The word Mediterranean translates literally as “in the middle of the earth”. The Mediterranean Sea had been a cradle of great empires and rich cultures a source of myths, legends, art and discoveries for more than three millennia — and to this day it continues to shape relationships between people.
It is an entity that has a life of its own — it breathes, changes its shape, changes its state – from utter serenity to ardent storms. It is a microcosm full of mysteries, incredible creatures and fascinating processes.
Over many centuries we have ravenously consumed and exploited the resources of the sea through overfishing, plastic pollution, concreting of the coast and other man-made processes. This is now a planetary-scale threat.
The Mediterranean represents only 1.5% of the earth’s surface, but it encompasses almost all the potentially catastrophic issues the planet is facing. The exhibition “Mare Nostrum: fragili vita” and the Maritima project shed light on the activity of contemporary artists and scientists who study current problems, research newly discovered species and the threats they are facing, and try to find solutions. We want to draw public attention to the environmental problems of the Mediterranean region and to the importance of investigating mysteries of the sea.
“Two billion years ago, cyanobacteria oxygenated the atmosphere and powerfully disrupted life on Earth,” says former New York Times reporter Andrew Revkin. “But they didn’t know it. We are the first species that has become a planet-scale influence and is aware of that reality. That’s what distinguishes us.”
Nobilis Golden Moon
Mariagrazia Pontorno ⋅ Rome
Italian artist, whose works have been shown in several museums, including MAXXI, MACRO, The Biedermann Museum, The Stadtgalerie, MLAC, Museo di Castel S.Elmo, Art Center di Thessaloniki, Museo RISO, as well as in galleries and non-profit venues such as Monitor, Lithium Project, Murat 122i, ISCP in New York, HSF in New York, Fondazione Noesi Studio Carrieri in Martina Franca, Passaggi Arte Contemporanea in Pisa, and Casa Musumeci Greco in Rome.
The work Nobilis Golden Moon underlines the desacralization of Mediterraneum through a process of extinction of one of its symbols and its sentinels, Pinna Nobilis. It is a large mussel which exceeds the height of a meter.
The video is a personal and partially autobiographical reportage but with dreamlike hues lost in childhood and dreams, the main theme of which is the Moon. The Moon plays an important role in the vital rhythms of Pinna Nobilis, and in a different way its sensitivity to the satellite has been noticed both by scientists and by the“masters of byssus”, people working with byssus, a golden yarn with a thousand-year tradition produced by the mollusc gland. This work is evolving with artist’s experiences in relation to Maritima01 residence program, the meetings with scientist, the visit to Imedmar, my trips to Valencia and Sardinia.
Nobilis Golden Moon contains many ideas and reflections about the relation between scientific and traditional (sometimes magic) thought Mariagrazia was carrying on in the last years. This work is a game with many layers that together are going to compose a personal and collective narration. An Ode to the Mediterranean in the Moonlight.