Frankie Gao is a Hamburg based, international, visual artist. Her works are composed around themes of astronomy, scientific research, nature and philosophy.
It amazes me that we are made of particles that have existed since the moment the universe began. That explains why I am always astounded by the enchanting beauty of astronomical objects in the sky, the inexplicable nature of particles inside another particle, the hypotheses of the multiverse, parallel worlds, black holes, as well as dark matter that have been puzzling us for decades.
Our passion for exploring the world beyond, the desire to venture out to the unknown is deeply engraved and encoded in our DNA. I wonder what kind of thoughts the people in pre-antiquity had in their heads, when they painted patterns of dots and circles in the cave that clearly resembled the ‘fixed’ stars of the night sky. Through thousands years of work, our ancestors had the stars observed, grouped, named and studied, whose rise and fall, disappearance and reappearance during the year at different angles indicate the advent of seasons, or a right time to sow the seeds, harvest crops, or which date and year to get married or wage a war, etc,. A universal calendar that was employed to guide our ancestor’s day-to-day life.
Astronomy, isn’t just the study of celestial objects and phenomena, it also compels us to re-examine our place in the World. For centuries, people believed that the planets and stars revolved around Earth, that we were the centre of the universe until Copernicus’s Heliocentrism (the Earth and planets revolve around the Sun at the centre of the Solar System) was made known (though its earliest notion could date back to 3rd century BC in ancient Greece), which suggested the Earth was not at the centre of the the Solar System. The ensuing studies in the next few centuries brought about even more stunning discoveries, such as that the Sun was one of innumerable stars, there were many more galaxies, planetary orbits weren’t perfect circles, stars were virtually far away, the universe is expanding, etc. Awed, we want to know who we are and why we are here.
Every scientific breakthroughs bring us closer to the truth of the universe, for instance, Newtonian gravity, Einstein’s relativity, reduced Planck constant, double-slit experiment, CMB, Detection of gravitational waves, etc… The learning of scientific knowledge teaches us to be humble. I am thrilled to be born into this world, to be able to learn about our universe through the telescope and theories founded by a pantheon of masterminds throughout history. As T. S. Eliot once wrote ‘we shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time’.
Perhaps, the best way to understand the world, is by simply looking at the night sky, realising that, the light of the stars that we see, could take thousands or even million light years to reach the Earth. Those stars have already existed long before the emergence of human beings. We are looking into their past, but the future lies beyond our sight.
The curiosity about the cosmic wonder, the pursuit of the universal truth compels me to go explore, the yet unknown and bring them forth in my works of art. The passion for the astounding and mysterious universe is so intense that I could only associate it with the feeling of falling in love, and that is the reason self-explanatory enough to stroll among the book and leaves, and gallop in the world of art, days on end.
My artwork, despite how intricate, massive or subtle whose format or subject is, begins solely with a single stroke on the surface, which reminds me, every time before I embark on a new art adventure, that, the universe, vast, boundless and immense, simply emerges from a singularity, where no time ever existed or life ever emerged.
What are we and who are we? Where are we going? I delve into the zone crisscrossing art, science and wonder, with a hope that one day I could find the answers.