A building exterior with a picture on it showing the inside of the building in grey as if the wall has been bashed through
A building exterior with a picture on it showing the inside of the building in grey as if the wall has been bashed through

La Ferita (The Wound), 2021, by JR at Palazzo Strozzi

In the sixth part of our Italy art focus series, curated by Umberta Beretta, LUX speaks to Arturo Galansino, director of the public-private Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi, which opened an art space in Florence in 2006, and maintains a bold programme of exhibitions from Old Masters to contemporary art, creating a dynamic dialogue

LUX: Did you ever think you would make such an impact in Florence?
Arturo Galansino: It is beyond our expectations. I have been here for eight years and Palazzo Strozzi is the most successful exhibition space in Italy with the shift in 2016 to introduce contemporary art, bring important artists to create work here and create a public to see it. We are happy to have helped change the identity of this city, which is no longer a city of the past, but a protagonist of the present.

Two men standing in front of a painting of the Mona Lisa in blue

Arturo Galansino with artist Yan Pei-Ming

LUX: Would Florence locals Michelangelo and Leonardo approve of Koons and Abramović?
AG: I hope they would be happy to see Florence generating a contemporary art discussion from their legacy. And I believe Bernini would love what Jeff Koons is doing.

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LUX: How was it working with Jeff Koons?
AG: He comes to all the exhibitions, especially the Old Masters – we spent a lot of time at our Donatello, which was the exhibition of 2022 worldwide. Jeff loves so much what he sees, he wants to understand how it works. He told me he’s using a new idea inspired by how Donatello used bronze so economically – leaving the hidden parts without bronze. These discoveries are so exciting for artists who work with matter, and for me it was an unbelievable experience.

A room with wooden floors and benches and a metal snake hanging on the wall

The Snake Bag, 2008, by
Ai Weiwei at “Ai Weiwei Libero” at Palazzo Strozzi, 2017

LUX: Are you bringing a new crowd to Florence?
AG: In Florence, we have mass tourism. Tourists race to the Uffizi and maybe the Accademia, visit Botticelli and David and don’t even sleep here. We have fewer visitors than the Uffizi, but they come for longer and often return. They explore Florence – a special perfume shop, a little church they don’t know. So we create a tourism that doesn’t occupy only two spots. It also helps to make a more sustainable economy.

A man wearing a suit and blue tie standing in front of a bust of a horse

Arturo Galansino

LUX: Can you speak about “Let’s Get Digital!”.
AG: We saw the digital phenomenon in 2020, and wanted to be the first institution to make a significant show with it. We had such a success. Every day we had thousands of people mesmerised by images from the six most successful digital artists of this moment. And we could explain this new art, too.

Read more: Italy Art Focus: Beatrice Trussardi

When we opened, in 2022, there was the collapse of cryptocurrency, which was so associated with NFTs, so it was a critical moment and were part of it.

A red painting of a man boxing

Bruce Lee, 2007, by Yan Pei-Ming, from “Painting Histories” at Palazzo Strozzi, 2023

LUX: Finally, do Italians still think this is a country of history, not contemporary art?
AG: Artistic history is part of our identity and I am very proud of it. What we should do is try to reinterpret its value towards new directions. We have to conserve, but also be progressive and open. I think if we find a balance, Italy could be the country of the future, because we have everything the world is looking for.

Find out more: palazzostrozzi.org

This article comes from a section of a wider feature originally published in the Autumn/Winter 2023/24 issue of LUX

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A glass and wood building that says "Ornellaia" on it
A glass and wood building that says "Ornellaia" on it
Ornellaia, recently held its 15th charity auction dedicated to the Vendemmia d’Artista 2020 ‘La Proporzione’. The online auction, conducted by Sotheby’s, raised $300,000 contributing to a total of $2.5M since the project began.  Here, Samantha Welsh speaks to Ornellaia’s CEO Giovanni Geddes da Filicaja about why this is an essential event and how he turned Ornellaia into one of the world’s most celebrated wine estates in the world

LUX: How did you start-out, and what were you invited to create with Ornellaia?
Giovanni Geddes: In 1999 I became CEO of Ornellaia; the same name as its first growth that represents the style of the estate.

Ornellaia also produces  a second wine, Le Serre Nuove dell’Ornellaia and Le Volte dell’Ornellaia, a blend made mainly by Merlot and represents a more joyful approach of the domaine style. Furthermore, Ornellaia produces two white wines, Ornellaia Bianco and Poggio alle Gazze dell’Ornellaia

A tree and deck in front of a green vineyard

LUX: How did you shine a light on the Ornellaia brand and build it separately to Masseto?
GG: I realised that it was important to create a clear distinction between Masseto and Ornellaia, so the latter did not become seen as a second wine. This is because Masseto was produced in a very limited quantity and sold at a higher price, so my idea was that Masseto needed to become an estate with its own name, its own identity, its own winery and wine. Masseto extended over 8ha and has now grown to around 11ha. We also set up a new management structure for the winery with the appointment of a Production Director and a Sales and Marketing Director. This was a milestone for the Frescobaldi group.

