Digital Render of the work ´Transit and Occulations´, 16 x 16 x 120 cm, black marble of Monterrey, white Mexican stone and bronze, 2019

Elena Damiani »Great Circles«

Nhmx, November 23, 2019 - January 15, 2020

Conversation with the artist and and curators Fabiola Iza and Catalina Lozano
23 November 12:00 hrs

Notes on the exhibition by the artist

The project draws upon notions of exploration and location, in order to address the fundamental search to gain understanding of our position in the world. These notions relate to my interests in cartography and the surveying of new territories, as well as to the observation of celestial objects within navigation in order to construct a referential system in which we can place ourselves.

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Science is bringing us spectacular discoveries that twist our everyday perception of reality. Things like black holes, multiple universes and time distortions challenge our human-centered culture and beliefs. We have no choice but to observe the universe through human eyes and brains. How can we even start to make sense of it?

The celestial and the terrestrial realms have continuously been sources of representation and scientific fascination. Both celestial objects and land features have been key elements employed as references in maps as navigation devices. The proposal underpins the significance of observing the celestial and the underground and presents a context of reciprocity between the two realms.

The works affirm in a subtle manner that our position responds to a greater system, and that it is only by the observation of relations between elements in this system that we can gain knowledge of the physical world. It focuses on the relation between objects in a system in order to determine the placement of the human body as part of this constellation. They address the importance of observation and the perception of distance as a space-creating element. Correspondingly, it suggests that the observation of the everyday can lead to the representation of the universal.

An important source of inspiration for the project is The jewell of artes, a manuscript from 1604 by George Waymouth. The technical handbook consists of short texts and numerous drawings of instruments for navigation, surveying, and other inventions. The project draws upon mapping and navigational devices as formal references as a means to sketching the sculptures. Conventional techniques for measuring positions on the Earth’s surface inform the project in order to formulate a group of sculptures and drawings. The works present a poetic representation of physical distances and positions in relation to an open system of references.


The exhibition brings together a set of works based on scientific diagrams of measurement and navigation instruments to formulate geometries that draw referential systems of spatio-temporal relationships between objects to give rise to poetic representations of distances and possible locations within a universal constellation.