Project Detail: De l’île de Lesbos


2020 Nera di Verzasca Prize - Verzasca Foto Awards


Verzasca Foto


Graziella Antonini


Project Info

De l’île de Lesbos

In Lesbos I collected plants and objects that I photographed. I try to identify the plants, give them a name, find their family. The subjective evocation of events, of places and people. How the signs represent what is not present.

In 2017 and 2018, I was invited to participate in an artistic research program on Europe.
A two-time stay in Greece, on the border of Europe: Lesbos and Athens.
A reflection on the issue of territory.
The images presented are an extract from the work carried out during the stay in Lesbos in December 2017

Theophrastus born in Lesbos, student of Aristotle is the author of the oldest botanical treatise.
He's kind of a guide for me on this trip.
The other guide is Mustapha, who buries the dead among olive trees, according to the Muslim rite.
Some have names, others have no identity.

Botanists identify plants, find their families, give them a name, group them.
I think of that when I think of this trip to Lesbos.
I think of these nameless people when I try to find that of a dry thistle, when I find myself in the middle of a field of thorny plants of which I do not know the species, of which I cannot differentiate the genera.
Plants that sting, that hurt the hand that wants to pick them.

Near the entrance gate of the olive grove of the Muslim cemetery I picked two dry flowers of Onopordum and took a stone.
I couldn't leave without taking something with me from this place.

For some years I have been collecting, plants, seeds, small objects that are the memory of my experiences, of my travels.
The French word I use to describe them is “ressouvenance” - remembrance.
This word also refers to a small piece of paper that was hung on the sleeve of one’s clothing so that his sight reminds of something that one fears to forget.
Photography has always been a matter of memory for me.
The memory of personal or non-personal events.
To keep trace.