Following the first iteration of their nomadic art and design residency last summer – Transhumances I in Le Sauvan, in the southwest of France – Galerie Philia continued its journey heading this time to Florence, at Palazzo Galli Tassi, where emerging designers settled down in July. Their brand-new works will be unveiled in an exhibition taking place in the same location, from 9 October to 2 December 2021.
The project is named after ‘transhumances’, a form of migration based on seasonal movement. The latter can be observed in bees, amongst others, who act as pollinators when moving between plants and fertilizing different species, vitally creating fruit and seeds. This very concept, in the early days of the pandemic, inspired Galerie Philia’s founders, seeking solutions to bring artists together in a distanced world, closer to nature and in a way that would be conducive to creation and ideas. The answer was Transhumances, a residency where invited designers would explore and experiment with natural, locally sourced materials, immediately followed by an exhibition in the same place, village or city. The initiative aims to cut down on long-distance transportations and heavy logistics, thus reducing carbon footprint, and ultimately invite the local community to discover the work of emerging and established designers.
The first installment of the residency, Transhumances I, took place last summer in Le Sauvan, a secluded village in the southwest of France, followed by an exhibition at the neighboring Château de Barjac. There, collaborating in isolation, a group of international artists pursued a common goal: that of artistic excellence and conviviality, while celebrating nature and drawing from the resources available in the region – oak, boxwood, limestone, wheat and cherry wood. The project was documented in a film available online.
In the aftermath of this unprecedented year, Transhumances II turns to the Renaissance era, to the notion of rebirth following the Dark Ages and the artistic flourishing that ensued, drawing here an interesting parallel between the isolation and hardship experienced during the pandemic and the cultural awakening that subsequently emerged. This theme is reflected in the chosen location of this year’s residency and exhibition, Numeroventi, a contemporary Renaissance art hub situated in the historical five-hundred-year old Palazzo Galli Tassi, in the heart of Florence.
Eight artists from France, Canada, Germany and The Netherlands have been invited to take part in Tranhumances II: Cédric Breisacher, Isac Elam Kaid, Sylvia Eustache Rools, Jérôme Pereira, Frédéric Saulou, Flora Temnouche, Elisa Uberti and Willem van Hooff. They have each experimented with the creative techniques used during the Renaissance, for instance with natural dyes, when extracting colour pigments from flowers and other organic materials, sourced locally in Tuscany. Vibrant colours are a recurrent feature in their work, and the techniques of knife-painting and tempera, involving mixing egg yolk with ground colour pigments to form an emulsion thinned with water, have also been explored. Scagliola, a plaster technique that fully flourished in the final century of the Renaissance, is another process residents have investigated; it was used as a substitute for marble, made from selenite, glue and natural pigments, imitating the more expensive stone. Other locally sourced materials include clay, Impruneta terracotta, Sienna pigments, silk, Paesine, marble and earth. For this residency, Florence, with its rich history and endless natural resources, offered a wealth of creative possibilities and perspectives. We look forward to unveiling in October the works that have emerged from this experience.
The project has been documented in a film by Maison Mouton Noir that will be published soon.