Benvenuti to our 2017-18 award-holders

2017-18 October award-holders

2017-18 October award-holders. Photo by Antonio Palmieri.

Our October award-holders for 2017-18 arrived just last week, and it was great for staff and residents to hear about their projects for their residencies during our welcome week introductory talks. A full list of this year’s award-holders is on our website.

In our October cohort we are pleased to have been able to offer three new residencies.  Loek Luiten is our Judith Maitland Memorial Awardee whose research looks at the Farnese dynasty and power in Saint Peter’s patrimony; on the Fine Arts side we have James Epps who is our Augusta Scholar; and last but not least Pele Cox, our John Murray / Keats-Shelley Memorial Association Creative Writing Resident.

Pele is the BSR’s first resident in creative writing and as part of her introductory talk we were treated to a reading of a poem she had written in response to being awarded her residency at the BSR. Earlier this week she introduced many residents to the Keats Shelley Memorial House — not far from the BSR in Piazza di Spagna — where Julian Sands was giving a poetry reading.

A trip to the Roman Forum has been a staple of welcome week activities in the past few years, and this year the mantle passed from former BSR Director Christopher Smith to BSR Cary Fellow Robert Coates-Stephens. Taking in some sites on the way, the group profited from Assistant Director Tom True’s worldly wisdom in the Campo Marzio.

For those of you in Rome, keep your diaries free on 29 and 30 November when our current senior award-holders Clare Robertson and Philippa Jackson will be giving their lectures on ‘Federico Zuccaro and his intellectual circle’ and ‘Raphael and Sienese circles’ respectively.

And on Friday 15 December we have the opening of December Mostra, an exhibition of works by current Fine Arts award-holders.

There’s a lot to look forward to, and the full list of events we will be holding here in Rome is on our website: http://www.bsr.ac.uk/news/italy-events.


Photos by Antonio Palmieri (2017-18 award-holders) and Alice Marsh (Forum and Campo Marzio)

 

Advertisements

British School at Rome 2009-2017

 A final message from Christopher Smith as outgoing BSR Director

22461595426_572d9dc157_z

Photo: Antonio Palmieri

In March 2016, the British Government set out the reason it funds the British Academy sponsored institutes: ‘Developing research links and collaborations with the best researchers overseas.’

As I look back over eight years as Director of the British School at Rome, and the BSR looks forward to a new Director and a new academic year, it seems appropriate to reflect on how we are doing against this clear and specific mission.

My predecessor, Andrew Wallace-Hadrill, continued to lead the Herculaneum Conservation Project brilliantly through the first years of my Directorship, and with the support of the Packard Humanities Institute and the local authorities, channelled millions of dollars into Herculaneum, and fostered dozens of international partnerships, most visibly in the major British Museum exhibition Life and Death in Pompeii and Herculaneum, and in commendations by UNESCO. Without the BSR this hugely important project would not have happened.

The BSR is involved in several major AHRC projects and a partner in the ERC Horizon 2020 project Unsettling Remembering and Social Cohesion in Transnational Europe.  Simon Keay’s outstanding work at Portus, begun at the BSR and conducted in full collaboration between the BSR, the Rome authorities and the University of Southampton, led to major AHRC grants and then an ERC grant as well as a very popular MOOC. The then AHRC CEO Rick Rylance singled out the BSR’s role as exemplary in terms of international collaboration.

This coming academic year we are hosting eight externally funded research fellows and seventeen humanities scholars (including our first creative writing fellow), and seventeen fine artists, supported by the BSR and our various funding partners.  Topics of research range from Roman clothing to medieval poetry, fascist fountains and the suicide attack on the Italian military police headquarters in Nasiriyah, Iraq in 2003, and range right across the Mediterranean and beyond, from prehistory to the contemporary. This breadth is both extraordinary and par for the course at the BSR!

The breadth and depth of BSR events in the coming three months continues to push British scholarship out to a wide intellectual community through workshops on ground penetrating radar, digital humanities, Roman Catholicism as a world religion, and one of the first events held outside the UK as part of the Being Human Festival of the Humanities, which will bring together UK and Italian experts on heritage management, illicit trade and endangered archaeological sites. This is part of the BSR’s contribution to accelerating bilateral relations between the UK and Italy, led by our Embassy in Rome.

