azerbaijani rugs – enormous, beautiful intricate creations – un-weaves them, and reconstructs them to create new patterns and shapes, subverting traditional usage of rugs as domestic objects to be walked all over, and rejuvenating them with optical illusions and techniques reminiscent of contemporary internet art. 

  8. Slavs_tatars-loveletters-home-int

    The work of Slavs & Tatars is awash with unlikely cultural references, balloons, archives and carpets. Identifying “the area east of the former Berlin Wall and west of the Great Wall of China” as the focus of their work, their projects are generous, engaging and genre-crossing. Starting as a reading group before shifting into making their own work, Slavs & Tatars have recently been working on a continuation of their Long Legged Linguistics project, a multi-faceted study of language as a source of emancipation. The somewhat secretive collective were kind enough to tell us more about this and their “bazaar” approach to making work.

  9. Davidbatchelor-october-13-int

    If you go down to the Whitechapel Gallery anytime between now and early April you’ll be sure to come across a huge breadth of work chronicling the adventures of the black square, from 1915 all the way up to the present day. It’s fairly monochromatic, as you might expect. Upstairs, however, things get drastically more colourful – especially once you come to David Batchelor’s specially “disrupted” issue of October, one of the most respected art journals out there, first published in 1976 and edited by esteemed writers Michel Foucault, Richard Foreman and Noël Burch.

  10. Alexdacorte-easternsport-1-int

    Perennial student artist Alex Da Corte has qualifications, residencies and awards coming up to his eyeballs having studied Film, Animation and Fine Arts at New York’s School of Visual Arts, Printmaking and Fine Arts at The University of the Arts, Philadelphia and then a cheeky MFA in Sculpture at Yale. Busy guy!

  11. Duane_hanson_-_karma3

    Karma Books have just published a catalogue of Duane Hanson’s post-humous exhibition Flea Market Lady. Shown at New York’s Gagosian Gallery, Duane’s flea market ladies are taken from real-life characters and cast in bronze. An incredible feat of observation and skill, his work captures the character of his models and creates a very real atmosphere of flea-ing. Karma have kindly let us publish an extract from the imaginary conversation Maurizio Cattelan has with the artist in the foreword to the book:

  12. Hdl5_copy

    Hubert de Lartigue paints photo-realistic portraits that “serve the beauty” of his models, and his muse. He considers “emotion and soul” the most important part of a painting and spoke to us about his working process, inspiration and the impact of his muse, Octavie.

  13. Main_10.00.34

    If I won the lottery I’d open a gallery, and when I opened my gallery I’d totally rip off everything that David Kordansky Gallery does. From the big stuff like the very well-curated, cool list of artists they represent, to the impeccable printed matter they produce, to the matter of their easily navigable and well designed website – these guys are celebrating people’s work in the best way possible.