Taxonomies / Stefano Graziani


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 ensuring Swedish autonomy by cultivatin­g economical­ly strategic plants such as spices and coconut – the project failed due to the Scandinavi­an climate, but generated insightful studies on the planet’s flora. I saw the greenhouse­s I encountere­d as utopic successes in his effort to acclimatiz­e non-local plants. 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 I considered Taxonomies a completed project; I am now thinking of recovering some aspects of it through new works that are direct echoes of it

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