Botanical Cosmology 2019-2023


Maria Gracia Donoso’s practice arises from an intersection of individual and collective group awareness. Her process, consequently, is marked by an insatiable search for information, using different mediums to investigate the phenomena of perception to address the idea of our vulnerability both individual and collectively. This translates into an interdisciplinary practice, where the dislocation of media, objects or forms translates into abstractions to talk about the boundaries of visual and emotional perception.

Two years ago, while traveling to one of the most remote parts of the Chilean Patagonia, Donoso arrived to Tierra de Fuego, an archipelago of hundreds of nameless islands, which was once known as The End of The World. Donoso’s trip brought her to one of these empty islands, a piece of land where no vegetation, animals or signs of life could be found. Orbiting this floating rock she found thousands of forest debris suspended in the ocean water, attracted to the shore of the island like the particles of Saturn’s rings.

These pieces presented to her the vestige of other worlds, our world, a world full of life, particles of nature carrying a story, a journey worth being told. Looking at the hypnotic dance of this driftwood moved by the gentle lull of the water, Donoso was compelled by the complexity of its hazardous puzzling, like a novel weaving the memories of thousands of characters presented to us with a past to guess, a present to watch and a future to wish.

Donoso treated these pieces like the Ask & Embla of Northern European mythology, who were created from two pieces of driftwood to be the first humans on earth. Giving each piece a unique and careful treatment, Donoso applied different patinas for preservation and at times sculpted them for presentation.
The installation presents 220 of these sculptures as a map of the treasure of life, relics from cycles threatened by the human presence. Along with this map, a series of visual stanzas connect us with undefined places. This collection of visual haikus is composed by photographs of trees, and a video of birds flying with the cosmic soundtrack of the planets of our solar system in motion, echoing like a cacophony of hundreds of wings flapping.

The dialogue presented by these images, sounds and sculptures evokes Donoso’s sense of wonder to explore the transcendence of individual reality and the heightened awareness of our surrounding nature, to posit a fundamental conflict between human connectivity with the environment and the cycle of life. An homage to our planet composed by a collection of its unique fossils, the flights of its guardians, the sounds of its pulse, and the traces of its legacy.



Burning Mountains
11cm x 8.5cm

11cm x 8.5cm

Variable Format Photography


Fragments of the Four Elements
Wood Sculpture Installation
Variable dimensions


November 9 2019


Botanical Cosmology