Committed to the spirit of Surrealism and its methods of exploring the subconscious, Thomas Michel, while experimenting with ink on various surfaces, came across a technique for which no other name seemed more fitting than “Hydrography.” In this process, ink pigments are compelled to leave traces as they dry, akin to the erosion of a landscape. The forces of the liquid state are thus visually depicted in a graphic manner, resulting in a Hydrography analogous to lithography. By bypassing rational thought, these documents of the subconscious adhere precisely to the principles of Surrealism.

Graphically, Hydrography intersects drawing, painting, and mediated image processing. Through the sedimentation of ink pigments on film, microscopic images resembling photographic negatives are formed, serving as templates for producing prints of any size and edition. The roots of hydrographic images lie in both Eastern ink painting and calligraphy, as well as in Surrealism with its graphical automatism and psychoanalysis.

From a drop of ink emerges an entire universe, where natural processes of growth and transformation engender a virtual cosmos unseen before, simultaneously appearing strangely familiar and alien. Microcosm and macrocosm merge into a projection surface for the viewer’s archetypal states of mind. Inspired by nature within the tradition of pantheistic worldviews from Celtic megalithic cultures to Romanticism, these images evoke a nearly magical luminosity, reviving a capacity lost in consumer society: enlightenment through wonder.