All of our events (90 in 2016-17) command an international audience.  Our library has an international readership yet remains curated with the needs of UK scholars uppermost.  We have led the unification of Rome’s research library catalogues in URBiS, which with 2.6million records from 22 individual institutions is now a global resource. The BSR is itself a proudly international community where UK scholars and artists meet others from across the Commonwealth, the other foreign academies in Rome, and Italy’s best universities and research units.

In 2017 we commissioned an independent and detailed research review along the lines of REF. The results, just received, are highly positive and the openness of the BSR and its role in facilitating intellectual friendships and academic collaborations is repeatedly valued.

What does this look like in practical terms, in real life?  Next week, the new award-holders will arrive into a vibrant, successful and intellectually challenging institution.  They will form a multidisciplinary community drawn from many traditions and countries.

They will meet award-holders from the twenty-seven other research and arts institutions in Rome, participate in events with scholars and experts from St Andrews, the Courtauld Institute, La Sapienza, Tor Vergata, Siena, Austin Texas, Melbourne, and the Italian superintendencies and Guardia di Finanza, the British Embassy and the Italian Ministry of Culture. The activities will be led by our new Director, Professor Stephen Milner, himself a scholar of international reputation and experience.

If past performance can indicate future returns, then these award-holders will return home with both their own scholarship and creativity strengthened and a deep appreciation of what can be achieved when barriers are broken down and collaborations forged. Every one of last year’s humanities award-holders has secured a prestigious research position, and we have many new and exciting projects just beginning. It seemed fitting that the last event held during my directorship, on the Roman Campagna, united projects funded by the Getty, Leverhulme Trust and Australian Research Council, and brought the riches of our special collections, the knowledge of experts across Rome, and new technological advances in digitization and GIS, as well as contemporary artistic practice, to bear on the changing landscape, ecology and climate of Rome’s hinterland from 1000 BC to the present.

For over a hundred years, the BSR has had the mission of being the bridge between the UK, the Commonwealth and Italy. The BSR, together with the other institutions supported by the British government through the British Academy, form an innovative, successful and vital network, facilitating the work of UK HEIs in their regions, and bringing together the very best researchers and practitioners.

The values of internationalism, collaboration and community have never been more necessary.  I am immensely proud of what my colleagues at the BSR have achieved, staff members, award-holders, research fellows and visitors alike, and grateful to you for your support. I am confident that we fully meet the Government’s core objective for our institutions. And I am convinced that the BSR’s role in representing the best of an international United Kingdom in an international world is and will remain an invaluable part of the research and creative landscape which David Cannadine, the President of the British Academy, rightly described as ‘not recreational but fundamental, not optional but essential.

Christopher Smith

Arrivederci to Christopher Smith

DSC_5725This weekend Christopher Smith gave his final lecture as Director of the BSR. Colleagues and friends from the worlds of academia, diplomacy and the arts filled the Sainsbury Lecture Theatre as Christopher gave a whirlwind presentation of the projects and initiatives that have come to fruition over the past eight years. The spontaneous applause at the start of the lecture, and the standing ovation afterwards are testament to the esteem in which Christopher is held by his peers in Italy.

Standing ovation

A standing ovation for Christopher

The sentiment was no less generous back in June when Christopher gave his valedictory lecture in London, offering a personal reflection upon the BSR’s achievements and its future role in inspiring creative research. Introducing the lecture, Chairman of Council Tim Llewelyn rightly said that Christopher’s stewardship of the BSR has been ‘full of imagination and encouragement of research and scholarship’.

You can watch a recording of the valedictory lecture here.

Following Christopher’s lecture in Rome, we presented him with an overflowing box of cards and presents from fans across the world! Thank you to everyone who sent something through, it was very much appreciated!

DSC_5597

Kind words were offered by our Assistant Director Tom True, Research Professor in Archaeology Simon Keay, and Christopher’s successor as president of the Unione Internazionale (Rome’s network of foreign academies) Wouter Bracke.

And to top the evening off, all guests enjoyed a slice of the Lapis Niger – in cake form! Perhaps not the first thing that comes to mind when one thinks of ancient Rome, but as every BSR resident who has had the privilege of his fabled forum tour will know, this inscribed stone is Christopher’s favourite Roman monument, and we couldn’t think of a better way to acknowledge this than reproducing it in edible form. Thank you to our chef Luca for making the cake and honing his inscription skills!

