In 1969, the Italian artist Laura Grisi made a 16mm film of herself in which she sat on a sandy beach counting grains of sand. It symbolized, she asserted, “an infinite action beyond time.” In her attempt to create a poetic visual language, Grisi looked to nature. She wanted, she said, “to recreate the experience of natural phenomena.” And so she traveled to Africa, South America, and Polynesia, and made black-and-white photographs of plants in the Sulu Islands, recorded flowing lava from the Tanna volcano, and shot palm trees in the Leeward Islands. Grisi died in 2017. Her first-ever museum retrospective presents photographs and videos from the 1960s to the 1980s, and also includes her reconstructed environments. Many of these works haven’t been on view since Grisi first presented them 50 years ago. —E.C.
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