Three men standing up behind a man sitting in a chair holding a walking stick and a dog in his lap

LUX: What was the thinking behind the go-to-market strategy for Ornellaia; how does an art partnership potentially add value and position brand?
GG: My idea was production, promotion and brand building, so everything had to be the very best quality.

Vendemmia d’Artista project was presented in 2009 with the 2006 vintage. Since then, the estate defines every year the character of the vintage and commissions an international renowned artist to translate the vintages’ character in art. Every year 111 large format bottles are “dressed” with these art labels. These bottles have become sought after by collectors. Furthermore, in every case of six 0.75 litre bottles, one bottle bears an art label created by the artist.

green vineyards

LUX: How does the Vendemmia d’Artista project celebrate the exclusive character of each new vintage of Ornellaia?
GG: Each year, art is created and bespoked to the theme which best expresses the character of that particular vintage. First, we define the character of the wine, then an artist is identified and commissioned to interpret the character of the vintage in a series of art labels and one site-specific installation. There is no competition involved.

A room full of people and a woman giving a speech with a man in a wheelchair holding a dog in his lap

For example, Luigi Ontani, one of the most renowned Italian artists, interpreted the first Vendemmia d’Artista vintage (2006) “L’Esuberanza”, creating an artwork which portrayed this exuberant vintage; the following year, the wine was more elegant in style, so “L’Armonia” or “Harmony” was the predominant characteristic and a wonderful Egyptian artist, Ghada Amer created the concept for the artwork. The 2020 vintage, released this year, is balanced and “La Porporzione” as it has been defined by the estate, is represented by the conceptual art pioneer, Joseph Kosuth, through the art of language, an interaction and interpretation of ‘vino’ and art.

A large tree in the middle of a vineyard

LUX:  What happens with these art bottles?
GG: The artwork bottles are sold at auction through Sotheby’s. Usually there are ten lots offered (there were twelve this time) and they comprise several of the double magnums (3 litres), ten Imperials (6 litres) and the unique Salmanazar (9 litres). Proceeds were originally donated to international museums. Since 2019, we have been supporting the ‘Minds Eye’ programme of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, the award-winning programme which immerses blind and low-vision people into multi-sensory experiences to foster art appreciation.

Wines side by side on a grand marble and gold mantlepiece

LUX: Where is demand for Ornellaia particularly strong?
GG: The demand for our wines is exceeding in all markets! We have the best collaborators in all markets that together with our team support the increased awareness of our wines and that of the appellation we are part of.

LUX: With hindsight, what have you most enjoyed in your highly-successful career?
GG: Seeing Ornellaia and Masseto being recognized as Italian iconic wines, brings me great joy and pride.

rows of vineyards at sunset

LUX: What would you like to leave as your legacy?
GG: I have always wished to leave a very strong company and reinforce the estate awareness. Of course, Ornellaia and Masseto are globally very well-known, but I have always strived to amplify the characteristics and values of the wines far beyond the key markets.

Find out more:

ornellaia.com

masseto.com

 

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A swimming pool surrounded by a hotel trees and hills and fields
A swimming pool surrounded by a hotel trees and hills and fields

Glorious exteriors at the Como Castello del Nero, Tuscany

In the fourth part of our luxury travel views column from the Spring/Summer 2023 issue, LUX’s Editor-in-Chief Darius Sanai checks in at the Como Castello del Nero, Tuscany

What drew us there?

What didn’t draw us there would be the more pertinent question. This 12th-century castle hotel is on a ridge overlooking half of Tuscany. In the far distance to the north, you can see the domes and spires of Florence; on another ridge to the south, the terracotta shapes of Siena. Both are a short drive away. In between are hilltop villages, and what seems like an endless expanse of forest, vineyard, field and wild boar.

How was the stay?

Our favourite spot was at the northeast corner of the extensive outdoor pool. It is on a terrace that drops away to fields and villages below. At the pool edge is a huge old oak tree, and we set our sun loungers to its left for a view of the hotel, the pool or the Tuscan wilderness, depending on how we turned our heads by a few degrees. The breakfast terrace, relatively newly created in a refurbishment by Como Hotels and Resorts, is a few metres away and has a similar view.

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Or perhaps our favourite spot was above the pool on the higher terrace leading to the hotel. This is a huge space, with sofas, chairs, planters and shrubs. The panorama stretches outwards and upwards, as this is an excellent observation station for shooting stars in summer.

A beige bedroom with white curtains around windows

The ancient-meets-modern elegance of the Loft Suite

The Castello has a couple of different wings that feature stylish and softly pared-back rooms and suites. Ours was in a corner on the ground floor, with views out and down the slopes.

