Since 2004 Karel Nel has been the resident artist working with a team of the world’s foremost astronomers on COSMOS, one of the most ambitious projects ever undertaken to map a two degree field in the universe. Nel spends time with the COSMOS astronomical team viewing the infinite in observatories in remote sites around the world.
He has often commented to astronomers that ‘on returning home my own studio is my observatory, my place of close observation of my surroundings, the finite, the terrestrial and the philosophical.’
In this work Dish he draws an unusual Dan bowl from Liberia that stands poised in his studio, its cupped serrated surface emanating its own presence yet simultaneously alluding to the telescopic dishes that capture complex emanations as they point out into the universe.
Art First, London, Karel Nel: Observe, 8 October to 14 November 2015. Illustrated on pages 24, 25, 36 and 37 of the exhibition catalogue.