An uncharted, volatile moment
By: Laura Rysman
A crisis capsizes normality, but as we regain our balance in the aftermath, we have the chance to buoy ourselves with new approaches. Once we’ve seen the world go upside-down, the righted world will always contain the memory of that outlandish experience for us, and between those two visions lies
a path of possibility.
In Florence, when the 1966 floods submerged the city in its worst crisis of the modern era, Florentines and foreigners gathered to collaborate, to rescue its Renaissance treasures and to restore the city. Simultaneously, the moment yielded Radical architecture, with its artful and collaborative opposition to injustice and hegemony: it was Florence’s most forward-thinking, influential, and collaborative creative flowering of the 20th century.
As we take stock of our 21st century crisis, this moment is open to our renewal of the creativity of Florence, with collaboration this time springing from a profound sense of the preciousness of our interactions, and new ideas founded in what we glimpsed in our world turned upside-down — a world jittery with fear but hushed in its abandonment, isolated but contemplative, inoperative but freed from consumerism and suddenly purified of our daily pollution.
As artists, designers, creators, and citizens, what will we embrace now? What will we reject? What will we make of this uncharted, volatile moment? We can begin by gathering together here, and showing the fruit of these silent past months. We can begin by declaring our commitment to collectively inventing the new creativity of this city.
SO CLOSE SO GOOD
The show involves 12 Tuscan-based artists and designers in a conversation between the city and its local communities to raise questions in the post-Covid era:
What are the positive habits cultivated during quarantine that we can enhance and maintain?
How can our restricted local resources best inform and dictate the future of art and design?
How do we contemplate borders and inclusivity in the post-pandemic age?
How can we act quickly to put our local resources to use, and take actions with a new speed and decisiveness?
Anna Rose (b. 1982, Massachusetts, USA) has lived and worked in Florence since 2004.
She received her MFA from San Francisco Art Institute in 2014. Her work spans video, photography, and installation with a sensibility towards the relationship between body, space and ritual, entering into conversation with historical, psychological, and cultural mythologies of place.
Sasha Ribera was born in Florence in 1988. After studies of Sculpture at the Academy of fine Arts and Design at ISIA, he has grown up in woodworking, decoration and restoration workshops. Since 2017 he has started a project of research, restoration and trading of historic design, in parallel with a production of his own furniture-sculptures. His work is focused on the material ‘wood’, fascinated by the signs that the time leaves on it, by pure and clean shapes, by the combination with other materials and by the introspection of its processing.
Verde Cordero di Montezemolo
Edrev (1995, Florence) recently completed an MA Fine Arts at City and Guilds of London Art School (2019) after a BA in Milan at Accademia di Brera (2017).
Her multidisciplinary work goes across painting and installation, constructing a narrative about human beings. Her interest in the collective unconscious researches what makes us part of a whole; using social and cultural means of communication. Edrev currently lives and works in London.
Pietro Franceschini is an architect and designer based in New York and Florence. He was educated
in Italy, Portugal and United States. After receiving his B.Arch cum laude from Università degli Studi di Firenze and his M.S.Arch with 1st class honour from Pratt Institute, he collaborated among others with Leeser Architecture in Brooklyn, Claudio Nardi in Florence, Laisné Roussel in Paris and Carlo Ratti Associati in New York. His latest project – PF|Studio – was born in 2020 as an interior and furniture design practice.
Justin Randolph Thompson
Justin Randolph Thompson is a new media artist, cultural facilitator and educator born in Peekskill, NY in ’79. Living between Italy and the US since 1999, Thompson is Co-Founder and Director of Black History Month Florence, a multi-faceted exploration of African and African Diasporic cultures in the
context of Italy now 5 years old. Thompson is a recipient of a Louise Comfort Tiffany Award, a Franklin Furnace Fund Award, a Visual Artist Grant from the Fundacion Marcelino Botin, two Foundation for Contemporary Arts Emergency Grants, A Jerome Fellowship from Franconia Sculpture Park and an Emerging Artist Fellowship from Socrates Sculpture Park. His life and work seek to deepen the
discussions around socio-cultural stratification and hierarchical organization by employing fleeting temporary communities as monuments and fostering projects that connect academic discourse social activism and DIY networking strategies in annual and biennial gatherings, sharing and
gestures of collectivity.
