Photographs and Copyright: MICHALOUS, 05/2003

Figures 1, 2. Icare, I care…” silica aerogel, 25×25×12 cm, Livermore, CA, USA. This is the first-ever silica aerogel sculpture and was created while the author was a Research Fellow at the Center for Advanced Visual Studies at MIT. The sculpture was realized by Dr. Michael Droege, Ocellus Inc., CA, photographs and copyright: MICHALOUS, 10/2002.

Figures 3, 4. “A portable sunset”, silica aerogel, 5x3x4cm. Steam penetrated the nanostructure of a hydrophobic sample of silica aerogel creating an ephemeral cloud that disappears after 9 minutes.

photograph and copyright: Massimo Pizzocaro 2/2008

Figure 5. Mnemonic ethanol ”, silica aerogel, marble, anodized aluminum. The silica aerogel sculpture is a “material translation’ of the Cycladic head in marble behind it. First presented during the rehearsals of author’s theater installation (Nob)Odyssey’s at La Mama Theater, New York, NY, USA, October 2003, photograph and copyright: MICHALOUS, 10/2003.

Figures 6,7. The author is visiting NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and had training by Dr. Steven Jones on a 50 litter vessel, photograph: Dan Goods, copyright: MICHALOUS 02/2005.

Figure 8. The artist is opening his 20 litters reactor after a 48 hours high-temperature supercritical drying. The vessel was installed in an old refurbished silo in Ktimeni village Greece in September 2005, and, since then, all the aer( )sculptures are created in it

photographs and copyright: MICHALOUS

Figure 9. Modigliani 42X14X2,5cm. An “inner world” is created inside this aer()sculpture, seen as a “sculpture into sculpture”: a man is finishing his climbing on a ladder and is ready to catch a new one, a Stairway to Heaven. This sculpture was part of the 11 aer( )sculptures presented during a solo exhibition at the Museum of Cycladic Art in Athens Greece during October 2006. This sculpture was presented under an electromagnetic field and was hovering in the air, photograph and copyright: MICHALOUS, 10/2006.

Figure 10. In every aer( )sculpture, the orange golden shadow is due to the Mie scattering phenomenon and the blue one is due to the Raylight scattering phenomenon, observed also to the colors of our sky. Additionally, while a red laser liner is passing through the silica aerogel volume, it is creating a dramatic effect, photograph and copyright: MICHALOUS, 10/2006.

Figure 11. Violin-shaped figurine. 20X12X2cm. Rotating like a planet, the sculpture changes his shadow every second. Permanent collection of “A.S Onassis Public Foundation”, Athens Greece, photograph and copyright: MICHALOUS, 2008.

Figure 12. The cup-bearer, 15X10X7cm, the silica aerogel sculpture weights 20 grams but the marble sculpture weighs 350 grams; here is the de-molding of the silica aerogelsculpture.

photographs and copyright: MICHALOUS

Figures 13-16. Exhibitions of the aer( )sculptures respectively at the Museum of Cycladic Art in Athens Greece in 2006, the XXIV Biennale for Mediterranean Countries, Alexandria, Egypt 2007 (awarded with the Golden Lighthouse), the Odeon of Herodes Atticus in Athens Greece during a concert of Mikis Theodorakis in 2011 with the singer Maria Farantouri. The mask of Hermes was presented at the MIT Museum, during the exhibition on the 50th Anniversary of CAVS, Jan. 2018 to Feb. 2019

Figures 17-18. Aphroplaston, silica aerogel 9×6,5x3cm, Cambridge MA, USA. What other sculptural medium permits us to see through the nose of a statue? Silica aerogel and its misty substance change the way we look at a sculpture. The space of silica aerogel exemplifies what the French mathematician Henri Poincaré named a “representative space,” a space that you cannot measure; you just live in with all your senses.

Figure 19. Athena’s shadow, the golden ghost shadow of another Greek theater mask made off silica aerogel. This orange projection is the light passing through the sculpture onto the projection screen. When we keep the sculpture between our eyes and a source of light, the sculpture has an orange and not blue hue. These blue and orange colors are why if you have a piece of silica aerogel in your hand, it is as though you hold a piece of sky between your fingers!