A decision on whether or not to leave the hotel each day was a question of one irresistible urge meeting a countervailing irresistible urge. We resisted the temptation to visit Florence, but did drop by Siena, a pleasant 25-minute drive away. We enjoyed being back at the hotel for champagne as daylight disappeared.

Read more: The Ritz-Carlton Millenia Singapore, Review

There are innumerable wineries to visit in the surrounding Chianti region: you feel you could jump into them from the terrace. Of course, that would be too much effort and the option we preferred was to sit and enjoy the magical views and order wines to come to us. The hotel has decided not to mess around with the food.

A table and chairs in a wine cellar

Atmospheric dining in the Wine Cellar

Some of the best ingredients in the world, from olive oil to meat, cheese and fruits, speak for themselves at breakfast, lunch and dinner. At the Michelin-starred La Torre, guests can dine on the terrace in summer, while Pavilion offers all-day alfresco summer dining.

Anything else?

Italy is full of ancient buildings that have been converted to hotels with views. But there is nothing quite like the Como Castello del Nero.

Find out more: comohotels.com/tuscany/como-castello-del-nero

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A blonde woman wearing a white jacket and a watch with bracelets
A woman working with an older man in a workshop

Carolina in the Florence atelier with her father

She shot to success when Sarah Jessica Parker wore her brand’s Lucky bracelet in Sex and the City in 2002, and she has gone on to fuse playful designs with her family’s fine- jewellery tradition. Carolina Bucci talks to LUX’s Samantha Welsh about creating and developing her own brand vision

LUX: Were you expected to join the family business?
Carolina Bucci: My family has made fine jewellery in Florence since 1885, and my father joined the business in his teens. He was clear there was no obligation for us to join, but that if we were interested he would ensure we had a proper apprenticeship. My brother and sister declined, but I was keen. Even before I studied jewellery design at the Fashion Institute of Technology, New York, I had spent time watching our jewellers work, understanding how precise and physical making jewellery is.

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LUX: How did your vision set you on another path?
CB: Growing up, I was fascinated by costume jewellery: the colours, the shapes and the experimentation. I thought traditional Italian fine jewellery was stuffy and I couldn’t understand how my family heritage could be relevant to my style. In creating Carolina Bucci, I fused these two worlds. Our jewellery is made in the same traditional workshops, but we push our craft to create colourful, unexpected silhouettes that don’t feel formal. We like to say that we make gold do things that it shouldn’t do.

A diamond and sapphire bracelet with CARO weaved into it

diamond and sapphire Color Field bracelet by Carolina Bucci

LUX: How did your brand adapt during COVID-19?
CB: We are small and family owned, so, whether it was the early restrictions in Italy, safety issues or moving business online, we were agile and I am proud of what we did. We closed our London store before there was any mandate from the UK government to do so; we donated to charities; we tried to keep this non-essential item uplifting. Our FORTE Beads seemed to capture the moment, and we found new ways to tell that story.

LUX: Who is the Carolina Bucci woman?
CB: There are so many voices to our brand. That is why we created La Catena [“chain”] on the website. I wanted a place for them to speak. Whether that is filmmaker Reed Morano talking about her creative process or art dealer Sarah Hoover on motherhood, there is an authentic passion, and I hope that is what we convey. I love designing jewellery and I love aligning myself with people who share that spirit in whatever they do.

A woman taking a photo with a camera

Filmmaker Reed Morano for the brand’s website

LUX: Are you involved in content creation?
CB: I design our jewellery, and I am also involved in everything we do: the smell in our stores, the paper and ribbon we use, our digital comms. It is my name above the door, so it is my responsibility to sign off on whatever we send into the world.

LUX: Are you tempted to be more active digitally?
CB: Jewellery is and always will be a tactile category. We have an active, growing online platform, but we couldn’t be a predominantly online brand. Our presence online is just another way for people to interact with our pieces, but it can never replace our stores. We are building a new store in Florence, and one of its most exciting aspects is how it helps us think in a fresh way about our online store. I love how that dialogue happens both ways.

A cartoon of a woman in a multi coloured dress walking up the stairs in high heels with nappies falling out her bag

An illustration from Sarah Hoover’s take on motherhood from the Carolina Bucci website

LUX: What is your social-media strategy?
CB: The word that strikes me when I think of social-media strategy is “fatigue”. I think some people design with one eye on how products will look on phones. I am at the other end of the spectrum. If the design is good, those who buy the pieces are your best ambassadors, and whether they tell friends at lunch or post photos for strangers, I am happy for that interaction to take on its own life.

A blonde woman wearing a white jacket and a watch with bracelets

Carolina Bucci wears her own designs and a watch from the Audemars Piguet collaboration

LUX: What about your collaborations?
CB: Our long relationship with Swiss watchmaker Audemars Piguet has been phenomenal and brought us to a new audience. It started because I owned a 1970s AP man’s Royal Oak watch. It was perfect and I didn’t think it could be improved on. I redesigned it for women through a chance meeting with the brand’s CEO, François-Henry Bennahmias in 2013. It helped that we had shared values and ideas – both fourth-generation family businesses, focused on craft before anything else.