Duccio Maria Gambi
After years living in Milan, Rotterdam and Paris, Duccio is from 5 years back in his hometown Florence. He works in a branch of the design on a border between design and sculpture, designing and producing one off works for private clients and design galleries. His work is an endless research focusing on matter space and storytelling.
Filippo Anzalone was born in Florence in 1987. After graduating high school he decided to live abroad for a couple of years, moving between Amsterdam, Copenhagen and finally London where he started his courses at Istituto Marangoni in Fashion Styling & Art Direction. After four years in London, he decided to move back to Florence with the idea of opening his own business, Bjork in April 2013.
With a sense of kind of pride in opening the boutique in his own city, where he thought something like this was lacking: a store with a contemporary aesthetic, offering a fresh range of selected clothing brands and international designers and a great selection of international contemporary magazines and reading material.
After graduating high school in the Art Institute of Porta Romana he moved to Den Haag to study at the KABK where he graduated in July of 2017. His work takes classical elements of Italian tradition, its streets, its smells, old shops and architecture, and translates them into a contemporary language using different media, from paint to ceramics and videos. With his graduation work in KABK he won the Jan Roede award, award and eventually got invited to various exhibitions and other awards, including the Piket prize. He has been working with theatre, painting and installations since then, aiming to engage Florence and the Netherlands in a creative and active dialogue.
In 2019 and early 2020 he held courses at the academy of art in The Hague.
Based on the emerging vision of marble that involves re- thinking functional design out of industrial excess, Bloc Studios is built on the ideas of international collaborations and in-house designed pieces.
The brand was founded in Carrara in 2014 by Sara Ferron Cima and Massimo Ciuffi with the intention
of transforming raw, natural stones into thoughtful everyday objects while preserving the inherent qualities of the marble. Following the philosophy that every pieces of marble contains a unique story waiting to be revealed, each piece is a unique one.
Born somewhen between the Years of Lead, Ma_Sa holds himself fully accountable for everything that has ever happened since then. First an Illustrator, then a wannabe painter, eventually he turns to be a contractor in the construction business. After a few years he moves to the countryside and joins the
Freeshout Collective with whom, to the cry of “Rien ne se perd, Rien ne se crée, Tout se transforme”, works transversally in art, fashion, design. Defying any attempt at definition par excellence, Ma_Sa eventually sets up his own workshop practice in Florence, working as set designer, toy technician, product and interior designer.
Bask is a collective of three artists, Jim shepherd, Dominic Mchenry and Angus Ogivie currently based between London and Florence. Bask explore a collaborative approach to making sculpture. Often working in series individual works come together as notes in a harmony.
Currently based in Florence, Ogilvie’s work spans a variety of different processes and materials, the overlapping point being an interest in architectural forms. Working as part of Bask, he has exhibited across Europe and South America.
Ogilvie seeks to remove the idea of authorship from the work, the content coming from the form and process. Constructing a set of geometric proportions and then generating variations within these parameters often presenting multiples. He creates sculptural elements that are simultaneously a fragment and a singularity. What makes these fragments important is the way they describe the point at which building becomes culture. These modular sculptures create a dialogue between architecture and sculpture in which familiar forms and materials verge on the ritualistic and totemic.
Ilaria Bianchi (Pisa, 1989) is a product and furniture designer based in Milan. She works for design studios, galleries, companies and private clients.
She started her own practice in 2015, after her degree in Industrial Design at the Polytechnic of Turin, and an MA in Ceramic, Furniture and Jewelry Design at Central Saint Martins in London. Her work, which uses a multidisciplinary approach, ranges from industrial design, to unique pieces, to installations. It molds artisanal and technical techniques, studying design solutions with an analytical and critical perspective, and a strong focus on sustainability. Her works are shown in galleries, cultural centers and international fairs such as the Victoria & Albert Museum, Triennale di Milano, Dimore Gallery (Dimore Studio), Building Gallery, Galleria Luisa delle Piane, Pad London, MiArt, Stockholm Design Fair, London Design Fair, Salone del Mobile and many others.
In lorenzo’s Brinatis practice, we can perceive the depth of Renaissance Florentine Craftsmanship expanded by the vision towards eastern cultures. He developed the techniques for his paintings working for more than two decades as a restorator in the traditional workshops. With his pictorial works Lorenzo transforms the old master’s skills into a modern yet timeless language. As a sculptor his language derives from the attention toward the nature’s law and for the acceptance that man is at the center of universe just as observer. Lorenzo Brinati (born 1978) He currently lives and works in Florence, Italy.