Figure 20. Bottled Nymphe, silica aerogel, glass, rubber, 10X3X3cm, this work and the one of Figure 40 were selected by Carnegie Mellon University’s MoonArk project and will be rocketed

Photographs and Copyright: MICHALOUS and M. Pizocarro 2018

Figure 21. Bottled Sky, silica aerogel, glass, rubber, 10X3X3cm. In September 2008 the author publishes the web site where he puts in sale his last achievement: vials of 20 and 30 ml of silica aerogel with a unique and different feather cloud into each vial, photographs and copyright: MICHALOUS, 2008.

Figure 22. Eavesdropping a Bottled Message, in collaboration with the performance artist Stelarc, Perth, Western Australia, photographs and copyright: STELARC, 2014.

Figures 23-24. M(ed)use, 35x25x18cm. Preparing the negative mold directly onto the model and observing the biggest silica aerogel mask.

Photographs and copyright: MICHALOUS, 2008

Figures 25-28. Women jewels, paper cutters, and magnifying glass in silverware and silica aerogel protected by clear glass or mouth-blown borosilicate glass.

Photographs and copyright: MICHALOUS, 2004-12

Figures 29-32. On Mars 2004 the author had been invited as an Artist in Residence by Dr. A. Venkateswara Rao at Shivaji Univerity, Maharastra, India. During some foundry experiments, we are observing in situ the delicateness (and not the fragility) of silica aerogel. Here the tangible nanomaterial can easily withstand underneath melted soda-lime glass (550o C) for the creation of the Double Angel or even to be encased by melted brass (930o C) for the creation of the Veria Girl; no loss in transparency and the volume (shrinkage) had occurred.

Photographs and copyright: MICHALOUS, 2009

Figures 33-34. SkyFlower, silica aerogel, acrylic, white LED, motor; presented during the exhibition “Terra Nova”, Gallery Wedding, Berlin, January 2010, photographs and copyright: MICHALOUS

Figures 35-36. Karditsa’s Heart, silica aerogel, stainless steel rods, LED lights, 100X70X100cm, permanent museum installation. With a very slow high temperature drying the author arrives to create the voluminous silica aerogel heart with two clouds into it. On the final display, the sky heart is placed onto orbits of five planets. Two LEDs are lighting the total: the first one is lighting the sky heart and thus creates a golden hue shadow of the heart, photographs and copyright: MICHALOUS, 2009.

Photograph and copyright: MICHALOUS

Figures 37-39. In September 2016 two of the author’s artworks (figures 20 and 40) were selected to be included to the MoonArk that will be rocketed to the moon in June 2021. “MoonArk is a highly collaborative and massively integrated project headed to the Moon intended to spark wonderment for future humans through poetically entangled narratives of the arts, humanities, sciences, and technologies”, photographs and copyright: Carnegie Mellon University.

Figure 40. Noli Me Tangere, silica aerogel, white LED, red laser pointer, optical prism, wood, fabric, motor, 75x50x20cm. First exhibited in 2012 at the “3rd Art and Science International Exhibition and Symposium” in Science and Technology Museum of Beijing in China. Noli me tangere is the Latin version of a phrase spoken, according to John 20:17, by Jesus to Mary Magdalene when she recognized him after his resurrection: Noli me tangere means “Touch Me Not” and portrays well the intangible quality of every aer( )sculpture.

Photograph and copyright: MICHALOUS

Figures 41-44. SkyDiscs, silica aerogel (diameter 200mm), gold leaf, steel, aluminum, LED white light, red laser pointer, motors. Presented during the Kinetica Art Fair 2011, Ampica P3, London, Marylebone, England, EU and at the author’s interactive installation Talking with the and rusted cloud at the 6th ACM Siggraph Asia, Convention and Exhibition Center, Hong Kong, China, 20-22 Nov 2013.

Photograph and copyright: MICHALOUS

Figures 45-48. Spirited Skies, mouth-blown double-wall borosilicate glass, gold leaf. First presented during the exhibition Science as Art during the Material Research Society Spring Meeting, Phoenix Arizona, USA, 17-20 Apr. 2017.

