Transits and Occultations I, 2019, black marble, white Mexican stone and brass, 21 x 16 x 120 cm each

Elena Damiani »Great Circles«

Mexico City , November 23, 2019 - January 25, 2020

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

The exhibition Great Circles emphasizes the importance of attempting to reflect on the scientific tools and facts, the laws of nature, and the effects that these projects on our ways of thinking and our culture, promoting questions that recognize its impact beyond the field of Science. The exhibition is composed of sculptures and a series of drawings, which refer to different navigation devices and distance and time measuring instruments; The artist relies on notions of navigation, cartography, exploration, mobility, and location, to address the fundamental search to understand our position in the world.

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Damiani rehearses a poetic about the natural processes that we fail to make visible, to create a bridge that connects scientific principles and facts with universal meanings and notions. This attempt to understand these principles leads the artist to translate them into a sculptural language, using classic materials of this discipline, so that in this way, we will be able to recognize them. In the sculptures, the combination of black marble, white stone, and brass suggests the alignment of masses that reflect light in different ways: dark bodies, bodies that reflect light and bright bodies.

Conventional techniques to measure positions on the Earth's surface shape the project to generate a poetic representation of distances and physical locations concerning an open system of references. Likewise, the works reflect on the movement of celestial objects in space and how they can serve as a system of references in space-time. Transits and occultations I refers to the discontinuity of time, natural phenomena that alter an established order, and the dialectic between light and dark. The geometric assemblies of stone and metal represent the variations of a planetary transit between three celestial bodies that line up hiding one behind the other. The works try to bring back to materialness a phenomenon, that although we perceive as intangible (for example as an image in the sky), in reality, implies the movement of large masses by natural forces.

The works are delineated by a geometry inspired in diagrams of navigation instruments and terrain recognition taken from the manuscript The Jewell of Arts by George Waymouth c. 1604. The clearest example can is Untitled (Protactor), a sculpture that abstractly represents a navigation instrument used to find the exact degree and minute of the altitude of the sun and the tides. In Great Circles I-V, a series of diagrams of scientific instruments translated into geometric drawings, we observe the representation of universal figures that seem to recreate a new cosmology that transcends the practical side of the object towards an aesthetic contemplation.

The exhibition aims to point out the importance of observing the celestial and the terrestrial, representing a context of interchange between the two areas. The works subtly affirm that our position responds to a system that obeys a higher order of magnitude that escapes the reality of human experience and that it is only by observing the relationships between the elements of this system that we can obtain knowledge of the physical world.

Elena Damiani was born in 1979 in Lima, Peru. She studied Architecture at the Universidad Peruana de Ciencias Aplicadas and subsequently transferred to the Escuela Superior de Bellas Artes Corriente Alterna where she graduated in Fine Arts in 2005. In 2010 she received her Masters in Fine Arts at Goldsmiths College, University of London. She participated in the 56th Venice Biennale, Vienna Biennale, IV Poly/Graphic Triennial, San Juan (all 2015) and the Mercosul Biennial in Porto Alegre (2013). Her work has been exhibited at MUAC Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo in Mexico City, Garage Museum of Contemporary Art Moscow, MOCAD Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (all 2015), Americas Society in New York, BIM Bienal de la Imagen y Movimiento in Buenos Aires (both 2014), Museo Tamayo in Mexico City, MAC Museo de Arte Contemporaneo in Lima (all 2013), Government Art Collection in London (2012), Museo de Bellas Artes de Valencia (2009), MAMBA Museo de Arte Moderno de Buenos Aires, IVAM Instituto Valenciano de Arte Moderno in Valencia (both 2007), Kunstmuseum (Bonn, 2006). She has had solo shows in London, Lima, Mexico City, Madrid, Brussels, and Paris. She was awarded the Americas Society commission for a permanent site-specific installation at the David Rockefeller Atrium in New York (2014), the Special Mention to Video Creation at the International Festival of Digital Arts and Cultures of Gran Canaria (2006), 2nd Prize at the French-Peruvian Contest for Visual Arts Pasaporte para un Artista (2006), the Gold and Silver at the Escuela Superior de Bellas Artes Corriente Alterna (2005), the Production Prize in the 2nd Peruvian Contest Video and Electronic Arts (2004). She currently lives and works in Lima.

Installation view

Transits and Occulations I, 2019, black Monterrey marble, white Mexican stone and brass, 21 x 16 x 120 cm

Transits and Occulations I, 2019, black Monterrey marble, white Mexican stone and brass, 21 x 16 x 120 cm

Orbital Resonances (Three celestial objects and their possible astronomical alignments), 2019, volcanic stone, white Durango marble, black Monterrey marble and brass, 163 x 163 x 5.44 cm

Orbital Resonances (Three celestial objects and their possible astronomical alignments), side view

Detail

Detail

Transits and Occulations II, 2019, black Monterrey marble, white Mexican stone and brass, 21 x 16 x 160 cm

Detail

Detail

Protactor, 2019, volcanic stone, onyx and brass, 64.1 x 75.97 x 5 cm

Detail

Detail

Great Circles I - IV, 2019, color pencil and pencil on cotton paper, 68.4 x 51x 2 cm

Great Circles I, 2019, color pencil and pencil on cotton paper, 68.4 x 51 x 2 cm

Great Circles II, 2019, color pencil and pencil on cotton paper, 68.4 x 51 x 2 cm

Great Circles III, 2019, color pencil and pencil on cotton paper, 68.4 x 51 x 2 cm

Great Circles IV, 2019, color pencil and pencil on cotton paper, 68.4 x 51 x 2 cm

Horizon Ring, 2019, Tepeaca marble and brass, 61 x 57 x 5.4 cm

Horizon Ring, 2019, Tepeaca marble and brass, 61 x 57 x 5.4 cm

Horizon Ring, 2019, Tepeaca marble and brass, 61 x 57 x 5.4 cm