Steve Brudniak

The Hadean Eon, 2015 - 2016
Assemblage with 4 billion year old zircon recovered from the worlds oldest known rock formation, trapped 4 billion year old gas, 99.95% light absorbing material, and LED light.
21 x 30 x 10 in
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Unlike Peales’ curtain, which reveals the historic remnants of the natural world in his painting, The Artist in His Museum, the curtain here has dropped and the undressed stage of the universe is exposed, as if God were caught with his pants down. Behind it we find absolutely nothing, ironically the place from which all things and thoughts emerge. The same theme, which I have referenced in the Noumenon series, is simulated this time using a unique material, which absorbs 99.95% of the light hitting it. On the other stage, the microscope stage, is a tiny grain of a stone, which formed during the Hadean eon, the period of Earths formation over 4 billion years ago. The name "Hadean" comes from Hades referencing the hellish, sterile, molten- rock conditions on Earth at the time; ironically (again) a place from which abundant life eventually emerged. In fact, within some of these rocks, in 2015, remains of biotic life were found. Far earlier than ever imagined before. The infinite rabbit hole of knowledge is a surrealist game played by God with his pants down, having the last laugh. In 2014, 8 years after creating The Menagerie of Eternal Life, an artwork containing a 250 million year old bacteria, the oldest living thing known, I contacted John Valley of the department of Geoscience at the University of Wisconsin, one of the discoverers of the oldest know rock on Earth. John sent 2 tiny zircon samples taken from the discovery site in the Jack Hills of Australia scotch taped to wax paper on a letterhead. Wearing 2 sets of reading glasses, it took a painstaking 4 hours to clean, prepare and gingerly maneuver on the tips of exacto knives to mount the first sample into silicone between glass slides... which cracked when I stupidly let it slip from the mount. I managed to remove the tiny grain and remount it, but to my chagrin, I had allowed a small lint fragment into the mix...Again I had to split open the slides, fish it out of the sticky silicone, roll it between sheets of paper to clean it, and finally, successfully remount it. After 8 months of work the piece was finished and I installed it in my house the next day. I was sorely disappointed when after looking into the microscope I noticed an air bubble had formed around the stone. Faaaak! Where the Hades did that come from? There’s nothing but rock and silicone in there, no room for air! It wasn’t until I realized the rock had exploded, out-gassing and forcing the uncured silicone aside, that the bubble was 4 billion year old air trapped in the stone, essentially earth atmosphere from the Hadean eon.