On 28 December, Mariagrazia Pontorno boarded a cargo ship bound for Brazil and embarked on a journey through time. This project planned to retrace Leopoldina of Habsburg-Lorraine’s 1817 voyage at the time of her engagement to Don Pedro of Braganza, crown prince of Brazil and Portugal. This journey towards knowledge requires, now as it was then, the existence of different skills.
Mariagrazia Pontorno’s journey is the continuation of an earlier project from 2015, Tutto ciò che so (Everything I know), where she created works inspired by the Brazilian fern herbarium of botanist Giuseppe Raddi, who also took part in the scientific expedition to Brazil on Leopoldina’s ship. These works can be seen in the celebrated Botanical Gardens of Pisa, the project’s supporters.
These two chapters are now followed by a journey that sees Mariagrazia Pontorno returning, once again, to Silvana Vassallo’s gallery with Everything I know / Volume 2 – Floating Lab.
The exhibition, curated from its very inception by Elena Giulia Abbiatici and Silvana Vassallo, recreates many of the voyage’s experiences, weaving together different time webs: the linear time of the ship’s voyage; the digital experience of those who followed the journey from afar and of those who now read about it, embedded in several stories and brought together through different media.
The artist, before her departure and in collaboration with the curators, invited onboard a “virtual crew” of artists, intellectuals and scientists who sent in their contributions. This constitutes an archive in progress for Everything I know, now presented as a first part.
«This is not an exhibition, this is a heterogeneous performance», states the press release «activating artistic and experiential processes stratified in space and time and engaging artists, scientists and intellectuals, as well as different contexts and scholarships. All these elements are brought together around the theme of the voyage, a metaphor for learning and exploration, processes of exchange and connection between past and present».
All works initiating these processes of vision, dialogue, reflection and experience – including images and documentary videos – can be found in Pisa. Some are displayed in cabinets, a special loan from the Pisa Botanical Gardens, to stress the connection with the place that inspires the project and the importance of preserving everything that encourages an exchange of ideas and knowledge – a priceless good.
The ship ended her (physical) voyage in Rio de Janeiro on 31 January 2018, where the sight of the Botanical Garden paved the way for the development of additional projects. The project will continue in Rio.
«Everything I know, volume 2 – Floating Lab», project by Mariagrazia Pontorno curated by Elena Giulia Abbiatici and Silvana Vassallo, Passaggi Arte Contemporanea Gallery, Pisa, Italy, 07.04 – 26-05.2018
Please visit here the Facebook Page for updates on the ongoing project and on the virtual crew
images: (cover 1) Mariagrazia Pontorno, «Everything I know. Layer #1», mixed media, 2017 (2) Mariagrazia Pontorno observes the horizon through «Atlante», sculpture by Davide Dormino (3) «Mariagrazia Pontorno. Everything I know, volume 2 – Floating Lab», Passaggi Arte Contemporanea Gallery, Pisa,Italy exhibition view (detail) (4) Mariagrazia Pontorno, «Everything I know», contemplating the constellations during the sidereal night with the playlist by Rosa Ciacci (5) «Mariagrazia Pontorno. Everything I know, volume 2 – Floating Lab», Passaggi Arte Contemporanea Gallery, Pisa, exhibition view (dettaglio) (6) Mariagrazia Pontorno. «Everything I know», sunset at Tilbury, courtesy Mariagrazia Pontorno.