2020 -2023

installation view, Maxxi Museum, 2022

Blue Diamond was born from the Green Diamond project, created between 2018 and 2020 in
Beijing, and continues narrating the story of Chinese acrobat Gao Yue’s story.

Initially employed at the Green Diamond company in Beijing to conduct experiments with sensory receptors implanted in her body, Gao Yue disappearred and was recruited by a scientific research centre that studies the relationship between humans and cetaceans. Here she was hired for her ability to adapt her body and her experience in the field of ultrasound.

Rachele Maistrello pieces together Gao Yue’s story through her diary and a series of papers, documents, photographs and notes that the acrobat collected between 2000 and 2006 and sent to her loved one, the worker Li Jian Ping. From these materials and the video we learn about her relationship with a dolphin, the physical and mental limits of neurological experiments in the marine field and the deep desire for communication between humans and aquatic specie made possible by the translation of sound frequencies.
In carrying out the research for Blue Diamond, the artist collaborated with the Jonian Dolphin Conservation, an international centre dedicated to marine biology. Here Maistrello has drawn on an archive of accredited sources and has collected sound recordings of marine ultrasounds, underwater audiovisual recordings, photographs and scientific documents and built an imaginative story founded on real bases.
In Blue Diamond, therefore, images and documents from historical and scientific sources,
aimed at proving the reliability of Gao Yue’s diary, coexist with narrative coefficients aimed a connecting fragments of different scientific discoveries.
All these elements work together in revealing the intense desire to overcome sensory as well as conceptual limits, that the artist expresses through her experimentation with the photographic language, stretched between the vocation to document and the ability to build imagery.

Blue Diamond #1, #2, c-print on Canson satin paper, 2022

Insallation view, MAXXI Museum, 2021

Blue Diamond #3, #4, c-print on Canson satin paper, 2022

Increasingly immersed in a state of hyper-productivity,
the acceptance of our deep biological component has become increasingly intolerable. In Blue Diamond Rachele Maistrello investigates these basic needs, giving space to an "emptiness" that addresses a deep and silent space of our being. Blue Diamond is a science fiction tale that uses scientific and authorial sources to produce a poetic and rhizomatic narrative.

Gao Yue’s archive, silver-gelatin prints, Date unknown - 2022

First employed as a tester of experimental sensors at the Green Diamond factory in Beijing at the end of the 1990s, Gao Yue got employed as a neuroscientist-researcher at Blue Diamond company on 1999.

Through the research she conducts on the abyss and on her own body during apnea, Gao Yue investigates the limits and complexity of her deepest inner self.

Breathlessness, bodily modification and contact with the marine world lead her to discover a revelatory "emptiness," close to meditation and perceptions experienced in the maternal womb.Despite growing technology, humans are still part of a natural world, whose backdrop remains obscure. Blue Diamond is an attempt to give space to this "deep unknown" made up of frequencies, hidden perceptions and abstract images that are part of our existence, through a work about the ocean outside and inside us.

In the main photo series, images obtained from scientific research are printed on cutouts created especially for the shot. The analog photographs thus bear a double matrix within them.
Silver gelatin prints are contact prints, made in a darkroom by combining scientific images printed on acetate and impressed at the printing stage. At the printing stage, graphite drawings and lettering are new marks impressed by the light of the enlarger.

/ Rachele Maistrello