Pivô is pleased to present Universal History of the Earthquakes, the first institutional solo show in Brazil by the artist Leticia Ramos.
The initial research for Universal History of the Earthquakes was supported by Botin Foundation’s Arts Grant, and its first outcome was presented in their venue in Santander, Spain. The exhibition’s departure point is an earthquake – followed by a tsunami and a fire-, that devastated Lisbon in 1775, leaving important marks in that nation’s imaginary and, consequently, in its relationship to colonial Brazil. Ramos draws from this historical event to produce a fictional sequence where each of the images is, in turn, an experiment.
The artist has cultivated a specific interest in the procedures and the evolution of techniques of analogical photography since the beginning of her career, thus creating all kinds of contraptions and machines that will help her carry out the project she is working on, from pinhole cameras, to microfilming devices and x-rays. These prototypical devices and made-up methods, are the essential link between her photographic practice and the social history of the images she chooses to investigate.
For Universal History of the Earthquakes, in addition to the stroboscopic lightning on microfilm that she developed for the Botín works – and that will be on view in Brazil for the first time – , she presents a simulation of a seismograph with an adapted 16mm projector, that registers the vibrations of the Copan building through scratching the rotating film. The artist will also present a new film where she test-out an experiment described by Immanuel Kant in an essay that aimed to investigate the natural processes that triggered Lisbon’s catastrophe.
In this exhibition, Ramos interweaves the natural with the mystical, taking photography as the baseline for a “fictional inquiry”, in order to investigate the impacts a geological phenomenon might have in our belief systems and the way our society in structured – both physically and conceptually.