Fri 28 Apr 2023 to Thu 25 May 2023
19 Goulston Street, E1 7TP Silvia Infranco: Taking Care
Artist: Silvia Infranco
Private view: Thursday 27 April, 6pm-9pm
Curated by Marina Dacci
Yamamoto Keiko Rochaix presents Taking Care, the first solo show in the UK by Silvia Infranco. Italian artist's investigation unfolds through many media: works on paper, works on wood, artist’s books, sculptures and polaroids that fill the rooms of the gallery. They recount history of humans' interactions with nature and plants informed by ancient manuscripts housed in the British Library.
Infranco’s work could be described as a memoir, a book of personal experiences, ranging from her classical readings to her long walks in nature. The sources she turns to for her research are often old publications about botany and alchemy. In recent years, the artist’s investigation has come to focus on herbaria and pharmacopoeias found in ancient manuscripts and early printed books.
This exhibition grew out of her reflections on the human relationship with nature in the field of herbal medicine, particularly in terms of its magical, symbolic and alchemical implications over the centuries. The idea of recovering certain aspects of these caregiving methods (in which one often notes a close connection between the feminine principle and the healing process), and of highlighting their topicality as regards the relationship of body/senses/psyche, are guiding themes in the show. Ancient books of wisdom are thus rediscovered and brought into our time, linking the magical past to the scientific present, to find a contemporary approach that will regenerate the relationship between humans and the environment.
Modern-day attention to these therapeutic aspects of the natural world springs from a rekindled interest in archaic methods of caring for the body and mind, in part because their effectiveness has been demonstrated by modern chemistry. At the same time, the element of ritual that is involved – aimed at activating the power of the plants – could help us regain an attitude towards Nature that is one of “harvest and replenishment”, a constant search for balance.
The images and words encountered in her studies of these volumes – which frequently incorporate herbs – has guided the artist’s work, both in her two- and three-dimensional pieces and in her photographic experiments. The pace is long and slow, respecting the dictates of matter and the need to elaborate the artist’s experience over the course of her creative process. The work encapsulates memory and becomes a tool for preserving it. The inventory of primal forms, meticulously organised, flows out into images that are “liquid”, almost shapeless, the result of a physical and mental process of osmosis. Not coincidentally, the artist describes her work as a “ritual metamorphic narrative” (like the ones used in ancient healing processes), emphasising the evolving, entropic nature of life. Her investigation is thus a tangible attempt to stop time through images, to block oblivion. Yet at the same time, it suggests a need to achieve distance so that memory can sprout and continue to grow, bringing itself into the present. (Marina Dacci)
Silvia Infranco (1982, Belluno, lives and works in Bologna)
Silvia Infranco’s research is an act of love addressed to life, the quest for a harmonic-evolutionary dimension of the world. In her work concepts of time/memory, deﬁnition of the forms and transformative energies intrinsic to them are the core of her research. They are an attempt to elucidate the connection, the possible union of art and science in their existential and autobiographic dimension. (Marina Dacci) Graduated from Academy of Fine Arts, Bologna in 20216, Infranco has widely exhibited widely across Italy. Solo shows include 'In divenire', Museo di Scienze Naturali, Brescia (2021), 'Keròn', Guidi & Schoen Arte Contemporanea, Genova (2020), Tempus deﬂuit, imago latet (perchè non voglio dimenticare), Marignana Arte, Venice (2019), VIE DI DIALOGO/6 CaCo3-Silvia Infranco, Museo della Città, Rimini (2019), KENOTIPIE, Porta degli Angeli, Ferrara (2014). Infranco's work is in the Contemporary Art Collection of the Emilia Romagna Region.