Read more: Cindy Chao on heritage and emotion in jewellery

LUX: What is your next move?
CB: We make jewellery, and I don’t plan to make anything else. At the same time, I love collaborating with best-in-class manufacturers… we have made glass in Murano with Laguna B, and stationery and leather goods in Florence with Pineider. I love this ability to inhabit other worlds, particularly in the service of Italian crafts.

Find out more: carolinabucci.com

This article was first published in the Spring/Summer 2023 issue of LUX

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man in vineyard
man in vineyard

Lamberto Frescobaldi is the president of Marchesi de’ Frescobaldi

Lamberto Frescobaldi is the 30th generation (yes, you read that right) head of Florence’s Frescobaldi dynasty which has done everything from build bridges and palaces in Tuscany to create one of the world’s most epic wine groups. In the first of a new series on leaders in the wine world, the owner of Masseto, Luce, Ornellaia and many other wines chats to LUX Editor-in-Chief Darius Sanai over a tasting of the Frescobaldi’s flagship Luce wines

Lamberto Frescobaldi:

“Frescobaldi is a family that goes back to 1000 when they showed up in Tuscany, and then arrived in Florence around 1100, so from a little village out of Florence to Florence. Then a gentleman called, like me, Lamberto, in 1252, built the bridge where now is Ponte Santa Trinita, there is a little square called Piazza de’ Frescobaldi, for the bridge that he built there and he owned all the houses there.

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He comes up quite strongly under the light of Florence in that century. Then the Frescobaldi, began to do as many families of Florence did, they became bankers. Because in those days one of the things that was complicated was to ship money. Money was risky, has always been risky, and so funnily enough the first cheque ever invented was here in Florence by Francesco Datini, he invented the cheque, it was a revolution. Think of taking a piece of paper and writing a value! It was a total revolution.

vineyard estate

The Luce wine estate in Montalcino, Tuscany

And then they understand that it is important to move the paper, but not to move the money. So, the money was here and there. Then the Frescobaldi, around the 14th Century, they actually become important bankers through Europe. It was the aristocratic families of Europe, they were always fighting between each other. The Frescobaldi became bankers of the families of England. They actually moved to England, and they became very powerful because they were bankers of the king. And the king actually gave them the run, in Devonshire, of the silver mines. Then they became too famous and too powerful and then the king, I can’t remember which one, but he kicked them out of England. Then they came back to Florence, and from bankers they became farmers.

Read more: Durjoy Rahman on promoting South Asian art

wine cellars

Inside the Tenuta Luce cellars

So, long story short, I believe that my family have always been very forward-looking and innovative. And that is reflected in what happened with me and the Mondavi family (the legendary wine family of California, who have Italian origins). Around the mid 90s they show up in Italy, and they wanted to do something in Italy. They had moved from Italy 1908, and they went to America because Italy was a tough country in those days. And here they wanted to come back, and we got together, and there was again a beautiful relationship. This changed my way of doing my job, Mondavi opening up a window, a window opened giving me the opportunity to taste wines everywhere around the world. Sharing fears and also the beauty of producing a wine together. And now it is the 25th anniversary of Luce, the wine we created together.”

wine bottles

The Luce wine library

There follows a tasting of Luce wines, with Darius Sanai’s notes below each:

Luce 2013

A big, powerful, rich wine but also fresh and light, a remarkable combination. Plenty of fruit, plenty of tannin. I would drink this in five years with a pici al cingiale (thick Tuscan pasta with a wild boar ragu) on the terrace of the Villa San Michele above Florence at sunset.

wine bottle

Luce 2017

Luce 2006

Less power, more softness, an almost gentle wine but with a long backdrop of olive groves, fading into the olfactory distance. One to drink while perched on the old city wall of Montalcino, looking over the Colline Metallifere hills towards the sea hidden beyond, and across the endless forest.

Luce 2002

An almost gentle red wine, belying the Tuscan reputation for producing big reds. Yet there’s a persistence of dried berry, vanilla, and the kinds of herbs you sprinkle on pizzas that make it very moreish. A lunchtime wine, on the Piazza del Campo in Siena, looking at the people wandering past as another day disappears.

Luce 1998

Wow. You wouldn’t believe this wine is older than this millennium. Both powerful and zingy, it has a different character to the others, fascinating to see what can happen as great red wines age. Peppers, cherries, and also a waft of Bistecca alla Fiorentina, beautifully balanced. One to drink over dinner, in late autumn, in your Florentine palace, with your loved one; and like the Frescobaldis, I think this wine will last forever.

Thank you to Lamberto Frescobaldi for his time and the wines for this tasting.

