‘Passion for life’

International art exhibition supports cancer research

Lynn Davis
June 29, 2006

One of the best things about Florence in the summer months is being able to be out and about with events, concerts and exhibitions; there is always an array of things going on to do and see. Heres an idea for something to do while youre roaming the streets, looking to get away from the heat and flocks of people: pop your head into the church of Santo Stefano, just a stones throw from the Ponte Vecchio, and there in the Chiostro Museo Diocesano (the Diocesan Museum of Sacred Art) you will find an exhibition of international contemporary artworks as part of the programme, Passion for Life. Between June and October, this series of exhibitions will be shown in Santo Stefanos Museum, as well as at the Grand Hotel Baglioni.The idea for Passion for Life was developed by the Canadian artist, Antoine Gaber, to support cancer research. A percentage of the sales not only of his works themselves but other works online, such as catalogues, reproductions of works, even postcards, will go towards breast can-cer research. The artworks in Passion for Life range from sculpture to digital art to painting in a range of styles, and include artists from all over the world from Korea to Mexico to Brazil. Actually shown as a series of exhibitions, with Antoine Gaber starting off with his own solo show, the other seventeen artists will be showing their works in groups of two or three up until October. Antoine Gabers work can be described as Post-Impressionist with paintings that are reminiscent of the works of Monet and Van Gogh. He has been dedicating his time to cancer research for the last 20 years, and since 1999 has been using his artwork as a way to raise awareness and funds for cancer. Amongst the artists in the exhibitions following Gabers, you will find the works of Polish photographer Andrezej Jerzy Lech, who creates timeless black and white photographs of city-scapes, while the Japanese artist Sumio Inoue uses photography to create dark, atmospheric images printed with photo emulsion on Japanese paper dark church interiors emerge out of the fibres of the paper almost looking like paintings rather than photographs. The work of Dutch artist Jackie Sleper is an interesting mix of painting, photography and other media to create colourful and fanciful artworks of animals and children in fairytale-like worlds.Passion for Life is a gallant gesture that intertwines beauty and a good cause, set in the backdrop of one of Florences historical churches. The ex-convent of Santo Stefano al Ponte, which sits in between the Ponte Vecchio and the Uffizi Gallery, dates back to the early twelfth cen-tury. In recent times, the church has had to undergo reconstructions after several unfortunate events: it was damaged extensively during World War II from mines when the bridges and buildings surrounding the Ponte Vecchio were bombed. Later, it was again damaged in the flood of 1966, which left virtually nothing in the historical centre escape unharmed. San Stefano al Ponte was also partly damaged by the bomb that was set off near the Uffizi Gallery in via dei Georgofili in 1993. The Diocesan Museum of the church was opened in 1995, and holds works of sacred Italian art and includes important artists such as Giotto, Pisano, Paolo Ucello and Filippo Lippi. It is here in the heart of the historic centre of Florence that this exhibition will share its space with these Medieval and Renaissance greats. The dates for the exhibitions in the Diocesan Museum of Santo Stefano are from July 1-30 and then from September 15 to October 14. The museum is free to enter and is open every day from 11 am to 1 pm and 4 pm until 8 pm. The rest of the exhibition will be held on the elegant terrace of the Hotel Baglioni in Piazza dellUnit Italiana from September 1-30. The ter-race is also free to enter and open every day from 5 pm, which by the way, also conveniently coincides with Happy Hour for an aperitif. For more information on Antoine Gabers programme Passion for Life, visit the website: www.antoinegaber.com, or for more information on the exhibitions you can call 055/292082.

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