Lucía Pizzani: A Garden for Beatriz. Cecilia Brunson Projects

Lucía Pizzani’s exhibition at Cecilia Brunson Projects features a series of four works revolving around the relationship between nature, gender and materiality.

By Alba Colomo
Vista de la exposición A Garden for Beatrix. Cecilia Brunson Projects. London. Foto: Patrick Dodds

Beatrix Potter was an English scientist and illustrator who investigated the reproduction and taxonomy of fungi. In spite of her having developed important biological-reproductive theories, her scientific work could never be carried out professionally for reasons of gender. With this fact as its point of departure, Lucía Pizzani’s (Venezuela, 1975) exhibition at Cecilia Brunson Projects, A Garden for Beatrix, features a series of four works revolving around the relationship between nature, gender and materiality.  

The piece that lends its title to the show is a series of sculptures in ceramics and works on paper that includes old drawings, photographs and illustrations by Potter, re-worked and integrated into a large mural. Without a clearly defined beginning or end, the site-specific installation adopts the shape of a rhizome in which organic forms protrude from the wall adopting a sculptural form, as if they had a life of their own. It is an immaculate work, perfectly mounted, precise and highly evocative. 

Bearing as its title the categorization included in the archive from which the artist has drawn the images, Unidentified Women is an ensemble of photographs projected on the wall that features portraits of late 19th century women which have become covered by fungi with the passage of time. This only reiterates the anonymity of the protagonists, transforming their silhouettes into phantasmagorical abstract forms. With an unhurried rhythm, the images go by in silence, although they are flanked by two pairs of headphones through which visitors may listen to fragments of media news from different countries related to “unidentified women.” In a subtle but direct way, the story is brought to the present to make us reconsider the obligation to remember.  

Based on the collodion wet-plate photographic technique, invented at the end of the 19th century and currently almost obsolete, Sagrario is the last series in the show. An ensemble of photographic plates depict a number of settings in which the protagonists are a series of bodies made of printed fabrics with a background of plants, which might well appear to be still life paintings. Beyond the stillness and the scenography, the shapes of these life forms evoke movement and mutation, as if something were about to emerge from inside these organisms.     

The exhibition A Garden for Beatrix pays a beautiful tribute to Beatrix Potter and to all the women that went unnoticed through the annals of history. Making good use of the intimacy provided by the exhibition space, located in curator Cecilia Brunson´s house, Lucía has succeeded in generating a poetic and welcoming environment where not only there is room for the political, but whose four walls emanate it.