For more information, visit: en.lucedellevite.com

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Reading time: 4 min
artist studio
abstract artwork

Untitled drawing by Hugo Wilson made with charcoal, black chalk, sandpaper and a sanding machine, paper mounted on aluminium. Photograph by Maryam Eisler

London-based artist Hugo Wilson works with drawing, painting and sculpture, combining images and techniques from Old Masters with contemporary references to create dynamic, layered artworks. LUX contributing editor Maryam Eisler visits his studio to photograph him and discuss refining his practice, creativity in lockdown and finding artistic freedom
colour portrait of Maryam Eisler photographer and contributing LUX editor

Maryam Eisler

Maryam Eisler: Let’s talk about your surfaces.
Hugo Wilson: I think a lot of my work has been very clean in the sense that the surface is quite finished, and quite considered. Whilst I wasn’t particularly aiming for that, that is just how I work. People have said to me over the last few years, ‘You should be leaving thin bits… you should have thick bits…’ and that is fine, but there needs to be a good reason for it all. Just creating surface texture to please makes no sense to me. I am quite bloody minded. I am certainly not going to do something unless I think it is the right thing to do. But slowly, after five or six years, rubbing away has become a part of my practice. Re-painting has also become a part of it. In the case of these particular drawings, I have also pulled things out of seven or eight dark layers which are muddied or clashed to the point of a problem. Suddenly, a sanding machine seemed like the only option. What I realised is that textures were beginning to appear, but they appeared out of clean, conceptual ideas. That required intuition, that required pulling something out of a chaotic situation.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

Maryam Eisler: There is also great physicality and dynamism involved in your process. Would you agree that the paintings possibly represent a stamping of your own collective energy?
Hugo Wilson: Not consciously, but I think that any great work of art that I love has an honesty of intention, and an honesty of process to reach that intention. In the case of these works, I have, maybe, in a way, understood that my intention is less fixed than I had previously wanted it to be. In the past, I had a plan which I delivered, one way or another, but in this case what I’ve realised is that having a plan is almost pointless. So, creating works that are borne out of an obstacle course make perfect sense. These works also refer to many things, without ever holding a single position. Obviously, collective consciousness then has to come into play.

Man on chair

abstract drawing

Hugo Wilson (top), and one of the artist’s works in progress (below). Photographs by Maryam Eisler

Maryam Eisler: To me, it seems like you are referencing freedom?
Hugo Wilson: I feel freer today than I ever have felt. That is for sure. I think moving towards more confidence is what I’m doing do. I also think that a heart punch is far more powerful than a head punch.

Maryam Eisler: Less agonising over process?
Hugo Wilson: I think all artists have this immense problem when they walk into an empty room with an empty canvas or a piece of clay or a block of wood. So, we sort of have to have a strategy in order to start, but also, we need to remember to break the rules that we have imposed on ourselves and to trust in that process. It is hard because it requires dropping things that have worked whether that is making a successful work of art, or selling it, or being liked by curators. Just because you are an artist you are not immune from all that; I wish I was. This last year was really hard because I had success for the first time in my career, and then decided to suddenly throw a hand grenade into my own practice, but it got to the point that I couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t do it.

Read more: Diango Hernández’s disruptive Instagram art project

Maryam Eisler: Speaking of bombs, how has this COVID period affected your work?
Hugo Wilson: The last six months have been the best period of work that I have ever had, for two or three reasons. One, the imagined pressure of the art world sort of disappeared for a bit, which I liked. I also realised that I’m terribly untrendy. I think that what is going on in the art world may be a great thing, but the fact that I am not involved in it, is not something that I am bitter about. In a way, I have had to look at that and question ‘well, what does that mean?’ In my case it meant freedom, the freedom to truly know what you care about and want from this. And I think that the answer is to create something, that goes well beyond my own limits, consistently. It can be exhausting though.

sculpture and drawings

A collection of Wilson’s charcoal works and sculptures. Photograph by Maryam Eisler

Maryam Eisler: Would you say it’s also about personal evolution and revolution?
Hugo Wilson: I think last year was particularly difficult because I had given myself a year to change my practice. I thought, okay I shall only do one show, which was the Berlin show I did earlier this year, which actually ended up feeling and going much better than I thought it would. I also had to have my right lung removed. I have been sober for many years since my mid 20s, for a good reason! And suddenly I was on morphine… It was tough, much tougher than I thought it was going to be, because I am one of those lucky people who nearly crashed and burned young, but didn’t. Most of my adult life, however, I have felt pretty happy, no more or less unstable than most other people. And then suddenly, I was right back in the darkness again, mentally. It was very frightening. At the same time, I was sitting in an empty studio. You know, I sound posh. I sound like I have had advantages that actually I didn’t. I was on big scholarships and so on, but actually, I set myself against the world quite early on. I have always been very intolerant of the “hippy artist” and the idea of self-indulgence. As an artist, it’s natural that you experience bleak periods where you don’t like your own work, but you are going to have to keep going into the studio to make it happen. I had one of those periods, quite a long one, and I can tell you, it is hell.

abstract sculpture

An untitled glazed ceramic sculpture. Photograph by Maryam Eisler.

