Interi: The Florence Fragment Collection
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Interi: The Florence Fragment Collection

Distressed ecclesiastical relics are transformed by natural specimens into sculptural works.

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Fri 22 Jul 2022 5:18 PM

Jean O’Reilly Barlow, the former Irish model, takes lost church artifacts saved from the 1966 flood of Florence and transforms them into sculptural works of art. On display until August 3, the exhibition titled Interi: The Florence Fragment Collection can be visited at the Corridoio Fiorentino Gallery, where Barlow is currently lecturing at Florence University of the Arts.

Interi’s founder and creative director, Jean O’Reilly Barlow and PR director Grace Barlow

The artist and creative director behind Interi curates pieces that were severely damaged during the devastating flood, leaving them in the state they were found and adorning them with precious natural elements to create the decorative and significant works.

“They symbolize a history that has been carried through the streets of Italy, to the palazzo, and now to the gallery,” says Barlow. The distressed ecclesiastical relics have been transformed by natural specimens coming from all over the world into historic yet contemporary items, embodying a deeper message of “What was weathered and worn is now reimagined and reborn. What was lost is now found”.

Elements such as minerals, precious gems, baroque pearls, fossil agate coral, and fossil shells are carefully added to the pieces, creating a seamless unity with the artifacts: “Each one has been recreated and reveals a new interpretation”. The final piece seems to have emerged from the ground as is, much like the church items themselves were found.

Interi exhibition
18th century Italian hand-carved angel wing with mica on aragonite. The aragonite mineral emulates a cloud and the mica imitates the feathers of the wing on the broken aspects of the fragment.
Interi exhibition
17th century Italian candlestick with elestial crystals, chalcedony rosettes, and sunburst fragments
Interi exhibition
17th century Italian scroll fragment with fossil shells, ecphora on a rock coral base. The fossil shells mimic the shape and color of the historic fragment.
Interi exhibition
17th century Italian fragment vase with agate coral, zig zag oyster fossil arms, fossil shells, and a baroque pearl on a polished petrified wood base.
Interi exhibition
17th century Italian vase with a chesapecten shell and natural free-forming copper.

The exhibition is on display at the Corridoio Fiorentino gallery, Palazzo dell’Ospitalità, via Ricasoli 21 of the Florence University of the Arts until August 3, from where they will then hopefully find a permanent home in Florence. Free admission, open to all. Barlow will also collaborate with students and guest lecture at FUA for the duration of the exhibition. To find out more about the event, email info@interionline.com or visit the website.

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