Elizabeth Dorazio’s work method borders chaos. She appropriates randomness as an investigative principle, giving visual expression to her dynamics, continuously reconfiguring natural systems. In her art, everything refers to that which is unpredictable. She produces through extraction and deviation, through association and dislocation. Se produces images as phenomena, proposing places where nothing lasts too long.
Nature is Elizabeth Dorazio’s raw material. Raw material in a literal sense, such as in straw fibers or wood, or in a figurative sense, such as in images. According to artistic conventions, her work would be labeled as landscape, a genre in which representations of space are signs of permanence. However, this artist strays from convention. She understands landscapes as circumstantial spatiality, in which mutation is inherent to the elements that define them.
Deviating from landscapes, this artist investigates nature within a wide spectrum of manifestations, from those that are evident to the imperceptible ones, such as those observed through microscopes and through telescopes. Such manifestations are represented through images that circulate in many different ways. They are printed in books, magazines, and scientific publications; they are on the internet or even in the notebook where this artist habitually draws them without any specific purpose. Dorazio is a collector of images. She acts like an explorer who combs the universe in order to find that which is unique, not like a naturalist in search of rules.
Elizabeth Dorazio randomly chooses images, she extracts them from their original context through almost surgically precise cuts and dislocates them to supports where they are disposed into landscapes that are similar to reality, however, inexplicable. This artist operates according to her own logic, presupposing that which is multiple and multidimensional, which allows her to reconcile irreconcilable elements in the same composition, such as the structure of a microorganism or the pattern of a constellation. One work by Elizabeth Dorazio may condensate images from human organs, unicellular bodies, ecosystems, galaxies, or even fossils, vestiges of life forms that replicate in DNA chains.
This artist’s logic is similar to the logic of Wonderland, or, better putting it, to the logic coexisting in Lewis Carrol’s fiction. Alice behaves in Wonderland just like she does in the Victorian era, considering as absurdity anything that she cannot comprehend. Her story is a succession of errors and misunderstandings that could have been avoided if, instead of one sole logic, she used the logic of the Queen of Hearts, of the Mad Hatter, and of the White Rabbit, adapting to specific situations. Alice’s story acquires speculative outlines in Ludwig Wittgenstein’s philosophy, for whom the meaning of things, words, rules, and practices is not fixed by a sole logic, but determined by contextual usage through games of language.
To appropriate randomness as investigative principle implies adopting logic that is applicable to different contexts. It implies playing, not with language, but with images. Elizabeth Dorazio is the anti-Alice in Wonderland, which she conceives in different games of image.
I went on a trip (2020-1), the series that gives this exhibition its name, is a crackdown on the admirable place where chance, unpredictability, and randomness reign. In the works in the series, the image of the artist emerges among giant flowers and foliage, recording her fantasy encounter with megaflora that have been extinct for millions of years. Visitors to the exhibition experience similar encounters facing the fragmented vegetation of the On nature (2019-21) collages. However, this artist offers other wonders, such as touching stray stars in the Daedalus (2016) labyrinth or exploring the depths of the ocean in the works in her Mundi maritimi (2007-10) series, intimately related to those in the Organismus Polymorphos (2010-4) series.
Greek and Latin titles are constant in games of image between art and science. In them, Elizabeth Dorazio invites players to review their logic. After all, as chaos is inherent to nature, it can manifest at any given time. With unstable, superimposed shapes of Aequilibrium Cosmicum (2010-4), Dorazio puts science in check. However, her checkmate is philosophical. As Heraclitus reminds us, we never swim twice in the same river, everything flows, Panta Rhei (2010-4).
In this exhibition, works from many different series created by Elizabeth Dorazio are displayed as images on playing cards, inverted and mirrored with (some) symmetry, just like in Wonderland. Everything is play. That which is unexpected is the first rule, the only one that is valid from beginning to end.