Pyrotechnic Posters Are Fireworks Drawn On Paper

There’s a deep love many humans feel for fire; it’s often cited as one of the most important discoveries that led to the founding of civilization. The work of French artistic duo [Pinaffo-Pluvinage] definitely hits upon that, combining pyrotechnics with paper to make what are probably the most exciting posters you’ve ever seen, as reported by Heise Online.

The artworks are made with a variety of powders, including those for blue and red flames and one with a special “scintillating” effect.

The posters aren’t huge, measuring 50 cm x 70 cm. However, what they lack in size, they make up for with literal flames. Yes, the posters are laced with a variety of pyrotechnic powders that combust in a variety of designs and patterns to create a dynamic burning artwork once ignited.

Each poster is thus a work of art in both the visual and combustible realms. Different parts of the artwork burn at differnt rates and with different colored flames, adding to the performance when the poster is burned. Impressively, the artworks are not destroyed in the process; the pyrotechnic material burns off with much flame and smoke without destroying the poster itself.

Putting together the posters wasn’t as simple as simply doodling some designs. The duo had to develop their own methods to apply the pyrotechnic material to the paper. Reportedly, the effort took hundreds of experiments to get right.

It’s unclear exactly how the effect is achieved without burning the whole poster down; one suspects some kind of protective layer may be used. It’s quite the opposite of flash paper, which consumes the paper itself in the combustion.

In any case, fireworks experts will likely have some good ideas of the chemicals used to achieve the flaming effects; sound off in the comments if you know what’s what!

The pieces could be interpreted as a commentary on the transience of all things, or the artist’s intention could have been something different entirely. Who can say? Video after the break.

15 thoughts on “Pyrotechnic Posters Are Fireworks Drawn On Paper

  1. Social commentary aside: other than all elements being finite, I’m not sure the elements in pyrotechnics are considered particularly “precious”, almost all of the elements used in pyrotechnics are in the top 10 list of most abundant atoms in the earths crust:

    1: Oxygen
    2: Silicon
    3: Aluminium
    4: Iron
    6: Sodium
    7: Potassium
    8: Magnesium
    and Nitrogen (not super common in the crust, but 78% of the atmosphere)

    (5th is calcium, but I don’t think it’s used much in pyrotechnics)

    The only “rare” elements are things like:
    14: Barium
    16: Strontium
    17: Sulphur
    21: Chlorine
    26: Copper
    32: Cobalt

    And none of them are considered precious or rare, and certainly nothing so rare as platinum group, or lanthanides are used, or certainly not commonly if they are, as I couldn’t find any manufacturer with it on their BOM.

  2. Considering the size, duration and proximity of this pyro display to the viewer, I really hope they have formulated a smokeless mixture as the smoke really kills the effect. Make it even smaller, and this can probably be made into a handheld pyro display given as a new year’s eve card.

  3. A French artistic duo appearing in a German newspaper probably don’t care about American holidays. It’s not all about you.

    Yours, etc
    -The Rest of the World, who also like fireworks.

  4. I for one agree: it seems that the definition of a hacker these days is someone who wastes resources and/or needlessly generate physical waste for, frankly, no good purpose (“because I can” and “because I get some subs on Youtube” do not qualify as good reasons). No doubt that many of those people (or their own children) will inherit the wasteland they are contributing to, and then blame someone else.
    Clearly, many people making all those pointless wasteful projects have skills. If instead of using those skills to be wasteful towards the environment they were focusing those skills to be helpful towards the environment, I’m sure we could go quite a way.
    In these days of social media, “likes” and “subs”, I’m not holding my breath though. Those raw materials might not be “rare” in the traditional sense, but the planet we live on certainly is.

  5. I don’t believe any protective layer on the paper is needed. A science teacher at my school used to do this and I understand very little prep was required – copier paper, paint it on and let it dry.

  6. Cai Guo-Qiang has been making this kind of gunpowder art for decades. I remember seeing some of it at a major solo show of his work at the Guggenheim Museum in New York in 2008.

    As far as the waste “for, frankly, no good purpose”, the small amount of materials consumed is insignificant compared to that used for most television, film production, video games, “smart” home electronics, professional sports, etc.
    You should be worrying about and reducing your consumption of them.

    1. The tattoo artist Scott Campbell did stuff a lot like this in my shop in Brooklyn back in 2012. We’d CNC route in to plywood and he’s pack the lines with fuse or whatever, then paper over it. It was good birch ply and the char never went to full ignition. Fun stuff, and there was even a tryptic of 4’x8′ panels. They’re in my blog, search Scott Campbell. He’d put them in a deep glass covered frame / box and sell them ash and all.

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