“The Pyrolytic Release Experiment was designed to determine whether Martian organisms would be able to assimilate and reduce carbon monoxide or carbon dioxide as plants on Earth do. The easily monitored isotope carbon-14 was used and the results were described as ‘weakly positive’. While the experiment could not be repeated by Viking* on Mars, parallel experiments on Earth showed that the same results could possibly be explained by chemical, rather than biological, reactions.
In the Labeled Release Experiment an organic nutrient ‘broth’ was prepared and ‘fed’ to some samples of Martian soil, again using carbon-14 as the trace element. If organisms were present, they would ‘breathe out’ carbon dioxide as they ‘ate’ the nutrients. Carbon dioxide was, in fact, detected! However, the outgassing of carbon dioxide stopped and could not be restarted. This could have indicated some sort of chemical reaction or that a microbe had been present, but that it had died while ‘eating’ the ‘broth’. To distinguish a chemical reaction from a biological reaction, the mixture was heated. This process stopped whatever it was that was producing the carbon dioxide, which should have ruled against the notion of a chemical reaction, but which might confirm that it had been caused by a now-deceased organism. In the end, the Labeled Release Experiment was labeled ‘inconclusive’ because the activities of whatever produced the carbon dioxide had no exact parallel with known reactions of Earth life.”
[Krisciunas, Kevin & Yenne, Bill. The Pictorial Atlas of the Universe. Leicester: Magna Books, 1989, p.73]
* [The artist notes] In 1975 the United States launched Viking 1 and Viking 2, two identically built spacecrafts, towards Mars. In 1976 they both successfully reached their destination. Each spacecraft consisted of two parts: an orbiter designed to photograph the surface of the planet while remaining in orbit around it, and a lander designed to reach ground and conduct biological experiments aimed at detecting life in the Martian soil. The Viking space program was a huge success and greatly expanded our knowledge of the planet. It provided us with close-up photographs of the planet and its orbiting moons, and made it possible to closely observe the seasonal changes taking place during the Martian year. However, the question whether biological life exists on the planet, or if it at some point had existed there, remained unresolved. On November 13, 1982, the signal from the last functioning unit, the Viking 1 lander, was lost. Due to a human error during a software update the landers antenna had been caused to go down, thus terminating all further communications to Earth.
Welcome to The Pyrolytic Release. This is the third solo exhibition by Robin Lindqvist. His works can be described as conceptual paintings examining the limitations and possibilities of painting itself. The works often balance in a playful way between the actual surface of the painting and the pictorial space. For some time Lindqvist aimed at stripping down his works to their most minimal expression. This time around he decided to take to the brush again and ‘just paint’ without any preconcieved ideas. The result of this new approach will be on display at the gallery until the 23:rd of January.
Robin Lindqvist was born 1979 in Ystad, Sweden. Since 2006 he has been living in Helsinki, Finland. In 2011 he graduated from the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts.