CURA.

ROSSELLA BISCOTTI
Clara and Other Specimens

curated by Lorenzo Benedetti

Fondazione Antonio Ratti, Como 

April 16 – June 25, 2019 

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Press Release

Rossella Biscotti presents works that investigate themes of migration and the consequent relationship with the territory. Highlighting historical facts, often forgotten, the artist seeks a conceptual transposition in order to emphasize the changes. Biscotti analyses these themes from the point of view of the animal and plant realm with two works that question the concept of decontextualization and the search for the construction of new biological contexts. The transformation of the territory is analysed through the forced displacement from the place of origin and through a research into building new biotopes in which flora and fauna can together restore a dimension of existence.

The first work entitled Clara (2016) bears the name of the Indian rhino imported in 1740 by Douwe Jansz Mout van der Meer, captain of the Knappenhof ship of the Dutch East India Company. Van der Meer immediately understood the importance of the pachyderm and organized a public European tour that for sixteen years intrigued the inhabitants of half of the cities Europe. Clara, perhaps the most famous rhino in history, became one of the icons of one of the most important commercial routes in European chronicle. Biscotti reconstructs the weight of the animal in bricks that were used as ballast by the East India Company to depart with a load towards the colonies. In this sense, bricks are an element that is linked to the emptiness and the impossibility of reconstructing a different habitat for many species. Clara's translation in its weight, in the daily consumption of food and vices (sea stories tell that the animal was addicted to tobacco) and its monetary value (100,000 Louis d'or were offered by the sovereign of France for Versailles) represents the animal in terms of a constant changing value that does not reconstitute the unity of its being.

Created for the Fondazione Antonio Ratti, the second work enquires the representation of the Amorphophallus Titanummore commonly known as Titan Arum, which was brought to Europe for the first time by the Florentine botanist Odoardo Beccari.

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Courtesy Wilfried Lentz Rotterdam, photo: Volker Döhne, Kunstmuseen Krefeld 
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Courtesy Wilfried Lentz Rotterdam and Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven Photo: Peter Cox, Eindhoven 
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Courtesy Wilfried Lentz Rotterdam, Photo: Luis do Rosario 

The plant, native of Sumatra, Indonesia, is characterized for having the largest unbranched inflorescence in the plant world. In fact, it rarely blooms and only for a few days, creating a huge flower that gives off a particularly unpleasant smell that resembles that of the rotting meat of a carcass and serves to attract a type of beetle for pollination. Rossella Biscotti reconstructs the life-size plant by printing the huge flower on fabric. The characteristic size of the inflorescence creates a direct relationship between the plant and the public, having the same proportions as a person.
However the condition of exposure is a very precarious context for such a plant. As in the case of Clara the rhinoceros, the spectacularization and exposure of an exotic species become the cause of its deterioration and its disappearance.

The breakdown of the flower in silkscreens, metaphorically representing the colours that make up the image, and the breakdown of the weight of Clara, in order to solve the practicalities of its transport, speak of the exploitation and dismemberment of the exotic body for the purpose of science and entertainment.

OTHER PREVIEW
Galerie Eva Presenhuber, Zurich
Palazzo delle Esposizioni, Rome
Eva Presenhuber New York
ICA London
La Triennale di Milano, Milan
Manifesta 12, Collateral Event
Galleria Lorcan O'Neill, Rome