Björn Dahlem

26 June 2008

Wood, lacquer, steel, neon tubes, soffits, bulbs and electric cable. 410 x 600 x 250 cm

Björn Dahlem (Munich, 1974) creates works in the form of gestural, ponderous sculptures that dominate space, representing astrophysical theories in abstractions of great beauty through structures made out of simple materials: pieces of timber, neon lights and other elements are brought together to construct pieces that are similar to mock-ups. One of these is M-Sphären, in which Dahlem pseudo-scientifically reinterprets M-theory, by North American physicist Edward Witten. M-theory formulates the dynamic thesis of electromagnetic fields that would explain the unification of the four fundamental forces or interactions that exist in nature: gravity, electromagnetism, and strong and weak subatomic sources.

The “M” in its name refers to the mystery and magic of the concept of “membrane” in string theory. M-theory, which scientists have been working towards for almost 70 years, would explain one of the essential secrets of physics: the connection between micro- and macro-cosmos, quantum theory and relativity theory. In formal terms, Dahlem’s sculpture shows the orbits or spheres of the so-called “highspeed stars” that circle around black holes in the middle of galaxies before they slowly but surely disappear.
Dahlem’s works are seemingly fragile and poetic abstract representations of concepts such as space and time. Dahlem tries to understand the world in a simple way, through philosophy, science, physics, astronomy, astrophysics and certain cosmic theories. Although his works refer to and represent planetary orbits, what lies behind them are largely intuitive, fantastic conceptions, a way of seeing and representing a universe in which there is still a great deal to explore.
Dahlem’s works suggest a form of contemplation in which both art and science are present and merge into a harmonious and synthetic whole. Reality and fiction are equally important as sources of inspiration for his three-dimensional representations that combine physical formulas, a Romantic spirit, and an almost childish curiosity about the world and a desire to understand it, not lacking a sense of humour.