Maria Thereza Alves

Recipes for Survival
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On Remembering for a Future


On Remembering for a Future, 2022/2023.

Installation with watercolors and carpets

To give us a common place to begin as a collective, Jimmie Durham, shortly before his death, suggested that we go to the woods or even a parking lot and sit down and spend some time looking precisely around us – wherever we were. It is a comfortable circle of about a meter and a half. It is a way to introduce yourself to the place and for the place to introduce itself to you. To begin to be in the place. The exhibit On Remembering for a Future is taking this practice as a starting point as Alves' suggested in her documenta fifteen installation Direct and Circumstantial. Relevant Evidences in Naples, Butia, Kassel and Ubatuba earlier in the year.

The carpets are inspired by the Middle East and its traditionally rich floral patterns. They are usually placed in indoor or outdoor spaces to create meeting places – creating portable gardens, recalling complexities beyond the human. The flowers and plants represented are a reminder of humanity's increasing control over nature as well as colonization. The circulation of beings allows to draw up a paradoxical history of globalization, between uprooting, abandonment and resistance. These plants placed into new complexities are the traces of a vestige of our past. On Responsibilities Acquired while on a Stroll in a Garden in Europe, 2022 represents four plants (Oak, Ivy, Butia and Poke) that Alves’ found while strolling through the Capodimonte garden in Naples. Made up of local flora as well as exotics, the garden can be seen as colonial spoils of the Spanish Empire. Among the four plants which compose the carpet, the Butia Palm Tree and the Poke Plant are very personal as her father is originated from the same village named for the Butia where none now exists due to deforestation. The Poke Plant, from Cherokee territory was one of Jimmie Durham's favorite plants to eat. The second carpet On the Need of Remembering Here before the Onslaught of There Began, 2022 celebrates some flora that reminds us of the Atlantic Forest, of which about 93 percent has been destroyed since colonization. But some flora still exist, at the moment: Jequitiba, Guaparuvu, Ipe Roxo, Embauba, and the vine Ysypo marilombre from which a tea can be made for remembering.

Architectural constructions hold us to definitions of a present that as it is built, becomes a past, which defines future relationships of our bodies with other beings relegated to serving whatever is the discourse of the times. The exhibit On Remembering for a Future, 2022, addresses various aspects of the Seine's river complex history. From ancient Paleo meanderings to Baroque garden features. We are reminded that the Seine has continually redefined itself as human control over the vegetation kept on increasing.

A Study of Possible Encounters is a series of new watercolor paintings. They are based on texts of francophone writers, starting with Maguerite Porete from the medieval ages followed by Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Madam de Lafayette, and more contemporary writers such as Edouard Glissant, Marie Ndiaye, Scholastique Mukasonga and Alice Zeniter. Writers who have a relationship with France and principally Paris. Alves chose one flora that was mentioned from each of these texts that can, in the case of non-fictional or through the characters in fictional writings, arrive through possible encounters with historical realities of the city.

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