Maryam Eisler: Now you have come out of that darkness with these wonders, and you’ve almost cut out all the noise …
Hugo Wilson: I am using a 300-gram paper on aluminium. This stuff can take a real beating. I am also using sanding machines and spikes, maybe even fire one day.

Maryam Eisler: And yet, you are classically trained.
Hugo Wilson: I am very classically trained, within an inch of my life!

Read more: Loquet’s Sheherazade Goldsmith on sustainable jewellery design

Maryam Eisler: Can you tell me about your early days in Florence?
Hugo Wilson: I remember going on a school trip to Venice when I was fourteen. I was sitting in front of a Tintoretto and I nearly cried. Now, I understand that I was completely moved by the power of the image, but not one part of me thought I was going to become Catholic. I think, in a way, that the sort of silly, ambitious, quite stupid, young man just thought, ‘I am just going to fucking learn how to do that. He did it, why not me!’ The classical training was, by the way, extraordinary. It was a seventeenth century atelier. There was the master, and everyone who had been there longer than they could teach you, and it was amazing; we drew from plaster casts for a year, before we could draw a naked person, and only two years later, could we actually paint. I do not regret the training at all, but it was a very difficult thing to unpick. It was very addictive. The point is: I was interested in that language, and I learnt it.

artist studio

abstract sculpture

Hugo Wilson in his studio with charcoal works in progress (above) and an untitled bronze sculpture. Photographs by Maryam Eisler

Maryam Eisler: So, that old world story is in your DNA?
Hugo Wilson: I am an English man. The works I have seen throughout my life are from this tradition. Slowly, slowly I am getting far more interested in other traditions actually, like Japanese woodblocks for example. I have also always loved those medieval bronzes and the historical anomalies where you look at a bronze from the fourth century and then you look at a Japanese incense holder, and you realise that they are identical, and that idea is at the very core of my practice. That we don’t change. It doesn’t matter what colour you are, or what time in history you are from, we will create idols which speak to us viscerally. I am not really doing anything different. The advantage I have is the internet, two thousand years of art history available at my finger tips and the ability to compare and contrast, and initiate dialogues. Also, 200 years of psychology and human psychoanalysis, and the realisation that actually the human need to create is far more important to understand than what is actually being done.

Maryam Eisler: What inspires you today?
Hugo Wilson: I am far more interested in process than I have been for years. I’m also looking at artists like Auerbach and Kossoff. Lovely Bacon… sexy Francis! Physical Freud…I have equally realised that these intuitive works take a really long time to create. I know that sounds odd, but, in my case, it’s been twenty years of me in the making, from being classically trained to using a sanding machine!

Maryam Eisler: Why so long?
Hugo Wilson: The process is the reason why it took so long. I think I rather stupidly assumed and felt that these were big physical gestures done in a week, but no. I suppose growing older makes you relaxed. But did I trust the process even last year? No. And it was my wonderful panel maker, that called me and he said, ‘Hugo you have ordered ten panels last week, and I came into your studio and every single one of them has been painted on and then painted over. Are you okay?’ To which I said ‘I am not, actually!’  All of that feeds into what is happening now and the weird joy that I am experiencing. I am not often this joyful, trust me!

art studio

Artworks by Hugo Wilson. Photograph by Maryam Eisler.

Maryam Eisler: You seem able to seamlessly move across mediums. Your sculpture works in particular appear to be an extension of your paint brush, with a few ‘sculptural’ interventions.
Hugo Wilson: Yes, that is what I want. I think that, with these new sculptures particularly, I can be “brave” in a way that I would find trite if they were to be paintings. In a way, given that I have not had a formal training in sculpture, I feel I can be braver with it. I am taking an object and in a way re-contextualising it. Just like a scholar rock, but even a scholar rock is a ready-made. I think it talks about what I am interested in, which is the human need to make systemic ideology. Three thousand years of non-monotheistic history has been placed on these rocks. But, it’s a fucking rock! It is bonkers. These things are going in Christie’s for millions!

Even though I had classical training, I then did a very conceptual master’s degree at City & Guilds [of London Art School] and I had a brilliant tutor called Reece Jones. He was an absolutely wonderful man and a good artist. He was also an angry young man; he would punch me for saying that. Most importantly, he made me ask these questions before starting any artwork: Should this be an artwork? Should it be an artwork made by me? And if it should be an artwork made by me, what is the delivery? And in the case of these bronzes, they are far better than anything I could ever draw. I also like the surface which you really notice. I don’t want to talk about the history of sculpture at all. Hence, my choice of sand casted bronze with its non-finish look, like stone or wood. It is a finish which doesn’t hold any historical position, and that suits me.

