Fading Loss – Tales from the forest

Installation by artist Laura Pugno: may 15 – october 31 2021

“Fondazione Zegna’s mission has always been to express the values of founder, Ermenegildo Zegna. Casa Zegna promotes cultural and artistic projects in a space housing the Group’s historic archives, along with a multi-purpose centre. This year, the season opens with the premiere of a work by Laura Pugno, marking the Spring Days event with the FAI (Italian Environment Fund). The artist has always been interested in how we visually perceive the landscape around us. Laura Pugno.

Her multi-installation at Casa Zegna explores the wide array of relationships existing between man and nature. These works emerge through the observation of a suffering pine forest and the traces left on it by European spruce bark beetles (Ips typographus) — small signs pointing to macroscopic, inexorable changes in the order of the natural world.

Nature is subjected to the actions of mankind, and our relationship with the landscape is one of mutual care. Like all living things, forests can become sick. A rise in temperature of only two degrees makes places like the Oasi Zegna — a mountain surrounding Trivero Valdilana — vulnerable and subject to attacks by insects, who were previously present without being a threat.

Pugno uses photography, video, sculpture and design to explore the primary themes of her artwork: the landscape and how we perceive it.

On this occasion, a story is told from the point of view of Oasi Zegna’s forest through material and media. Referencing the fact that spruce trees are used to make fine violins, has created a unique in collaboration with sound artist Magda Drozd.This includes the sound of graphite retracing the wounds inflicted on tree trunks by the European spruce bark beetle. She uses charcoal obtained from the burning of tree branches to draw a series of forest landscapes featuring key components, such as scientific tables on temperature and CO2 or the vulnerability and damage caused to European forests by climate change, among others. In the dark room, she becomes the lens through which the spruce depicts itself as a self-sustaining ecosystem. Finally, she uses material to construct a wood-and-fern structure in the centre of the exhibition space, which serves as a monument to a disappearing landscape that will soon be substituted by another, which, in turn, will bear new visions, emotions, desires and memories.

This installation is not limited to the museum space, but extends into Oasi Zegna, an ideal location to explore environmental and conservation issues.

“The lesson in humility we have learned over a hundred years while managing our mountain is that without respect for nature, man’s own survival is at risk. By taking care of the Zegna Forest, we are taking care of the planet, as well as our own humanity,” states Anna Zegna, Fondazione Zegna’s President. “Today, we are used to thinking about short-term returns on investments, but this doesn’t work for forests. We need to learn how to respect nature’s timeline. The results of our actions today will impact the quality of life of our children and our children’s children.”


Laura Pugno

Laura Pugno was born in 1975 in the Italian town of Trivero in the region of Piedmont. She currently lives and works in Turin. She is the winner of the 9th edition of the Italian Council sponsored by MIBACT (The Italian Ministry of Culture). In 2018, she won the Q-International Spring prize, organised by the Rome Quadrennial, in conjunction with FORUM STADTPARK, Graz, Austria.

Recent personal exhibitions include: Spazio Instabile (Unstable space), Colle Val d’Elsa, Siena (2019), Alberto Peola Gallery, Turin (2019); KIOSK, Nida. Lithuania (2019), Biennale del Disegno di Rimini (2016); Museo del Territorio Biellese (2015); MART, Rovereto (2014); Galleria Alberto Peola, Turin (2014); MAN, Nuoro (2013); Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo; Turin (2012). In 2016, she conducted a workshop at Fondazione Zegna. She is the co-founder of Progetto Diogene and has taught at Turin’s Istituto Europeo di Design since 2004.