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Busan Biennale, We on the Rising Wave

Biennial with with a new commission by Pia Rönicke
Busan Biennale, Busan
September 3 - November 6, 2022

In Future Horizon, Pia Rönicke uses the vestiges of plants and trees to examine how they were treated or influenced by people, as well as how they responded to those interactions.

Here, Rönicke reveals the story of indigo plants Polygonum tinctorium Aiton, with images and data that she collected from the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF). Ranging from plant samples collected in the eighteenth and nineteenth century to geotagged photos taken by today’s amateur naturalists, the vast archive of the GBIF documents both the botanical collections of the colonial era and the vanishing biodiversity of our world today. Rönicke became interested in the relationship between images of indigo plants that she collected from the
archive and actual materials made from the plants themselves. In collaboration with the Busan Biennale’s research team she gained knowledge for making and using dye made from locally grown indigo plants. The delicate dyeing process, which involves repeatedly soaking and removing the paper or fabric, is revealed by the layered shades of indigo. Then, images of indigo plants from the GBIF archive were printed on the dyed paper with gravure printing. As such, each individual print is an aesthetic record of the unique climate and soil conditions of the area where its respective plants were collected. Significantly, as the labels of the prints reveal, each of those areas is a zone of historical conflict with its own story: “Tonkin/Vietnam 1945”; “Kangwon/North Korea 1969”; “Nagasaki/Japan 1863”; and “Hopei/China 1948.”

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