Find out more: hugowilson.com
Follow Hugo Wilson on Instagram: @hugowilsonstudio

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Reading time: 11 min
Luxury mansion building with manicured gardens and an outdoor swimming pool
Luxury mansion building with manicured gardens and an outdoor swimming pool

Once the residence of the Grand Duke of Tuscany Leopold II, L’Andana sits amongst olive groves and vineyards

Why should I go now?

Long, bright days, undulating fields of wild flowers and balmy evenings. Tuscany is beautiful all year round, but many locals will tell you that June is when the landscape is at its most spectacular. You’re also ahead of the crowds. Come July the region is flooded with tourists, and temperatures are soaring – admittedly both are more urban issues, but if seclusion and romance is what you’re after, you’re best to avoid the height of peak season even in rural areas.

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What’s the lowdown?

L’Andana is located in the Maremma region of Tuscany, roughly a 2 hours drive from Pisa and Florence, and a 10 minute drive from the pretty seaside town of Castiglione della Pescaia, and the beach. If you’re keen to explore, it’s pretty much essential to hire a car, but there’s no real need to leave the hotel grounds; there are acres of fields, an outdoor swimming pool and a small, but lovely spa with a heated pool, sauna, steam room and jacuzzi.

Luxury spa pool with surrounding loungers

Luxury living room with sofas, armchairs and potted plants

There are lots of spaces for relaxing, such as the spa (above) and the reception lounge, a conservatory which joins the two villas

The main villa was once the residence of the Grand Duke of Tuscany Leopold II and the traditional Tuscan grandeur has been maintained to give the whole place an elegant, stately feel. There are lots of cosy corners for relaxing and enough space that it never feels crowded. The reception lounge is one of our favourite spots come six o’clock when the fires are lit and the barman takes up his position to mix cocktails.

Luxury restaurant with tables laid for dinner and bare, brick walls

Michelin-star restaurant La Trattoria Enrico Bartolini

The Michelin-star restaurant La Trattoria Enrico Bartolini is well-known in the area and reservations are a must even for hotel guests. The tasting menu is superb and creative; tables are treated like canvases with each course artistically arranged on a crisp linen table cloth. The Porto Santo Spirito prawns served two ways (raw and fried) is our highlight along with all of the various desserts. Guests can also take part in cooking classes here, whilst Restaurant La Villa offers casual dining in the gardens or conservatory at the front of the villa.

Read more: Masseto’s spectacular new underground winery

Luxury hotel bedroom with large double bed with breakfast tray and antique furniture

Bedrooms are decorated in traditional Tuscan grandeur with antique furniture

Getting horizontal

The rooms are simply, but beautifully decorated with vintage furniture and fine fabrics. The best are those on the top floor of the main villa for their sweeping views of the olive groves, vineyards and rolling hills. We loved lying with the shutters open, basking in the bright morning sunshine.

Outdoor sofas and table with waiter serving champagne on the lawn

Flipside

At this time of year, there are a surprising number of mosquitoes buzzing around which rather spoils the bliss. By the pool there’s a little table with a bottle of repellent (and suncream) for guests to use, but still, it’s worth being prepared.

Rates from: €440 per night based on two sharing, including breakfast ($500/£400)

To book your stay visit: andana.it

Millie Walton

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Reading time: 2 min
Fashion collection on display within a stately ballroom
Fashion collection on display within a stately ballroom

An Emilio Pucci collection on display at Palazzo Pucci, the family’s ancestral home in Florence.

Florentine aristocrat Emilio Pucci founded his eponymous label in post-war Italy; now the fashion house is internationally renowned for its vibrant geometric patterns and wearable glamour. We ask Emilio’s daughter, Laudomia Pucci, the brand’s Image Director and former CEO, 6 questions.

Colour portrait of Laudomia Pucci, the fashion brand's Image Director

Laudomia Pucci. Image by Juan Aldabaldetrecu

1. Describe the modern Pucci woman.

The Pucci women is a very international woman. She travels, she is self-assured, she loves femininity and enjoys beauty and fun. She is not afraid of colour and enjoys life.

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2. How do you innovate whilst still staying true to the iconic Pucci aesthetic?

The innovation comes from the fabric and what women want. Mixing a more fluid day look also with sneakers, for example, blurring day and evening, adding more knitwear and changing proportions as well as making sure we are always true to the brand codes…

Model on catwalk wearing a purple puffer jacket and colourful skirt

A look from the Fall/Winter 2018-19 collection

3. What were some of the inspirations behind the new collection?

The inspiration was the glamour of Marilyn Monroe, mixing it with the sporty chic feel of Los Angeles, the colours the shapes, the body-con effect. I think it’s very modern and glamorous at the same time.

