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The Wonderful and Unusual Exploration

Illustrated Book

Illustrations: Andrea Aste

Author: Andrea Aste

Publisher: Regional Museum of Natural Science, 

Turin, Italy, 2011

Torineide. De Mirabile et Inaudita Exploratione
(Torineide. The Wonderful and Unusual Exploration)

Following the great success of the exhibition Torineide, the Natural Science Museum decided to create this beautiful book collecting the short stories and the art I had created.

Taking inspiration from details of Turin’s historical buildings, botanical tomes, medieval bestiaries, ancient maps and travel logs of early adventurers voyaging to and from the New World, I created a parallel new world as seen through the eyes of Aar Adesten, a fictitious Elizabethan explorer. Thus, the city becomes an island to discover and map, inhabited by fantastic animals, insects and exotic plants whose features and characteristics are minutely describes by Adesten.

The Exhibition

In order to recreate an authentic 16th century Elizabethan look and feel to the project, I worked alongside experts and curators of the Regional Museum of Natural Science of Turin. I also experimented with different ageing techniques, inks, natural pigments and unconventional materials. This all culminated in Torineide: De Mirabile et Inaudita Exploratione, Aar Adesten’s travel log narrated through a series of diary passages accompanied by depictions of fantasy filled exotic flora and fauna which were presented alongside the actual museum specimens which inspired them.


The museum was so enthusiastic about the success and public response to the project, that it extended the exhibition dates to five months, allowing me to make a proposed installation: Aar Adesten’s ship cabin, using the museum’s collection of antiques, artifacts, taxidermy and various objects and curiosities.


After having seen Torineide, I was invited by world renowned Italian art critic, Vittorio Sgarbi, to be part of the Italian Pavilion of the prestigious 54th Venice Biennale.

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