'Cosmogology' Blends Art, Astrophysics, and Myth into Science Fictional Wonder

French artist Vincent Broquiare crafts science-fiction without words.

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Dec 20 2014, 2:00pm

French artist Vincent Broquiare is known for his humorous and minimal small-scale art that manifests as pen and paper illustrations, books, animated videos, and installations. Through these various media, he explores the absurdities and struggles that exist at the intersection of humanity, nature and technology, with equal doses of whimsy and darkness.

In his latest work, Cosmogology, Broquiare amplifies to a universal scale his desire to show humanity attempting to subdue the Earth with technology. On Earth, humans try to play god against one another and with the planet. With Cosmogology, Broquiare encourages the exhibition's viewers to, as XPO Gallery notes, "observe and to experiment in the creation of the universe."

In Broquiare's mind, Cosmogology is a hybridization of the scientific fields of cosmogony's creation myths and cosmology, the scientific research into the origins of the universe. With the new work, Broquaire tries to fuse the two disciplines into a new history and perspective. As a result, the drawings in the exhibition show the evolution from the Big Bang to the creation of planets, and then humanity's attempt to understand the self's "dark matter" and the universe through scientific research and technology.

In one drawing, a human circumnavigates a planet. In another, humans walk on a wire between two planets. And in yet another piece, a rocket flies out of a tiny planet that has emerged like a Russian nesting doll out of a series of other planets, suggesting the idea that as humanity's understanding of the world and the universe grows, the home planet grows smaller in the imagination, though no less significant.

Broquaire also enlisted artist Paul Souviron to create a sound environment for the exhibition based on on audio gathered from NASA, synthesizers, and natural disasters. As the sounds play, visitors are encouraged to "continue the space conquest" by lying down on cushions arranged on the gallery floor as they stare at a projected constellation of stars connected by wires upon which humans wander. Presumably this is to think about the self and its relation to the planet and larger universe as they stare at the illustrated humans verifying the "correct functioning of the system: the level of twinkling, the fluidity of motion and cohabitation."

And this encouragement to lie down and simultaneously ponder the self and the universe is interesting given that cosmology is principally interested in the hard science of what makes the universe exist at all. Myth and consciousness aren't its ends. But with Cosmogology, Broquaire doesn't just create art but a type of science fiction that has no words; a fusion of illustrated art, myth, visitors' bodies, science, and the imagination.