THE NEW RENAISSANCE OF STREET ART
The hotel becomes the venue for an exhibition of Florence’s best street artists and organizes the first street art tour in Florence.
April 2017. Belmond Villa San Michele opens its doors to contemporary art. For the whole of the 2017 season it will be the venue for an exhibition of Florence’s best street artists. This pioneering project was designed to breathe new energy into the hotel, and to create a contrast between its venerable history as an ancient monastery and the latest artistic trend to hit the streets (and other areas) of the city. Seven artists are featured, each member of the group adopting a unique style and different techniques.
Displayed in the reception area, the historic rooms, on the Belvedere terrace and even in the famous Loggia Restaurant, these art pieces will accompany the guest for the entire stay.
On arrival at reception, guests will be greeted by huge canvases depicting Renaissance masterpieces reinterpreted by Blub, who portrays his iconic subjects in blue complete with mask and mouthpiece. This anonymous Florentine artist has entitled the series “L’arte sa nuotare or “art knows how to swim” and explains: “For me, they are about overcoming the fear of drowning or rather the anxiety of not succeeding. I believe change should be embraced without fear; we should be conscious of our resources, our skills. History is so full of great geniuses that we can look at things with different eyes”.
Guests dining at La Loggia restaurant will see its ancient columns adorned with road signs created by Clet; and while enjoying a drink at the bar they can look out onto the endless gardens on the canvases by Giovanni de Gara. Frenchborn, fine art schooled Clet explains “for me street sings are dull orders” and, as well as causing amusement, he would like his work to make people think twice before obeying authority. His work at the hotel is about a universal subject, our relationship with food, and his 9 street signs become, for example, some spaghetti crazily in love with a red tomato, a roundabout slicing a salami as if it were a knife, or a rain of pastry falling down on a no-entry sign, to exhort us to sometimes permit ourselves something sweet.
Giovanni De Gara explains that for him these immense green paintings “are special soccer fields on which nature has grown again since no-one uses them to play football anymore. Sometimes, he imagines that if an alien watched the Earth from the sky, searching for a distinctive mark of our civilization, he would identify that big green rectangle as the most representative sign and would think: a bit ‘monotonous as a response to our crop circles, missing the times when we replied with the pyramids and the Nazca lines”
The Street Art experience continues in a light-hearted mood thanks to the designs of Exit Enter, whose stylised miniman reflects on the great themes of life. Then there are the wooden masks by James Boy, recycled creations made from old hotel furniture and given new life through art, and the vintage carpet by Hopnn, decorated with his characteristic cyclists to spread the eco-friendly message. Before leaving, guests can take a souvenir photograph in front of “Uomo Selfie” (Selfie Man), a sculpture by Sedicente Moradi, made entirely from small pieces of wood found on his nature walks.
Known for his little stick men that float away with balloons or climb ladders, Exit/Enter’s works are playful yet thought-provoking. He reflects that in art, as in life, nothing is static: “Street art is a vindication and redevelopment of urban space, a lively and ephemeral art form, even though the works are often destined to disappear.” Taking inspiration from the hotel’s monastic past, in the three paintings commissioned by the hotel, the stylized character is comparing himself with some big values of modern life such as love, spirituality and energy.
Jamesboy, a young artist born in South America, started work five years ago on the project “Masks of urban decay” in which he creates small sculptures out of cardboard or timber from recycled material. His creations represent animals and fantastic creatures full of colour and he pastes them over the walls of Florence with the idea of placing small colourful guards to look after the city. For Belmond Villa San Michele, Jamesboy has created a triptych using a panel from an ancient hotel bench, with which the artist has given shape to three figures: an owl, a lion and a cat.
The main focus of Hopnn’s work carries an environmental message, his flamered bicycle sketches urging people to travel in an “ecological, healthy, sustainable, euphoric” way. For his installation at Belmond Villa San Michele he decided to “physically take a piece of the hotel’s history, a large old carpet, and ‘ruin’ it, or paint it to give it new life. The piece will revisit the hotel’s past and create a new artistic identity”.
Il Sedicente (meaning “self-styled”) Moradi specialised in figurative painting andsculpture before embracing the freedom of street art. Using recycled and organicmaterials, such as dead branches and leaves, he creates striking sculptures that are “unique but affordable for everyone. I want my works to convey respect and decorum for what we have and what we see.” For the commission at Belmond Villa San Michele, which he describes as “a golden terrace in search of a new identity”, he has created ‘The Selfista’ — a man taking a selfie on the terrace overlooking Florence, which will no doubt raise a smile of recognition.
For guests who want to find out more about this genre, the hotel has even arranged a “Street Art Tour” led by one of the artists in person, and a graffiti workshop at Hopnn’s studio.
The exhibitions are open to the general public.
Notes to Editors
For more information please contact:
PR Belmond Villa San Michele
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Belmond Ltd is a global collection of exceptional hotel and luxury travel adventures in some of the world’s most inspiring and enriching destinations. Established almost 40 years ago with the acquisition of Belmond Hotel Cipriani in Venice, the Company owns and operates 46 unique and distinctive hotel, rail and river cruise experiences in many of
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