Fabian Oefner’s Fascinating Photos of Paint and Motion

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Swiss artist Fabian Oefner creates colorful art by harnessing scientific properties in an effort to bring our attention to the beauty of the natural world that surrounds us. Using high speed photography, Fabian Oefner captures vibrantly colored paint as they are disturbed or manipulated by forces of nature such as sound, wind, centripetal forces and magnetism.

“What I’m trying to do as a photographer, as an artist, is to bring the world of art and science together," Oefner said during a TED Talk. "Whether there’s an image of a soap bubble..a universe made of tiny little beads of oil paint.. or paint that is moving by centrifugal sources. I’m always trying to link these two fields together. They both respond to their surroundings in very different ways."

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For “Dancing Colors”, the artist mounted a thin plastic foil on top of the membrane of a common loud speaker and then added hundreds of colorful, tiny crystals onto the foil. Every time a sound is played through the speaker, the vibration caused by that sound made the crystals jump up and down, forming these peculiar looking forms and figures you see in the images.

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"Black Hole" is a series of images which shows paint modeled by centripetal force. Various shades of acrylic paint were dripped onto a metallic rod, which was connected to a drill. When switched on, the paint started to move away from the rod, creating these amazing looking structures.

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Millefiori” was created by mixing ferrofluid with water color and putting it into a magnetic field. Ferrofluid is a magnetic solution with a viscosity similar to motor oil. When put under a magnetic field, the iron particles in the solution start to rearrange, forming the black channels and separating the water colors from the ferrofluid. The result are these peculiar looking structures.

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For “Liquid Jewels”, the artist covered the surface of balloons with paint and then pricked them with a needle. These images were taken right after they exploded. The air inside the balloon expands explosively, throwing the paint in all different directions creating a firework of colors, frozen in time.

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In “Orchid”, the manipulative force was gravity. A tank was filled with several layers of different colors of liquid paint with the top layer being either black or white. Then, a sphere was thrown into the paint. As the falling object splashed into the tank, the paint was forced upwards, shaping the individual layers of paint into a blossom-like structure.

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State of the Art” is Fabian Oefner’s most recent work, commissioned by Ferrari. To create this, Oefner placed the car in a wind tunnel and released the paint in winds exceeding 150 MPH. The installation was filmed under ultraviolet light, causing the paint to glow colorfully — the black car, on the other hand was rendered nearly invisible.

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