Photograph and copyright: MICHALOUS

Figure 49. Saint George of Darwin, Saint George icon’s revetment, silica aerogel, red laser liner, optical prism, wood, glass, fabric, 75x50x20cm, Darwin, Australia, exhibited at the 3rd Pulses of Art exhibition of the 29 Onassis’ Foundation Artists, Onassis Cardiac Surgery Center, 2016-2017, photograph and copyright: MICHALOUS.

Figure 50. Econographia, Madonna and Child icon’s revetment, silica aerogel, wood metal, glass, acrylic, 50x40x8cm, Athens, 2010, exhibited at Perth Town Hall, Western Australia during the author’s solo exhibit “On Cloud Seven”, private collection. A revetment or “riza” is a metallic cover protecting the icon, usually made of gilt or silvered metal with repoussé work and is pierced to expose elements of the underlying painting. Here there are no icons behind the revetments, only pieces of the silica aerogel sky, photograph and copyright: MICHALOUS.

Figures 51, 52. In February 2018 the author had visited the Union College, NY and had proposed to their Aerogels… group to test their commercial CO2 laser not to cut but to etch on the surface of silica aerogel. We had achieved surprising and beautiful results: printing the artist’s signature and even photographs of the team, photographs and copyright: MICHALOUS.

Photograph and copyright: MICHALOUS 01/2020.

Figures 53-56. The discovery of etched aerogel opened a new direction of experiments at the Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology of the NCSR Demokritos where the author is a Research Associate at the ScienceINNArt hub, since 2018. Trials on the surface and the volume of silica aerogel had been tested through laser beams, paintings and even by generating open fire on the top of silica aerogel. The beautiful (but also hostile) appearance of a permanent smog dome inside the nanostructure of silica aerogel originates a mini greenhouse phenomenon and an additional proof that the author’s aer( )sculpture mentions on our wounded sky, photographs and copyright: MICHALOUS.


The author wishes to thank Adam Whiton, Dr. Michael Droege, the A.S. Onassis Public Benefit Foundation, Mr. Papadimitriou, Fulbright Foundation (Greece), Dr. Rao Venkatesvara, Museum of Cycladic Art, Greece, Mrs. Katerina Koskina, Dr. Nicholas Leventis, Dr. Michel Aegerter, Aerogel Technologies, NSCR Demokritos, International Space University, MoonArk project, Dr. Kazuoshi Kanamori, TiEm Factory Japan, Boucheron Paris and all his sponsors, collaborators and collectors since 2002.


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  2. Michaloudis I., Van Roden, M.,(2017) Spirited Skies project: Silica Aerogel in Art and Design Applications”, MRS Advances, Cambridge Core Edit., 1-7
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  4. Michaloudis I, Dann B., (2017) “Aer( )sculpture: Inventing skies and microclouds into diaphanous sculptures made of the space technology nanomaterial silica aerogel”, J Sol-Gel Sci Technol
  5. Michaloudis I., Seats M., (2014) Etherospermia: Conceptual Art, Science and Allegory in the Sky-Seeding project”, Acta Astronautica Journal, 104, pp 61-70
  6. Michalou(di)s, I (2013) Bottled Sky,” The STEAM Journal: Vol. 1: Issue 1, Article 17. DOI: 10.5642/steam.201301.17
  7. MICHALOU(di)S I (2004) Aer( )sculpture: the enigmatic beauty of aerogel’s non-entity in a pilot art & science project Journal of Non-Crystalline Solids 350:61–66
  8. Michaloudis, I., (1999) L’habit d’androgyne (Doctoral dissertation, Atelier national de Reproduction des Thèses)
  9. Michalou(di)s I (2016) TEDx Darwin
  10. Terzon E, (2016), Darwin space junk artist having works rocketed to the moon as part of US university experiment, 105,7 ABC Darwin Radio,
  11. Michalou(di)s I, (2016), Radio New Zealand,

  1. Michalou(di)s I, (2014) Solo exhibit, Perth Town Hall, Western Australia,
  2. Michalou(di)s I, (2006) Solo exhibit at Museum of Cycladic Art Greece,
  3. An epochal artifect designed to communicate forward across time and space,