Lapis Niger

The Lapis Niger…. in cake form!

On Monday 25 September we held a special staff lunch with Christopher and Susan’s favourite BSR meal – Dharma’s legendary curry!

Special staff lunch

A special staff lunch in the cortile

This was our opportunity to present Christopher and Susan with their gifts. Various members of staff carefully selected images from our Archive collection to be reproduced in a portfolio. These images included photographs of the Roman Forum and Segni, – archaeological sites very close to Christopher’s heart – some images of the BSR’s third Director Thomas Ashby, and to finish a black and white print of Christopher with BSR staff.

Christopher and Susan open their presents

Assistant Director Tom True had expressed concern that after eight years of hearing the bell in the cortile rung daily at 8 a.m., 1 p.m. and 8 p.m., Christopher and Susan may have trouble remembering when to take their meals…it therefore seemed appropriate that we present them with their very own bell to ensure continued prandial punctuality!

Susan inaugurates their new bell

Christopher will be moving on to pursue a Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship, and we have no doubt that his research will continue to bring him back to the BSR in the future. But before embarking on this next stage, Christopher and Susan will be heading to France for a well-deserved rest.

Au revoir et bon courage!

Au revoir et bonne chance!

 


Text by Natalie Arrowsmith (Communications Manager) and photos by Chris Warde-Jones.

Wrapping up 2016-17: our year in events

As the final event of our 2016—17 events programme, AHMM’s Architecture and the Art of the Extra Ordinary exhibition, is about to close, it is with great pride that we look back on a fantastic year. Our calendar this year has been one of the richest yet, with some 90 lectures, conferences, exhibitions and seminars. To showcase the wide range of events we have hosted and the diversity of the disciplines cultivated, here is a taste of the fantastic cultural programme we are proud to have hosted over the past ten months.

From 19—21 September, the BSR hosted the conference The Lateran Basilica, which saw specialists in archaeology, architecture, art history, liturgy and topography come together to present and discuss new research on the Basilica. The conference included not only a rich programme of lectures, but also a site visit to the excavations of the ancient foundations of the Basilica.

In October, the exhibition Emplacement by Miroslaw Balka, which was the first of our 2016—17 Architecture programme Meeting Architecture: Fragments curated by Marina Engel, drew to a close with the artist in conversation with Joseph Rykwert. Focusing on Otwock, near Warsaw, Balka’s home town and Rykwert’s childhood holiday home, the artist and architectural historian discussed their respective work in the context of architecture and memory and architecture and ideology.

You can watch the video of the conversation here.

RykwertCiorraBalka

Joseph Rykwert (L) in conversation with Miroslaw Balka (R), chaired by Pippo Ciorra (C). Photo by Antonio Palmieri.

The first event of our Fine Arts programme, curated by Visual Art Residency and Programme Curator Marco Palmieri, was a talk by British artist Emma Hart, who last year won the Max Mara Art Prize for Women. Emma discussed her practice and elaborated on recent works, motivations, and projects.

EmmaHart

Artist’s talk by Emma Hart. Photo by Antonio Palmieri.

Also taking place in November was our annual Molly Cotton Lecture, which this year was given by Maria Paola Guidobaldi. Her lecture Arredi di Lussi da Ercolano: I più recenti rinvenimenti dalla città e dalla Villa dei Papiri gave an insight into new findings at Herculaneum. Click here to listen to the audio podcast of the lecture.

You can read about Molly Cotton and her legacy in this piece written by Archaeology Officer and Molly Cotton Fellow, Stephen Kay.

The first three months of our 2016—17 programme culminated in the December Mostra, which gave us the first glimpse of the new works by our Fine Arts award-holders. As always, the Mostra was a great success and we were blown away by the quality and diversity of the works on show.

From 26—27 January, the BSR hosted the conference for Rome’s Mediterranean Ports Project for the second year in a row, a five-year research project funded by the European Research Council and led by the University of Southampton. This conference was another international event which brought together new research from a broad range of scholars.

You can read more about the project here.

