Blackboards as Canvases: Jessica Wynne and Carlo Rovelli
On the occasion of the creation of the photo of his blackboard, commissioned by the Fondation Cartier pour l'art contemporain for Mondo Reale, an exhibition presented as part of the 23rd International Exhibition Unknown Unknowns. An introduction to Mysteries, American photographer Jessica Wynne interviews physicist Carlo Rovelli.
Food for thought on knowledge and its erasure, the photographs by Jessica Wynne capture the world of scientists by entering in a dialogue with one of their main tools, the chalkboard. While other fields have replaced chalkboards with whiteboards and digital presentations, mathematicians and physicists remain loyal to chalk for puzzling out their ideas and communicating their research.
Jessica Wynne, Do Not Erase,Mondo Reale (15/07/2022 – 11/12/2022), ph. Andrea Rossetti
Among the scientists whose chalkboard is featured in Wynne’s photographs in Mondo Reale we find Carlo Rovelli, Misha Gromov, Alain Connes, Linda Keen, and Agustin Moreno. Entering in a dialogue with these scientists, Wynne not only provides an illuminating meditation on the unique relationships among mathematics, art, and creativity; but also comments on the common interest of these two disciplines in making and unmaking realities through research. These photographs are a testament to the ways scientists use their chalkboards and reveal the conceptual and visual beauty of their discipline, reflecting on the mysterious ways of the human mind and its formal expressions. The photographer brings to our attention the creativity embedded in scientific thinking as well as the importance of not erasing these mysterious compositions and capturing the complex beauty they witness.
I don't know when the blackboard was invented, but it was probably one of the best inventions of a human.
Born in 1972 in Connecticut, photographer Jessica Wynne lives and works in New York, USA. She completed an MFA from Yale University in 1999 and a BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute in 1994. Currently a professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology, Wynne’s first monograph Do Not Erase was published by Princeton University Press in June 2021. Her work is in the permanent collections of The Morgan Library & Museum and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Wynne’s photographs have been exhibited in many important institutions such as The Morgan Library & Museum, The Whitney Museum of American Art at Champion, The Museum of Contemporary Art, Cleveland. She is a MacDowell Fellow and her work has been featured in The New York Times, Fortune Magazine, The New Yorker, National Geographic, Scientific American among many others.
Carlo Rovelli’s biography:
Carlo Rovelli is a theoretical physicist known for his work in quantum gravity, on the nature of space and time, and on the interpretation of quantum theory. He has also worked on the history and philosophy of science. Born in Italy, Rovelli has worked in the United States, France and Canada. He is member of the Institut Universitaire de France, honorary professor of the Beijing Normal University, Honoris Causa Laureate of the Universidad de San Martin, Buenos Aires, member of the Académie Internationale de Philosophie des Sciences. He is currently affiliated to the University of Aix-Marseille in France, and the Western Ontario University and the Perimeter Institute in Canada. Rovelli has been awarded the 1996 Xanthopoulos Award for “the best relativist under forty”. During the last decade, he has written global best sellers, translated in more than fifty languages. Among these, Seven Brief Lessons on Physics, The Order of Time, and the recent Helgoland, on quantum theory. He has been included by the Foreign Policy magazine in the list of the 100 most influential global thinkers.
Mondo Reale is presented by The Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, as part of the 23rd International Exhibition Unknown Unknowns. An introduction to Mysteries. Designed by Italian designers Formafantasma, the exhibition Mondo Reale presents works by seventeen international contemporary artists.