Ipomoea Purpurea

Acrylic painting on wall with variable dimensions, 2018
Video, 8.47’, Porto, 2018
Painted brick and digital print on fabric, 2018



Ipomoea Purpurea, also known as ipomoea acuminata or, more commonly, as Morning Glory, is a botanical species of the convolvulaceae family, originary form central and south America and well adapted to tropical, sub-tropical and cold regions all over the world. It was intentionally introduced in the Iberian Peninsula as an ornamental plant, due to its purple and white flowers and its effective canopy as a bindweed. However, the ipomoea purpurea, when left to be, grows so swiftly that frequently turns itself into a powerful invader, climbing over all its surroundings. This dexterity gave it the reputation of being a hostile herb, thus being considered an invasive species in several European countries. Its tremendous capacity to climb and cover wide areas with its dense foliage causes a great impact over many habitats, competing with the autochthonous vegetation, and sometimes suppressing it all together. Furthermore, it often competes against the good maintenance of urban landscapes, advancing relentlessly over its less watched architectural structures.

Ipomoea purpurea enjoys water lines in mild climates, such as the city of Porto, where it extends itself over empty lots and old urban areas along the riverside. While covering these empty dwellings, the ipomoea purpurea designs new verdant architectures that in springtime become filled with purple flowers, turning these ruins into an authentic wild garden. An organic repossession of what is left behind.





On its first presentation, this installation consisted of a modular mural, a video projection and a small sculptural piece that explores the mantle-like effect of this plant. The video showcases different moving-photographs of these abandoned riverine areas in Porto, where stray nature and trivial graffities thrive. These areas, mostly extremely modest, have also been a target of real estate interests tied to tourism, due to its privileged location facing the river. The modular pattern painting on the wall occupies the space metrically, repeating a simplified foliage design inspired by elements of classic decorative architecture that mimic vegetation. This pattern progressively scales over the walls, covering them section by section, in the same advance-setback relation that intertwines man and nature. It thus traces a fragmented tapestry that depicts the successive — and mutual — territorial occupation of every square meter of Earth.







from the series:
Every Square Meter Of The Earth

This world is getting smaller by the day. Our domestication of the planet, or rather the frantic conquest of every last bit of land, has squeezed out most of what could be named ‘wild’. And through this shrinking of habitat, accompanied by our ever more urban lives, we seem to have entered a state where the natural world is no longer familiar to us. No longer something we understand for what it thrives to be. We rather see it as something that feeds our consumption desires or something that we must desperately try to preserve as it is. These two reactions are completely comprehensible. The first as it creates better conditions for our species, the second, in reaction, for trying to avoid the absolute destruction of the earth’s ecosystem. But both perpetuate a very specific image of nature. An objectified nature, disconnected from our existence, and a ‘pure nature’, untouched, which at some point was perfect, and that we humans endangered. An image of nature that presents the possibility of modern day Edens, and the subsequent thrill of being able to preserve the last known paradises, while consuming others. But is our idea of nature truly capable of ignoring itself?
This exhibition explores our notion of nature along with the clash of the human world and the natural world, dealing with concepts such as natural and anti-natural, purity and reality, winners and losers, the condition of wilderness, depletion and abandonment, misplaced life, the systematic conquest of territories and the process of layering the new on top of the old.


May 2018, Every Square Meter Of The Earth, Galeria do Sol, Porto.