Portuslimen-ERC

While the BSR recently celebrated its 100th birthday, a talk by John Osborne marked the 150th birthday of a significant advancement in photography. In this lecture, Charles Smeaton, John Henry Parker and the earliest photography in the Roman catacombs, John Osborne discussed the innovation of using magnesium wire to take photographs, which allowed images to be captured without natural light. The impact of this was that Roman catacombs could be documented with photographs for the first time. This is a topic close to the BSR, as the collection of photographs by Thomas Ashby (Director 1906–25) is a treasure of the BSR Archive. We are also very much looking forward to welcoming John as one of 2017–18 Balsdon Fellows!

For Assistant Director Tom True’s reflection on the talk, follow this link. You can watch the lecture on our YouTube channel by clicking here.

 

We thank Robert Coates-Stephens for captaining another fantastic City of Rome course, in which eleven postgraduate students spent eight weeks in Rome on an intensive residential course, with a rigorous itinerary of site visits and research. The course is accompanied by the City of Rome lecture series, and in this we were treated to seven fantastic lectures on the ancient city.

In June, no less than four conferences were held at the BSR. The first, Oltre Roma medio repubblicana: il Lazio tra i galli e la battaglia di Zamaformed the second part of the conference series which seeks to address anew the themes of growth and transformation of the city of Rome and its territory.

Scholars convened at the BSR for the the Rome Art History Network (RAHN) conference Le collezioni degli artisti in Italia, which considered the impact of social change between the 1500s and 1700s on art and artists in that period.

Hot on the heels of this, the first day of the two-day conference Sensing Divinity: Incense, Religion and the Ancient Sensorium came to the BSR. Many were drawn out into the cortile by the smell of incense wafting through the corridors.

SensingDivinity

Sensing Divinity conference. Photo by Antonio Palmieri.

SensingDivinity

Sensing Divinity conference. Photo by Antonio Palmieri.

The fourth and final conference in June was rounded off with Hortus inclusus: Expanding Boundaries of Time and Space, which marked twenty years since the landmark Horti Romani conference which opened new directions for the study of cultural landscapes.

The final event of the 2016–17 programme was a lecture and accompanying exhibition by Simon Allford of Allford Hall Monaghan Morris Architects. Architecture and the Art of the Extra Ordinary explores the idea of the Universal Building, demonstrated in six projects in a range of physical, political and cultural contexts. For the video of Simon Allford’s lecture, please click here.

We are already looking forward to a fresh set of events beginning in September! New programme coming soon…


Ellie Johnson (Communications and Events)

 

March Mostra 2017 / Meet the Artists… Sinta Tantra

Our annual March Mostra is opening tomorrow and we are really looking forward to seeing what our six resident artists and architects have produced over the course of the past three months. As the finishing touches are made to the gallery, we bring you a teaser of what to expect in the fifth interview of the Meet the Artists blog series, this time with Sinta Tantra, our inaugural Bridget Riley Fellow.

32767661100_c9ae802a82_z (1)

Photo by Antonio Palmieri

Sinta Tantra describes her work as ‘painting on an architectural scale’, creating works that celebrate the spectacle, questioning the decorative, functional and social role of art. The compositional arrangements are rooted in formalism, when private becomes public and when the viewer becomes active. Her work is an ‘overlay’ of colour which inserts its identity within pre-existing spaces – heightening a sense of fantasy within a functional context. 

So far, has being in Rome made a big impact on your work?

Realistically speaking, it’s quite a difficult city to settle into – visiting as a tourist is quite a different experience to living here. Naturally, I am of course interested in the many artists and writers who were inspired by Rome, but equally, I’m also interested in the people who weren’t – James Joyce is an example. He said something like, ‘Rome was like visiting the corpse of your dead grandmother’. Quite a shocking thing to say, but for me it’s about looking at ideas around the ‘Grand Tour’ and subverting that.

In his letters to his brother, Joyce writes about walking around the city and how he has a new idea for a book which would later on become Ulysses. From this, I became interested in how you walk around Rome, the relationship the body has to the city and how our own individual journeys become invisible line drawings traced/overlaid onto the city itself.

I’ve also been inspired by the colours of Rome, not only in nature – there’s amazing light here –  but also in the fashion, style and music – everything is very vivid compared to say an ‘English taste’. People here seem to walk with confidence, a sense of ‘peacocking’ and I love it! The colours in my recent paintings have been inspired by this – more vivid, more reds and yellows.

Is this residency different in that, given that you are here for a longer period than usual, you wouldn’t usually have the opportunity to do two mostre?

