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I Tatti – The Harvard University Center for Renaissance Studies, Florence,
September-October 2023

I love ornament, the way it plays with forms, courts and evades meaning, and proliferates. Spending time in Florence and at I Tatti – The Harvard University Center For Italian Renaissance Studies provided a rich diet of Renaissance and neo-Renaissance ornament in various guises and techniques, especially in works from Bernard Berenson’s collection and books from the Berenson Library. I looked at these original works and reproductions, then interpreted and transformed them, again in various guises and techniques. The face (or the mask), the body and the grotesque became points of focus, because of my interest in symmetry and metamorphosis, and I commented upon my spectators’ frequent references to Henri Matisse’s paper cuttings by staging a contest between the grotesque and Matisse. I also took inspiration from nature and compared the morphology of plants, as ‘natural ornament’, with the artificiality of garden design.

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