eruption II


Format 1: 202 x 132 cm / 79.5 x 52 in, edition of 6 + 2 AP
Format 2: 102 x 67 cm / 40.2 x 26.3 in, edition of 6 + 2 AP
Hybrid photography, archival pigment print, aludibond, diasec, custom-made wood/ aluminium frame

Volcanoes play a vital role in the Earth’s climate. They also provide the blueprint for the possible cooling of the planet. When they erupt, they emit huge quantities of sulphur dioxide which are catapulted into the stratosphere. The gas disperses in the high-up, long-range air currents and forms sulphate particles. These reflect back a part of the solar radiation that hits the earth and thereby cool the climate. As a means of climate engineering, scientists are therefore discussing curbing global warming through the targeted release of the gas. With large-scale injections of sulphur dioxide into the atmosphere, the temperature level of 2020 could be maintained into the future, and the climate on a global average would remain milder. Model calculations show that the average global temperature could be held at the 2020 level – with no change in greenhouse gas emissions – if a certain amount of sulphur dioxide were injected into the atmosphere annually. The side-effects would be less rain on a global average, there could be more wide-spread droughts or an intensification of existing droughts. In addition to their impact on the Earth’s climate, volcanoes also play a vital role as an inexhaustible source of energy for geothermal power generation, a technique that is used extensively, especially in Iceland.

The artwork “eruption II” is a visualisation of the archaic energy and tremendous transformative power volcanoes possess. In the spring of 2021 the Fagradalsfjall volcano erupted in Iceland. Over the course of several months new craters and fissures formed again and again, huge streams of liquid rock flooded the valley, and created a new landscape that changed from day to day. The work is based on photographs taken by Michael Najjar at the start of the volcanic eruption in Iceland. For several days the artist climbed the mountains in the Geldingadalir valley to approach the erupting craters with his camera from different perspectives. The fountains of lava shot 200 meters into the air and rained down in incandescent spatters. Like a gushing waterfall, the lava poured into a lake of molten rock. The viewer’s gaze is drawn directly to the centre of the crater by the x-shaped composition of the image. From there the viewer’s gaze is catapulted into the sky and equally drawn down into the lake of lava. Taken at close range, the photos allow the viewer to literally feel the heat, menace and sheer power of this natural spectacle.


Personally liable:
Michael Najjar

Design concept & coding: Matthias Hübner,
with support by Marco Land

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