The starting point of this series of works is a wood library in Lisbon, founded at the beginning of the 20th century. These so-called xylariums were already established in Europe from the end of the 18th century for the study, documentation and classification of wood species. They can be understood in the light of the Enlightenment and taxonomy, as well as embody the importance of wood as a natural resource, whether as fuel, building material or – in the context of a colonial power like Portugal – for the construction of ships.
The two new works are based on representations of the tree species Daniellia oliveri, which originates from Guinea-Bissau. While Forest Essentials Take Two / Close-Up (Bóbe) reproduces microscopic images of the wood fibres as a wood print on paper, Forest Essentials Take Two / Long Shot (Bóbe) shows a silkscreen on beech wood combining archive photographs of dense Daniellia oliveri vegetation and an isolated tree. The tree species reflects the holdings of the Lisbon Wood Library, which were mainly expanded between the 1940s and 1960s through expeditions to Portugal’s African colonies and were accordingly used for research into exotic tree species. From the forest to the wooden board and from the fibre structure to the paper, the work counterpart accomplishes a multi-layered shift from the large to the small, from the material to the useful, from the historical archive to the contemporary print.
Forest Essentials Take Two / Close-Up (Bóbe), 2022
Wood cut on Japanese paper, 46 x 62 cm, produced by: Hugo Amorim
Forest Essentials Take Two / Long Shot (Bóbe), 2022
Silkscreen print on wood, 46 x 62 cm, produced by: Telmo Chaparra