A Dutch artist is creating tiny worlds suspended inside fragile glass tubes

Steve Hogarty
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Micro Matter, an art project by Rosa de Jong

Standing at just a few inches tall, these lilliputian constructions from Dutch artist Rosa de Jong are the architectural equivalent of ships in a bottle. The series, entitled Micro Matter, presents miniature vertical townships of alien proportions, each suggesting a wider and more fantastical world beyond.

Indeed, de Jong says she had initially intended to construct an entire city at this scale, before she eventually lost interest in the project and decided instead to encapsulate the existing parts within glass tubes. The buildings are meticulously pieced together from cardboard, but the dirt and vegetation is made up of whatever she can find outside, whether it be sand from the Monument Valley, rocks from Curacao and even the twigs her cat drags into the house. The intricate works include skyscrapers on clouds and floating chunks of abstracted suburbia, the lightness of each tube at odds with the dense scenes held within. The detail continues even inside the buildings, where interiors have been pieced together with tweezers and immense patience.

De Jong uses tweezers and random bits of detritus to build her tiny sculptures.

“It can still be abstract, but I really love it if there’s space inside, a small world to go to,” says de Jong, who turns out each piece in less than a day. So far she’s created a dozen tube towns, and though she accepts her fleeting interest in art projects will soon have her moving on to bigger things, she’s confident there’s more to come. “I still feel like there are many worlds to create.”

Sales soon to be available at micro-matter.com. For more information visit byrosa.nl