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October 7, 2023 - January 7, 2024
Frye Art Museum - Seattle, USA

Clarissa Tossin works across artistic mediums, including film, sculpture, and drawing, to explore the intersections of climate change and global capitalism’s frontier mythologies. Born in Porto Alegre, Brazil, and now based in Los Angeles, Tossin bridges Latin American and United States histories of economic and cultural exchange to interrogate persistent legacies of colonialism. The artist repurposes consumerist detritus—specifically Amazon delivery boxes—in her material investigations of the Amazon rainforest’s exploitation. In recent works, she envisions how the same ecologically disastrous cycles of human consumption on Earth will manifest in twenty-first-century space exploration. Spanning more than a decade of the artist’s career, this first museum solo presentation of Tossin’s work on the West Coast features several new commissions created for the exhibition. 

The exhibition borrows its title from science-fiction writer Octavia Butler’s Earthseed novels, in which humans seek to survive amid ecological and cultural apocalypse.  A seamless melding of synthetic and organic materials prevails throughout the exhibition. Across their wide-ranging forms, these works embody the tension between capitalist-driven environmental destruction and reciprocal caretaking approaches of Indigenous communities.   


Tossin’s new works explore mapping and naming as colonial technologies of discovery and conquest on Earth and beyond. In Maritime Arrivals (2023), Tossin uses the visual language of fifteenth-century nautical maps to draw sites from the moon on recycled Amazon delivery envelopes. She interlaces strips of Amazon delivery boxes with NASA satellite images of the Carina Nebula in Future Geography: Cosmic Cliffs (2023), using techniques inspired by Amazonian basket-making traditions. And with her monumental film Mojo’q che b’ixan ri ixkanulab’ / Antes de que los volcanes canten / Before the Volcanoes Sing (2022), the artist examines Maya wind instruments’ ability to give voice to Indigenous systems of knowledge and reanimate both colonial and cosmological spaces. Throughout the works on view, Tossin troubles capitalism’s unwavering faith in progress and instead seeks networks of interconnectedness across time and geographies.  

to take root among the stars is accompanied by the first monograph of Tossin’s work, which features full-color illustrations and essays by Vic Brooks, Leslie Dick, and Georgia Erger. 

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