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Nuria Rodríguez



Why collecting all mountains, all islands, all stones, all plants, all words, all things, over and over again?
Sistema Humboldt. Pensar/Pintar (Humboldt Current. Think/Paint) is an exhibition proposal developed by Nuria Rodríguez (València, 1965) that uses artistic practice (paintings, drawings, installations and videos) to highlight some of the mechanisms invented to try to compile Toda la memoria del mundo (All the world memory) in an atlas of the impossible.
Encyclopaedic knowledge, an inescapable feature of the Enlightenment project, moved towards modernity as an energetic combustion engine, setting fire to the artistic avant-garde of the 20th century. This approach was developed by Jean Clair for the exhibition Cosmos. Del romanticismo a la vanguardia, 1801-2001 (Cosmos. From Romanticism to the Vanguard, 1801-2001), recovers the figure of Alexander von Humboldt as the last person who set out to compile all scientific knowledge from a viewpoint that intertwined science and art. Geographer, cartographer, geologist, volcanologist, sociologist and botanist. He initiated the first steps of what we know today as climatology, statics and political economy. Considerations and concerns on climate change and biodiversity have been also attributed to him recently.
The infinite collection of Nuria Rodríguez takes new shapes for the Acadèmia Exhibition Room. Her personal stock, that registers natural history findings born in the ars combinatoria between found and lost, uses the story of Alexander von Humboldt's journey by foot around the Mediterranean to expand the collection of scientific prints of his natural history. In early 1799, when Humboldt was twenty-nine years old, he initiated a plan to experience first-hand the unusual places that his childhood images had constructed as his destiny. Freed from economic and family burdens, he travelled by foot across the Mediterranean filled with dreams and loaded with his vast collection of scientific instruments. His desire was to use them as a presentation card to the scientific society of the time and to the Spanish Court. Thus obtaining the passport that would allow him to travel with total freedom through unknown territories.
© Nuria Rodríguez
Under this principle, the artist Nuria Rodríguez proposes a three-way dialogue. On the one hand, she has studied in depth the heritage collections of the Universitat de València to show the wanderings of the artist, the questions and the learning of that “going from here to there” spirit, thus trying to build a universe of her own. On the other hand, to point out the German scientist as an interlocutor of expeditions because, among other more remarkable facts, he was in València from the 5th to the 8th of February 1799, where he spent the night very close to the Nau and wrote down his barometric measurements from the cathedral of València and the Santa Tecla convent. He was also in the Roman Theatre of Sagunt, in the Grau of the city of València, and he walked through some of the adjacent streets of our institution. For this reason, on entering the Academia Exhibition Room, the project begins with the glossary of the 48 pairs of concepts that emerge from the intuitive or Borgian association. These concepts articulate the entire exhibition as an index (chance) and, in turn, is contrasted with the words of the algorithm (the inevitable), which offers us the resulting cold aura by showing the hierarchy of the most used words in volumes 1st and 2nd of Cosmos and the bigrams —groups of two words that precede or precede these concepts— that are most common in the book.
© Nuria Rodríguez
Nuria Rodríguezis an artist and lecturer at the Universitat Politècnica de València. Her individual exhibitions —Cronologías del azar (Chronologies of the fate) (2017), Historia Natural, la colección infinita (Natural History, the infinite collection) (2016), Historia Natural [tomo XXIII] (Natural History [23rd Volume]) (2015), El desorden de las cosas. [Pensar, mirar, pintar] (Chaos of things [Think, see, paint]) (2014), Álbum, Atlas, cuadernos de notas (Album, Atlas, notebooks) (2010)— are projects in which she has questioned the tales and fictions that are constructed by the taxonomies.
A / 2018 - 1 © Nuria Rodríguez