What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.
- Ecclesiastes 1:9
Even if we wander off into our individual offbeat tempos, our syncopated rhythms are consistently brought back to unison by the ultimate director of the orchestra, [...] who perhaps synchronises her whole system of biological metronomes through grand exhalations that burst out of her celestial skin into the cosmos.
- Monica Gagliano, Thus Spoke the Plant, 2018
We are pleased to present Nothing New Under the Sun, an exhibition of new tapestries by Armando D. Cosmos at 10 - 16 Grape Street.
The work from which the exhibition takes its title, Nothing New Under the Sun (2023) is a triptych of free-hanging woven cotton and wool tapestries, embroiling the scientific with the cosmic and incorporating imagery and text from biological diagrams, science textbooks and papers, literary fiction, ancient artefacts, and the natural world, rejecting the simplification or flattening of knowledge into objective truths and reductive statements. Zooming in to the cell, through to the chromosome and finally to DNA, scientific graphics are dissected, re-framed and interrupted, in a manner typical of Cosmos’ practice: both a tribute to and a pastiche of traditional modes of disseminating knowledge.
The themes of the triptych are expanded on in a new body of work exploring the mechanics of gene editing technology – a widely contested area which is nonetheless broadly visually opaque due to the complexity of its process. CAS9, an enzyme used to cut into strands of DNA and alter a cell's make-up (a process which echoes Cosmos' practice of cutting into, fragmenting and inserting new information into pre-existing forms) is pictured alongside depictions of DNA sequencing graphics. Elsewhere, these figures mutate into mythical Chimeras and coiled serpents: images made up of molecular code and imagery from illuminated manuscripts and survival video games.
Throughout Cosmos' practice, threads from myriad disciplines and perspectives are hung together in a manner more associative than informative, disturbing the categories inscribed by Enlightenment thought and teaching. Drawing on research into holistic theories and plant science, Nothing New Under the Sun maps out a vision of shared materiality, in which each iteration of life is imagined as emerging from one common reserve of constantly forming and re-forming matter, each living thing another expression of an entangled whole.