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Stefano Graziani’s Taxonomies pay homage to Carl Linnaeus’ utopian enterprise

Taxonomies – Stefano Graziani pays homage to the father of modern taxonomy through his travels around the globe concluding his insight and studies on the naturalist 

Carl Linnaeus Swedish naturalist

It took me three years to photograph what I was looking for. Taxonomies, the entire portfolio consists of more than 120 pictures, while the book I published in 2006 with a+mbookstore contains a sequence of nineteen pictures and an unbound fold-out with all the texts. The project revolves around Swedish naturalist Carl Linnaeus, whom I imagined as a scholar of the visible. I studied his works and his utopian enterprise of Swedish autonomy by cultivating economically strategic plants such as spices and coconut – the project failed due to the Scandinavian climate. Still, it generated insightful studies on the planet’s flora. I saw the greenhouses I encountered as utopic in his effort to acclimatize non-local plants.

Stafano Graziani’s Taxonomies

I have visited numerous collections and institutions such as natural history museums, botanical gardens, entomological collections. Carl Linnaeus is one of the aspects of the project, while photography as a tool for understanding the visible is Ariadne’s thread that connects every step of the process. I chose my destinations according to what I already knew, but in many cases, I decided to go to places I had never visited before. Some stages of my journey: Shanghai and Beijing, Tel Aviv, Linnean Society and Kew Gardens in London, the Natural History Museum of Trieste, Venice and Milan, the Botanical Garden of Berlin, the Botanical Garden of Uppsala. After several exhibitions, for a long time considered Taxonomies a completed project, I am now thinking of recovering some aspects of it through new works that are direct echoes of it.

Stefano Graziani photographer

Stefano Graziani is teacher at the Iuav in Venice a the Naba in Milan and at the Frei Unuversitaet in Bozen. The Stefano Graziani’s photographs aim at leading the viewer toward reflections on the human condition, on myth, nature, and the night, on magic, lost languages, and memory. A relevant aspect of Graziani’s work is his predilection for the analog photographic technique, an aspect that underlines the role of reflection and meditation in the artist’s research. These elements can be clearly perceived in the work Taxonomies (2006), an anthology that was the culmination of ten years of research on the description and classification of elements of the environment, where reality is described according to the personal taxonomy of the artist, removing any guide from each spatial and temporal reference. His works are exhibited in Italy and abroad and are part of many private and public collections including the Maxxi in Rome, Osservatorio Fondazione Prada in Milan, CCA in Montreal, ICCD in Rome, and the Fondazione Fotografia in Modena. He lives and work in Trieste.

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