The Pages of Day and Night (Newspapers), 2015
Exhibition view, Pia Rönicke: The Pages of Day and Night, gb agency, Paris, 2015-2016
Paper and plant
The project The Pages of Day and Night took its point of departure from the Danish herbarium, located in Copenhagen. Rönicke has been researching Danish expeditions that travelled to different parts of the world, to gather information and material in various fields. One of them was The Danish Arabia Expedition (1761-1767). The expeditions botanist was Peter Forsskål a student of Linnaeus. He managed to collect a larger batch of plant specimens which is now in the Botanical Museum in Copenhagen. In this work Rönicke is doing
a specimen search between the Forsskål’s collection and the selection of plant species that was shipped from the gene bank in Syria, Aleppo to the Global Seed Vault in Svalbard after the war broke out. From this search Rönicke found a large selection of plant sheets collected in the Middle Eastern region in the period 1760’s -2000’s. The sheets hold various information, from notes on the location, area, and conditions. This documentation is translated through the graphic printing method photogravures, taking the image back to the method of pressing and imprinting. Rönicke has also made a textual filmic map from the Meta data that followed the seeds from Aleppo to Svalbard. Based on the site of collecting, date, longitude / latitude and elevation. A net of roads are drawn up without the imagery of these sites.
This plant collection shows traces of geo political conditions not only within the practices of systematizing and collecting but also of a notion of territory (the very real and violent ones) based on sifting national borderlines. This collection is also creating its own map of new territories. Plants are migrating across national borders and are slowly moving the natural habitat. In the words of the artist, “I am interested in how it is visually possible to detect a dissolution of a system through transformation and displacement of the material”.