• 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

Portrait12

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. Main7

    There was a time when we at It’s Nice That were inundated with internet art – we were having so much submitted to us on a daily basis that it was pouring out of our ears in waxy gifs. It’s pleasing to be faced with it again, a year or two after the craze has kind of died out, when it’s created by someone who actually has a passion and an eye for this stuff and isn’t just jumping on a weird bandwagon.

  2. List

    It feels like Max and Adele at Atelier bingo lead a pretty charmed life. Camped out in the middle of the countryside with their converted studio/barn, it would be easy to resent the life they lead – in fact sometimes it’s very easy indeed. But the work they’re producing – stunning screen prints and collages of abstract forms – keeps me returning to their website time after time, and I just can’t find it in my heart to resent their rural idyll. Though if they called me up tomorrow to invite me to come and live with them, I’d definitely have a hard time saying no.

  3. List

    Here at It’s Nice That we spend an awful lot of time talking about, thinking about and writing about creatives but ultimately we don’t get too many chances to really see what goes on in their day-to-day working lives…until now. Our new collaboration with super-cool eyewear brand Ace & Tate is taking us inside the studios, and inside the minds, of a host of some of our favourite creatives.

  4. List

    Some artists, immensely talented and original though they may be, simply don’t make work that fits in the grandest art galleries of the world. Fortunately for them there are super-cool concept stores created specifically to house such work, and queen of all of these is Colette. Hiro Sugiyama’s surreal, hilarious and altogether unsettling artwork is a natural fit for Paris store Colette’s carefully curated collection of the avant-grade and the offbeat.

  5. List

    Few forces shape the modern world more than the internet and yet it’s an invisible presence that we just understand is there. But PhD student Luis Hernan has changed that by designing a system which scans for wireless networks and creates images where different signal strengths are represented by different coloured LED lights. The results, in essence, allow us to see the WiFi around us.

  6. Main9

    Anyone in New York had better gallop over to Ed. Varie gallery to catch a new show by the ever-wonderful artist Ana Kraš. We’ve posted about Ana a few times, mainly about her beautiful lamps and designs to make your home/life better, and her fun collaborative photography projects. Her show at Ed. Varie entitled Mothers with Spoons and Relationships is an exploration into her more recent love of drawing, using predominantly back-to-basics art supplies such as wax, crayon and oil pastel.

  7. List

    When we last encountered Essex-based painter Simon Monk he was busy preserving toy superheroes in plastic bags and rendering them with hyper-real precision. Secret Identity explored the strange imbalance of the powers ascribed to superheroes and the powerless inertia of their model representations. Since then he’s focussed his attention on one plastic superhero in particular, treating Batman with torturous sadism and restricting him with any binding he finds to hand. He’s been netted, taped, cling-filmed and roped down, trapped forever in a compromised position thanks to Simon’s dangerously accurate brushwork.

  8. Main

    I came across Graham Little when going through content from the site, he was one of the first people I ever put on the site about three years ago. To revisit his work reminded me just how much I loved him the first time around, particularly as he’s been very busy in the last few years and has created some absolutely stunning new work. There’s something about the poses, and the calm nature of his nymph-like female subjects that makes me slightly uneasy.

  9. Main9

    I’m the third person to take a turn waxing lyrical about the art of Bryan Olson (he was discussed here and here in the past), but I don’t mind, I’m just happy to have the opportunity. The North Carolina-based artist is arguably the master of his medium; a creator of collages so delicately crafted it’s often impossible to tell they’ve been made from hand-cut paper. Though it’s by no means his only concern Bryan focusses a great deal on the cosmos in his work, leaving strange portals into the unknown at the centre of his images or placing earthly objects within inter-planetary scenes. It’s a heady combination that lures viewers in, making them feel like children gazing at a dense night sky or an adult on one hell of a trip.

  10. List

    The phrase “artistic intervention” has a chequered past, but we’re struggling to think of a more impressive example than Frank and Patrik Riklin’s BIGNIK. The ongoing project aims to build a huge picnic cloth by 2040, made up of 252,144 panels – one for every person in the Appenzell region of Switzerland.

  11. Main

    Sure, here at It’s Nice That we love fine art. You may even walk past us on the weekend ambling around in galleries, or poring over art books in libraries. We champion some of the most exquisite architecture, sculpture and filmmaking along with some of the most groundbreaking works of art made in modern times. What you define as “art” is a personal thing, but I can tell you now that when it came to voting on content for the site (we decide on content via a voting process around a table FYI) this Presidents with Boob Faces was a unanimous “YES” from each knowledgeable, art-loving member of the It’s Nice That team. When you can see hard, skilled craftsmanship and evidence of a brave artist taking one small idea and running really, really far with it, how can you resist loving it? These are amazing, and artist Emily Deutchman should be very, very proud of herself.

  12. Main

    When something is well-designed, be it a magazine, building, fashion collection or car – it should be well-celebrated. To honour the spectacular and cutting-edge design of the brand new Lexus NX, a new digital art exhibition entitled NX-Perspectives has been launched. Gathering together some of the world’s leading creative thinkers, makers and doers, Lexus have assigned them to create a special piece of performance art inspired by the Lexus NX to exhibit in the digital show.

  13. List

    London-based artist Aleksandra Mir has been busy over the past month investigating the process of drawing in a collaborative experiment that invites participants to contribute to a giant collage of the London skyline, rendered entirely with Sharpies. The process of creating the work was part of the exhibition itself, with Aleksandra and her team engaged in drawing everything by hand during the first days of the show. But for those that missed it there’s also a beautiful time-lapse film of the process, providing context and insight to this giant piece of collaborative draughtsmanship.