4. What comes first functionality or style?

In fashion I think you need to try and serve both. Than it depends on the woman’s taste how she wants to live.

Model on catwalk wearing a colourful summer dress

A look from the Emilio Pucci Spring/Summer 2019 collection

5. Earlier this year you collaborated with artist Mouna Rebeiz, creating a piggy bank as part of a charity auction. Do you see fashion as an art form?

We have always enjoyed collaborations and we delighted to participate to Mouna’s project. I’m not sure fashion is art, however they do sometimes cross paths and we have done that in the past with some very special brands. However I do believe my father could have loved being an artist and his prints are just as perfect and recognisable as art pieces, classical in their longevity. He also did lithographs and I have had some contact with artists too on the interpretation of the brand.

6. What’s the best city in the world for shopping?

Dubai – the gold market, the BURJ Khalifa, the mall of the Emirates. Just the quantities of possibilities for shopping are totally incredible there! Also I love Hong Kong for shopping – Hollywood road for the antique shops, Lane Crawford department store and all the shopping areas around Ocean Center.

Discover Emilio Pucci’s latest collections: emiliopucci.com

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Reading time: 2 min
Il Cinema Ritrovato
Il Cinema Ritrovato in Bologna

Il Cinema Ritrovato. Image by Lorenzo Burlando

LUX’s Contributing Poet, Rhiannon Williams finds herself treading the path of heroic visionary poets through Italy, and discovers the illusive poetry collective crafting the ‘New Italian Epic’
Bologna by digital artist Dorpell

Bologna by digital artist Dorpell

Italy has a bacchanal reputation for being the traditional haunt of heroic visionaries. Seen by Byron as ‘the garden of the world’ the number of illustrious writers who have graced the land is truly astonishing, and render it a top destination for any poetic pilgrimage today. The soft touch of history, the clean open spaces and balm of an impractical beauty have a lot to offer. But what I also realised, travelling through Como, Milan, Parma, Bologna and Florence this summer, is that the effect of the ancient poets upon the young poets working here today is far more profound than many realise. How do the contemporary generation feel able to compete? One might assume that the long tradition of luminaries in whose shadow any young Italian poet these days will find themselves might intimidate. The opposite in fact appears to be true; instead of hindering, the rich history only enhances the inspirations and aspirations of the next generation.

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Wu Ming (无名) is the name of a rousing poetry collective and occasional punk-rock band based in Bologna, Italy who are demonstrating how cutting edge Italian poetry is still at the forefront today, despite being some fifty years after the neoavanguardia movement of the 1960s which was the era of the avant-garde Italian literary elite. The pseudonym for the five poets, ‘Wu Ming’, can mean different things in Chinese; either anonymous or five people, depending on the tone of the first syllable. This perfectly encompasses the vision of these poets, because in its emphasis upon anonymity ‘Wu Ming’ is a purposeful rejection of the cult of celebrity that can surround literary stars, a philosophy very much in line with the collective’s growing reputation of being challengers of long-existing paradigms and traditions. The group justify their mysterious façade (each of the poets are known only by the names ‘Wu Ming 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5’ and refuse to have photographs taken) with the unusual stance that ‘Once the writer becomes a face… it’s a cannibalistic jumble: a photo paralyses me, it freezes my life into an instant, it negates my ability to transform into something else’.

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But despite their best efforts, the presence of Wu Ming on the Italian poetry scene is becoming more and more prominent and influential. Through their work, which includes collaborative fiction and poetry collections as well as band gigs and podcasts, they coined the term the ‘New Italian Epic’ which is now taking a hold of the Italian literary world. This original new style has been described as a ‘particular kind of metahistorical fiction’ with updated, experimental form that still derives certain features from the ancient Italian context, inspired by epics such as Dante’s The Divine Comedy written in 1472, and thus in sync with Italy’s rich cultural history. In this way Wu Ming has solved the problem that the young creatives in Italy face in the daunting shadow of so many Greats; through evocations of the parent figures’ liberalism expressed in contemporary sentiments while still retaining a classical resonance. It is an applause-worthy feat.

Il Cinema Ritrovato

Il Cinema Ritrovato. Image by Lorenzo Burlando

The group were most recently to be found involved in their home city Bologna’s wonderful Il Cinema Ritrovato celebrations, reading in Piazza Maggiore one evening as the sun set splendidly over the famous San Petronio Basilica. The local student movement was out in full force to support, upholding Bologna’s reputation as the ‘unofficial capital of the Italian counterculture’, which is affirmed when you visit the city in the striking graffiti tags such as ‘L’onda non si arresta’ (the wave doesn’t stop) lining the Via Stalingradoas well as elsewhere in the ancient streets. Coming from a place with such iconoclastic energy and armed with a brave approach to literature, at and politics in the 21st century it seems unsurprising that these enigmatic Bolognese writers are drawing plenty of (seemingly unwanted) attention from across the world stage.

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Reading time: 3 min