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Indexing Water, 2017

Córdoba, Argentina, 1974

Indexing Water, 2017
Dimensions variable
Adquired 2018

Irene Kopelman’s work is grounded in the keen observation of the environment and the documenting of it through extensive series of drawings, in an attempt to decipher the way knowledge is produced and shared. In doing so, she also reflects upon the way scientist and naturalists have eschewed the empirical for a more rational and structured manner of understanding nature, and elaborated all kinds of systems of classification, something which may explain how art and science have parted ways when they once seemed to be much closer.

For this project, she has engaged in an extensive dialogue with an oceanographer, leading her to produce a set of evidences that document various systems of recording the color and degree of transparency of bodies of water around the world since the late nineteeth Century. Her research initiated with color dictionaries established both in the fields of natural studies and art history in the course of the nineteenth Century. They were developed so as to establish a common vocabulary to describe the colors of fauna and flora around the world and therefore allow scientists and naturalists to share information regardless of location.

Each component of her installation refers to specific nomenclature and scales used to describe water: a set of stones of different colors arranged according to the different hues – Referring to Lorenz von Liburnau’s 'mineral' sea color scale (1898); a set of celluloid film rectangles depicting the colors of the Forel-Ule scale - the first to document the color of water according to chemical composition in the late 1980’s; a very short and two long glass tubes referring to shortest and longest visibility record under water recorded with a Secchi disk – a method invented in 1895 by Brother Angelo Secchi to measure the degree of transparency of a body of water; Gouaches of phytoplankton, which affect in real time the color of water; a photograph of the water in the famed Blue Grotto in Capri. Together, all these elements create a complex system of representation, which also calls for a reflection on how this shapes perception and understanding.


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The artist

Irene Kopelman

Córdoba, Argentina, 1974

Centro Botín

Albareda Dock no/d,

Peredas gardens

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