Yes absolutely, I see it as both a residency and an academic programme with things being divided term by term. It’s very structured, so it’s quite nice having two mostre and being able to reassess and reflect at the end of each three-month period.

Have you found it difficult to manage all the travelling you’ve been doing?

Yes, I’ve been doing some travelling outside of Italy as I’m managing a few projects back in the UK and in Asia.  I’ve been trying to feed all these influences and inspirations back into my studio in Rome – the idea that ‘all roads lead to Rome’.

In your introductory talk, you showed us a lot of large-scale, outdoor installations – has the residency in Rome been a challenge, given that for this mostra you are in a way confined to the gallery space?

In the first term, I wanted to focus on settling in, contextualising my location, research and making paintings. The second term I’ll be doing public art projects and working outside the BSR. One of the things I’m interested in doing next term – maybe going back to this idea of journeys and walking around the city – is to create three mini public art interventions based on James Joyce’s walking route around the city.

If you could do an installation anywhere in the city, where would you choose? 

I’d love to do any of the piazzas. The piazzas here are like platforms or stages where people congregate. They have a very different feel to squares in the UK. Maybe that’s another thing I was inspired by – this Italian attitude of being ‘seen to be seen’. It’s quite dazzling for a foreigner because Romans come across with such confidence – a kind of bravado which I like and am trying to incorporate into my work.

What is usually your approach to making a final piece, and has that changed at all?

Regarding the painting process, it’s still the same. I’d say the colours have changed though because of the natural light in the studios. I can mix colours with more intensity, as opposed to London where I work under electrical light.

Do you think that being in an environment with both scholars and artists has had a different impact on your work than it would have had you been working solely alongside other artists?

The interdisciplinary side is very evident – scholars see and speak very differently to artists. But because of the community and the activities that go on here, conversations between us happen quite naturally.

Also, usually on a typical art residency, artists work more independently. The environment here at the BSR feeds into your work – you might be having a conversation with someone at dinner who will immediately take you to the library after coffee to give you a book to read.

Can you tell me a bit about your final piece for the Mostra?

It’s part painting, part sculpture, part domestic object. It consists of four painted screens configured in a way so that it’s free-standing rather than on the wall. Some of the motifs on it are inspired by the Piranesi prints that I came across at the BSR.

When it comes to choosing what to show in the Mostra, what is the process? Do you start a work thinking, ‘I’m going to show this in the Mostra‘, or do you come to a selection process and think, for example, ‘these three pieces work well together’?

A bit of everything: I plan for things quite in advance, but then again I take such pleasure in positioning my paintings in the gallery and how it interacts with the architecture. This is quite different from my public artworks that are always placed precisely.

And do you think that you can do that because it’s a six-month process – do you think that, say if you were here for just three months, you would try to encompass that whole process into that shorter time frame?

It’s very important as an artist to not just produce work, but to produce work, reflect on it, and then make new work in response to that. Having the six months enables you to learn a lot more.


Sinta’s work will be exhibited alongside the five resident artists in the March Mostra; open 16.30-19.00, Saturday 18 March until Saturday 25 March 2017, closed Sundays.

Interview conducted by Ellie Johnson.

March Mostra 2017 / Meet the Artists… Caroline Cloutier

The second awardee-in-focus as part of our Meet the Artists blog series as we approach the March Mostra is Caroline Cloutier, our Québec Resident. We spoke to Caroline about her practice, the installations that she has produced for the exhibition, and how her time spent in Rome has influenced her work.

dsc_1445

Photo by Antonio Palmieri

Caroline Cloutier is interested in the reflective function that exists in specular and photographic images, and in their ability to evoke virtual spaces. Using mirrors and large-scale photographic prints, her installations deconstruct exhibition spaces or reveal them as a mise en abyme. Sculpted with new hollows and multiple surfaces, the spaces of her interventions become the locus of a truly upended reality, a virtual space of indeterminate boundaries into which the body is inscribed by mental projection.

Can you start by briefly describing what you will be showing in March Mostra?

For this exhibition, I have produce two different installations. One is a very large-scale photographic installation and it will interact with the architecture of the gallery. The second piece will be a small intervention in the gallery corridor.

Do you always keep the gallery space in mind while you are working – both for the March Mostra and for your other shows?

