In 2013, I began work on – what was later titled – Perimetri Perduti. The project’s title translates as ‘perimeters lost’, and explored the history of Florence’s 1966 flood. Those artworks illustrated the changed shape and lost boundaries of the flooded city. Florentines described to me a feeling of betrayal, that their beloved river Arno could have turned so. By way of painting, writing and the eventual production of a book, the project drew contrasts with contemporary examples of environmental extremes, whilst also discussing the lost sense of place the city’s residents experienced.
The artwork itself was – as in all my projects – self funded. Painting sales go straight back into the studio, and in this manner I progress. But in order to elevate that project, the book and eventual book-launch exhibitions were funded by generous sponsors – who had followed developments – backing by way of donation. Their support allowed me to present the work at its very best, in prime locations and to a wide audinece: in the British Institute of Florence alongside an exhibition to mark the 50th year since the flood (2016), which opened on the same evening the floodwaters entered the city 50 years previously; and shortly after, in Florence’s twin city of Edinburgh, the book was presented in The Fruitmarket (2017).
I am once more reaching out. The success of Perimetri Perduti was thanks to the support of sponsors. The richness of that experience is still with me today. Vital connections were made and endure, and important stories shared.
Over the last year – behind the scenes – I’ve been working on a proposal for a new exhibition during the Venice Biennale of 2021. I’ve kept this under wraps for now, while the concept established and the application process progressed. I’m delighted to announce that my proposal has been confirmed, and that I will be presenting a small solo exhibition in the principal Biennale district of Castello, opening at the begining of the Biennale and running for one month.
Since 2014 I’ve been visiting Venice: having been led there by my Florence-flood project to investigate the impact of the city’s frequent episodes of Acqua Alta (high water). As time passes, and work develops, my focus has centered principally around environmental change. Given that Venice is Europe’s first clear victim of rising sea levels, this topic will be the principal under discussion.
Of late, collaboration has been a key element of my artwork. My aim is to make my work accessible – offering entry points – presenting topics that touch us all. This exhibition will be a potent example of that, and while I don’t want to give too much away right now, I can say that the project is participatory in nature.