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performance, 2023 

“Laura Pugno’s most recent research on air, entitled Mal d’Aria (2023). With an expression that almost seems to refer to a feeling of nostalgia or a sort of malaise caused by the lack of a lost “air”, the substance is here understood both in its metaphysical meaning as the root of life and in the physical composition according to whose quality the ecosystem is modified. Through a direct dialogue with professors and researchers, and a study that embraces multiple perspectives (environmental, architectural, medical and social), Pugno reflects on air as an emblem of the sustainability of global development and, more specifically, focuses on the damage caused by pollution, particularly in the Po Valley, and possible solutions provided by technologies.” read more︎︎

Text by Giulia Bortoluzzi testo in italiano︎︎  more info Ca’Foscari︎︎


photo, anti- pollution face cream and spray pigment 50x35 cm

The fungi kingdom is known for having the ability to absorb impurities in the air. Since pollution in cities is now a constant factor, I commissioned a cosmetologist chemist, Cristina Portinaro, to create an anti-pollution cream based on fungi, especially Tremella fuciformis.*
Thanks to this product I realized Sintomo (Symptom), a photographic series of panoramic views partly protected by a layer of cream, partly concealed by dark acrylic powders precisely where the protective cream layer is absent.
The work presents us with a society that creates stop-gap measures to mitigate the sense of responsibility for the climate crisis that we are living through.
Instead of more radical structural changes, an anti-pollution cream is an evident symptom of this lethal approach.

*Extract of Tremella fuciformis is counted among the edible mushrooms, widely cultivated and valued in traditional Chinese medicine.
Polysaccharides present in the fruiting body have been shown to exhibit antioxidant and anti-ageing activity, increasing resistance to oxidative stress.
Tremella fuciformis extract has a similar or even better effect than hyaluronic acid when used in dermo-cosmetic formulations.
Morfologie celesti 
mycelium, epoxy resin, plexiglas 70x 50cm 

When we walk through woods, mycelium - an interwoven network of thread-like filaments - may well extend for many kilometres below the soil, making its appearance known via its fructiferous bodies, or what we commonly call mushrooms.
The properties of mycelium’s reticular structure are well known to scientists and designers who for years have been making mycelium-based - as opposed to plastic - products, especially in the industries of packaging and building with bricks and insulated panels.
Morfologie celesti (Celestial Morphologies) is a diptych of starry skies made from mycelium’s star structures, expressly produced in the DBios* laboratories at the University of Turin.
Humans has always contemplated the sky and the stars, measuring himself against the infinitely immense, not only for needs of introspection but also to dream of better futures.
A reduced use of plastic is undoubtedly one among the many challenges that we must urgently tackle today and mycelium seems to provide us with a possible solution. In this case, we may dream of faraway horizons in order to resolve problems with a material that is much closer to us.

*Department of Life Sciences and Systems Biology

Forme nel tempo

ice, watercolour on paper  50x70 cm 
Forme nel tempo (Forms in Time) is an attempt to paint a small block of ice resting on the same sheet of drawing paper on which the portrait is made.
If, in the work L'attesa (Waiting), the viewer watches helplessly as the ice melts, he can observe the repeated attempts to capture its beauty in a portrait that settles in layers that capture the phenomenon's evolution.
The watercolour uses only the melting water from the block of ice, resulting in contamination of pigment and water subtraction.
Two traces remain on the paper, the first a residual sign of the ice, of its past existence, the second a vain attempt to stop time passing.

Photo credits: Nico Covre

Tra le pieghe dell’acqua 

In work "Tra le pieghe dell'acqua" ( Between the folds of the water) the protagonist is a stream experienced as a space for reflection and cradle of past rituals. Inspired by memory and the influence of history, I immediately tried to listen to this water, with its flowing, calming and everlasting object of falling in love. The first action took place by creating wax sculptures. They were made by placing and lighting candles in the stream, and waiting for them to transform. Quietly, the wax, in contact with the water, was modelled and allowed to be modelled by the small currents intertwining with each other, thus fixing a new shape, until the flame stopped burning and reached the water.
How do we seek the Sacred today? What relationship do we have with the water that crosses our lands and becomes a faithful companion, mirror or ally of our flowing?
Project realised with Lunigiana Land Art curated by Spazi fotografici and Matèria Gallery

Copyright © 2023 - Laura Pugno