Michael Najjar will be one of the protagonists of the exhibition Galileo and the Arts. The starry sky above me, promoted by Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Padova e Rovigo and set up at Palazzo del Monte di Pietà in Padua. For the occasion will be exposed: orbital ascent made in a completely unusual format (180 x 300 cm), gravitation entanglement and the video spacewalk.
The artwork orbital ascent pictures the historic launch of Ariane 5 rocket at the Guiana Space Centre (CSG), the European spaceport near Kourou in French Guiana. The spaceport is a high tech facility surrounded by the Amazonian forest which creates not only a stirringly surrealistic setting, but can also serve as a metaphor for the strong and vital relationship between space exploration and planet Earth itself. The composition of the artwork strongly focuses on the relationship between the surface of our planet, the natural environment and Earth-observing space exploration technologies.
The artwork spacewalk explores linkages between space, gravity, and the human body. A cosmonaut glides down into what seems to be an industrial ambience. The sudden appearance of the globe of the Earth through a porthole dislocates the cosmonaut’s environment and interrogates the relationship between real-world and fabricated reality. The cosmonaut’s meta-voice reflects fundamental thoughts about the relationship between space, time, and movement. The text is based on Isaac Newton’s manuscript De Gravitatione, from the seventeenth century. The work draws on a cosmonaut training session taken by Michael Najjar in December 2012 at the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City, Russia. The artist himself, locked in his heavy Orlan-M spacesuit is performing the “spacewalk” in the hydrolab, a deep tank filled with five million liters of water. The video was realized in collaboration with Thomas Rusch.