My art installations are always site-specific, and the same goes for these two installations for the Mostra. Usually, the way I work is to go into the [exhibition] space and I have to take time to understand how the architecture and the space work, and how the body feels in the space. After that I can use some of the architectural details: I photograph them and I use them as a trompe l’oeil, so the main idea is always to combine the virtual space and the real space. This is what I’m doing for the two Mostra pieces: they are installations but they are also images, and the resulting images depend very much on the architecture. I will use images of the floor, the ceiling and the walls, and duplicate these elements.

Can you explain the process behind selecting a space to work with?

It is not so much that I choose the space, rather the space determines what I want to do with the architecture, because I play with reflection. For example, for an installation I might place a mirror in front of an architectural detail to reflect it, so if I want my pieces to interact with the architecture and create an illusion of perspective, I have to know exactly where I’m going to work.

How has being at the BSR, or more generally in Rome, influenced your work? Has there been a site or museum or gallery that has made a significant impression on you?

Many sites in Rome have been inspiring for me, but Villa Farnesina is one that made a particular impression. It was very interesting, because a prime attraction of the Villa is the wall paintings which play with perspective and illusion and trompe l’oeil. The art piece is the room itself and its wall paintings, without needing to put other paintings or sculptures or furniture in the room, and for me it was very inspiring to see both how the artists played with perspective and the anamorphose that comes through the paintings when you move through the room. For me, it was a very immersive experience. Although it is very different from what I am doing now, being able to see the artists’ process of entering a room and asking ‘what can I create as a picture that will become an extension of the real space?’, and to see that they had been working this way even in the Renaissance period, was very inspiring.

Can you tell me a bit about these photographs that you have up in your studio? Have these been taken in Rome?
Yes, I can talk about this photo-montage of these four photographs I took in the Chiesa S. Carlino alle Quattro Fontane [first visited on a tour led by Assistant Director Tom True].

Cloutier_Borromini (002)

Photos by Caroline Cloutier

This is in the crypta – I was so amazed by how all the spaces interrelate in this crypta. You have this central room, and outside of it you have these little niches and openings which let you see inside the central room. What you can see from those openings, the construction of it as you can see on the picture, is that it is so perfect. You really can see how the space was mathematically constructed and I was amazed by how it creates a perfect composition. I just took a picture of the openings to see how the space imbricates and how it is harmonious and perfect. This is a study for me, it is not a photographic artwork project. After the tour, I obtained permission and returned and worked in the crypta for about two hours and took many photographs, and these four photos capture a sense of what for me were the most striking observations in this space.

So, say you are going to see a site or a gallery or museum – do you take some pictures on your phone then go back with your camera if a place makes an impression on you?

Yes, I never carry my camera around with me so usually I will revisit a site with my camera. I will visit sites without having any expectations, and I can take photos with my phone but if a place makes a strong impression then I don’t even need to do that – I know that it is somewhere to go back to. And if after a couple of days I still have the place in my mind, I know that I need to go back and take my camera and see what is happening there.

Do you feel that after working here for three months your practice has changed, or has the way in which you approach you work changed?

It may change afterwards, I think. As we are talking now, I have been here two months and this is my first time in Rome and in Italy, and my first real contact with all those masterpieces of painting and architecture. So far I’m processing all this and I feel that it affects a lot of things in the way I’m thinking and the way I want to create, but for now it is too soon to say. Maybe for the mostra what has changed is that the two pieces of work that I’m showing are a lot more about anamorphose, which has not been such an important part of my work before. This is a slow process, but of course I have been moved by many of the new things I have discovered and it will change how I will work afterwards.

Is there anything else you would like to say about your work or about the mostra?

There are so many things to say about the subject, the themes around my work, where I want to head… I have recently thought that I would like to try out collages. But I haven’t had the time yet – the last two months have already gone so quickly! I went to the Olympic neighbourhood recently and took many photos of the buildings that were really interesting to me – the forms, the shapes, how the sunlight falls on the blocks, so I now have many photos of this area and I don’t know what will happen with that, maybe I will do a photo collage with those motifs. But because it is new, I don’t know how to work with it… maybe now that I have made the installations for the mostra, this is more the experimental part that I can begin to work on without the pressure of showing these new ideas in an exhibition yet. And maybe this is how my practice will change, because so far all my photomontages are done on the computer, and I really feel that I need to work more with paper and making things by hand.

