Changing states Liquid to solid
Crystallisation of Sodium Chloride
“Salt is the only rock directly consumed by man. It corrodes but preserves, desiccates but is wrested from the water. It has fascinated man for thousands of years not only as a substance he prized and was willing to labour to obtain, but also as a generator of poetic and of mythic meaning. The contradictions it embodies only intensify its power its links with experience of the sacred.”
Margeret Visser, 20th century author
The research for this exhibition concentrated mainly on the materiality of salt, its cubic lattice form and ionic bonding.
Inspiration for the drawings exhibited came from meetings with Simon Parsons, Professor of Crystallography at the University of Edinburgh. A grain of salt was taken from the salt marsh at Tyninghame to the School of Chemistry where, with the help of x-ray diffraction, the artists were able to view the structure of the crystal, along with a composite view showing the symmetry of the pattern.
Although the central theme of the exhibition was based on science Dempsey & Boer also looked at the historic and cultural importance of salt in Scotland where salt was formerly in high repute as a charm. The salt-box was the first chattel to be removed to a new dwelling. When Robert Burns was about to occupy a new house at Ellisland, he was escorted,along the banks of the river Nith, by a procession of relatives carrying a bowl of salt resting on the family Bible.
This story was the inspiration for placing four hand- cast glass blocks, on the floor, In each corner of the gallery, to purify the space. The growing of salt crystals on glass (a solid liquid) has been an ongoing theme in the work of Dempsey & Boer, starting with a liquid saline solution, which in time, through evaporation, changes from a liquid to a solid. For this exhibition the crystallization process on each block was started at an interval of two weeks in order to show the various stages of crystal growth.
Changing States was presented at AtticSalt gallery, Edinburgh: 05.06.09 - 15.06.09