EXCERPTS FROM THE BOOK OF ENTROPY“A story unknown lost under the dust of time”
A virtual exhibition featuring artist Eugen-Florin Zamfirescu.
In this Virtual Exhibition at the St. Marys Station Gallery, Eugen-Florin Zamfirescu chose the medium of photography to explore ideas about matter and time. He first studied photography and cinematography in Romania, and his oeuvre includes professional film direction and editing, photographic portraits and essays. His curiosity began even earlier as a child, however, when he built his first camera out of a shoe box.
For Zamfirescu, photography is a means of expression that beautifully balances artistic, scientific, and philosophical ideas and techniques that we, as a civilization, need to understand right now at this moment in history when we are facing unprecedented existential questions. It uses that most basic element: light. We often talk about a photograph “capturing” or “freezing” a moment in time, of making time stand still, an illusion that the law of entropy frustrates. It is part of what drives this Renaissance man–as artist, scientist, and philosopher–to better understand the nature of time and the human attempt to transcend it: the age-old search for immortality.
If art has long claimed to bestow immortality unavailable to our biological selves, scientific discoveries of the last one hundred years and scientists’ forays into the mysteries of the universe have allowed humans to at least dream more vividly of an immortality not posited as on the other side of death but rather as on a continuum with life what he calls, in a beautiful phrase, “the afflictions of time.” In this age of hyper-specialization with artists and scientists and philosophers mostly talking only to their own kind and rarely to the masses of uninitiated, Zamfirescu seeks as an artist to “open the door to the heart” of the onlooker.
Consider the title of this exhibition of Zamfirescu’s still-life photographs–Excerpts from the Book of Entropy. “Excerpts” suggests the partially known and the provisionally posited in the absence of more complete information. And what of entropy? A phenomenon which concerns the asymmetrical dispersal of energy in one direction only such that the universe and all things in it are moving towards disorder. In layman’s terms, it is the mathematical expression of why we can break an egg and make an omelette, but we cannot take the omelette and remake the egg. The nursery rhyme tells us as much: Humpty Dumpty had a great fall, but “All the king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn’t put Humpty together again.”
Unlike Albert Einstein whose discoveries made him a household name from the mid-twentieth century onward, the Austrian physicist Ludwig Boltzmann’s equally profound theory of entropy, that heat in the form of energy, vibration, always seeks to move out into the coldness of the universe (1844-1907) has remained unknown by all except physicists and other specialists. Zamfirescu’s art seeks to bring Boltzmann’s name and ideas into the light.
Excerpts from the Book of Entropy opens on the St. Marys Station Gallery web site June18. A gallery opening at the station will take place as soon as Covid-19 restrictions are lifted in July. Visit our website St. Marys Station Gallery and click on ON TRACK
Cameron Porteous Curator.