Maybe that can be your next BSR residency!

It’s maybe something I will take back with me to Montreal and work on in my Montreal studio. I have a lot of new material now, which is great!


Caroline’s work will be exhibited alongside the five resident artists in the March Mostra; open 16.30-19.00, Saturday 18 March until Saturday 25 March 2017, closed Sundays.

Interview conducted by Ellie Johnson.

Keeping up with the borsisti: Part II

A few weeks ago, the Life at the BSR blog took a look at the progress of the research and practice of some of the award-holders who arrived at the BSR at the start of the year. This week we are checking in with the other new arrivals: JD Rhodes, Mark Somos and Caroline Cloutier.

John David Rhodes (Balsdon Fellow)

dsc_1486

While staying at the BSR, JD is researching modern cinematic depictions of Rome in a project entitled The uneternal city: modern Rome according to cinema. During the past couple of weeks, he has shared his expertise with fellow BSR award-holders by arranging a two-part study series, Spatial and Visual Empiricism. The first session, Piazzas, Doors, Hallways, was a seminar held at the BSR in which the methods for thinking about urban and domestic space, and the spaces that link them, were discussed. The second session, Cinematic Place and Roman Urban History, put this discussion into practice as JD led his group to  EUR, a district in Rome which Mussolini chose to develop as a showcase of Italian Fascist architecture. Below are some photos of the EUR trip, taken by Zoe Cormack (Rome Fellow).

 

We are very much looking forward to JD’s talk, Disembowelled vision: Fascism, Rome and cinema, taking place at the BSR on Monday 13 March.

Mark Somos (Balsdon Fellow)

dsc_1112_1

On his time spent as an award-holder in Rome so far, Mark writes: ‘My first month at the BSR was wonderful. Like Rome itself, the BSR staff and fellows are a daily source of joy and learning.

‘Work has been going well. For my main project on finishing a census of Vesalius’ Fabrica (1543 and 1555) I’ve visited the BNC, the Lincei, the Vatican and the Angelica, which together hold over half the total copies in Rome. My co-authors and I are on schedule with the  manuscript. Our publisher is very supportive, and continues to invest resources.

‘Because the project is going smoother than expected, I started another one. There were several possibilities, and Christopher [Smith, BSR Director] very kindly advised me on which one to follow. I am now reading Alberti’s I Libri della Famiglia, written in Rome and Florence in the 1430s-40s, and now regarded as the first work to seriously examine the boundaries between private and public in early capitalism. I’ve always thought that an insufficient interpretation of the book; and it turns out that Rome is the place to reread it. When Alberti discusses planting different pine trees, one finds several of the varieties he had in mind in the Villa Borghese. When he transforms the semantic range of terms like ‘masseria’ and ‘masserizia’ to cover thrift, economy, self-mastery, correct relationships within the household, the right way to protect the household from contentious and unprofitable politics, one can then talk to native Romans to learn that ‘masseria’ also invokes a widely recognisable, romantic architectural image of a self-sufficient homestead, something between a villa and a farm. I look forward to closely examining what is probably the most important (and neglected) manuscript in the Vatican.

‘My wife, son and I have also spent a great deal of time just walking around. It’s a joy to share this city, and spend days in the Vatican, Capitoline, MAXXI and other museums.

‘All three things – Vesalius’ anatomy atlas, Alberti’s manual on modern households and politics, and absorbing the living historical city en famille – are only possible here. From completing projects to starting new ones, I expect to enjoy my Fellowship’s benefits for many years to come’.

On Wednesday 8 March, Mark will be giving a talk entitled Gender and power in the reception of Andreas Vesalius’s Fabrica: results from the census, which we are very much looking forward to!

Caroline Cloutier (Québec Resident)

dsc_1445

‘During the first weeks of my stay in Rome, I had the privilege of doing on-site studies of trompe-l’oeil paintings from the Renaissance. While those have given me important revelations for my current research, lately I have found myself being strongly inspired by the modern Italian architecture, and the late afternoon sunlight that draws sharp triangular shadows on the suburbian buildings. Feeling enriched from those heteroclite new inspirations, I am currently working on a unique site-specific photographic installation for the March Mostra, that will dialogue with the architecture of the BSR gallery’.


All portrait photos by Antonio Palmieri