Furnace for the Sublimation of Spirits, Bodies, Vessels in which Bodies Are Dissolved (HR)



Caffeine crystals, plaster/silicone casts, Borosilicate glass

Silvio Vujičić (HR)


This complex installation consists of several objects and devices in which the artist explores the white crystalline xanthine alkaloid, or caffeine, as a medium, and its chemical transformations as techniques. In his Vessels in which Bodies Are Dissolved (2012), an oversaturated solution of caffeine has crystallized around dead skin cells, accidentally dropped by the artist on glass surfaces while dripping the liquid. His Death Drive (2012) repeats the technique, but this time the crystallization has taken place on a different substrate, namely textiles, using its structure to attract the crystals. When exhibited, both Vessels and Death Drive mesmerize with their poisonous laces of filigree delicacy. Furnace for the Sublimation of Spirits is a device constructed as a hybrid between a medieval alchemical apparatus and elements used in present-day laboratories. An electrical heater warms up the psychoactive drug caffeine—under a vacuum-protected glass bell—which slowly sublimates, changing shape so as to create a fine sculpture of archetypal form (that of a phallus), which undergoes further transformations as long as the device is active. Vujičić’s Bodies (2012) are caffeine crystals, objects that evoke sculptures in manually blown borosilicate glass vessels, while his Saturations (2012) are hand-developed black and white photographs on cardboard paper: shots from above of various Petri dishes (plates), containing caffeine crystals—completely unexpectedly—as a microcosmic response to Galileo’s sketches of the lunar surface as published in his Siderius Nuncius (1610). [Text by Sanja Cvetnić]

photos by Marc Domage, 2012


Artist Bio:

Silvio Vujičić, born in Zagreb in 1978, graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts and the Faculty of Textile Technology in Zagreb. His work focuses on the transitory and transformative nature of the matter. On the contemporary scene he has been recognized as a consistent researcher whose complex projects often combine several media, visual and performing arts. He has presented his works in numerous group and solo shows in Croatia and internationally.