Presented by the unimaginable vastness of the universe Liam Murray cites Sir Isaac Newton’s seemingly self-consuming dictum ‘Hypotheses Non Fingo‘ ‘I Feign No Hypotheses’.
In a drawing which appears to fix a glimpse of the infinitely shifting, incomprehensible universe, that statement seems at first reading both laced with irony and incomprehensibly circuitous. But this immediate interpretation is gradually dissolved by the unfolding spectacle of Murray’s meticulous drawing. As the viewer’s eyes readjust to the fine marks and subtle shades of the drawing’s surface (just as they do when staring up at the night sky) the reading of forms begins to shift; what was once a dark patch of starless galaxy becomes a planet, then a spaceship, then the pupil of an eye from behind which we are gazing out at this ethereal glimpse of the infinite.
The circular format of Hypotheses Non Fingo is highly reminiscent of the lenses through which science grasps at the imperceptible regions of the universe; from the infinitesimally small to the incomprehensibly large.
Murray’s relation of the universe, however, is one perpetually mediated by the drawn mark; it reminds the viewer that what we see is not the real reality but one, just as the universe depicted by astronomy and astrophotography, transcribed and ciphered through a human (and therefore limited, fallible) system of signs.
Iris Priest, 2012