Ensayos de lo sólido
Ensayos de lo sólido, 2022

The mountain or the plateau seems immovable and eternal. Even rocks and dust are a metaphor to refer to all that is lifeless, static, and inert. For many years, the science exploring this subject speculated hypotheses about the cosmic events that had given rise to the earth and left it in the shape we know it. But the world was not and will not be like that. We must conceive of another time scale, different from that which has determined evolution and human lives. Doing so will allow us to find that just such a mountain or plateau and the matter of which it is made have been and continue to be transformed by processes occurring over hundreds of thousands of years. The traces of this transformation are present in rock dust that we label bland and nondescript. They witness erosion, weathering, precipitation, accumulation, sedimentation, upliftment, eruption, flooding, constant movement, and energies at work. The planet and its forms result from cataclysms and events beyond human time and forces.

In different media, mainly through sculpture, Elena Damiani (Lima, 1979) interprets images and materials associated with archaeology, geology and cartography to confront the discourses and assumptions of scientific truth (supposedly immovable and eternal) and proposes alternative forms of contemplation and analysis of geography and nature. In the set of unpublished sculptures assembled for this exhibition, she presents a careful selection of granites, marbles, and travertines as material that contains the information of ancient times and perhaps the clues to surmise future times. Science uses tools that record measurements and confirm objective data. However, the artist — with the support of a specialised work team — makes devices with the same mineral matter in such a way that in them and through them, we recognise flows, accidents, random events and, in general, multiple energies in action that gave it its appearance and existence.

With these enigmatic devices, we do not measure, nor do we elaborate truths. Instead, we allow ourselves to be captivated by the fabulous agency of chance. These can integrate small and capital magnitudes, preserve relics of the creatures that enjoyed the sea and land bounties some millions of years ago, and turn mud into colorful crystallisations, emblems of our fortuitous sense of luxury and power. These devices are brought together under “Essays on the Solid”. In writing, the essay is a genre that allows references and arguments, supposedly disparate or unconnected, to be brought together to support or point towards some idea. An essay is a territory of risk, exploration, and the search for one’s voice, as is making a work of art. In addition, in Elena Damiani’s work, we see the earth itself as an essay. It results from variables and interactions of constant and unpredictable phenomena, which make it mutable and vivid. As such, as a vibrant matter, it conditions our existence, our future, and for this reason, we owe it all our respect.