In Venice, the quintessence of artistic craftsmanship


HAShen we are going through a totally digital age, it feels good to take a walk on the small island of San Giorgio Maggiore, 5 minutes by vaporetto from the very busy St. Mark’s Square in Venice, where the Venice Biennale is also located. art taking place, another important event of the Serenissima.

The block hosts, in fact, until 1Ahem next May, the second part of another biennial, very far from contemporary art, called “Homo Faber”. A non-commercial, but a cultural exhibition, dedicated to contemporary crafts and imagined by the Miguel Ángel Foundation, which takes a new look at crafts and the handmade. The structure also brings together thousands of artisans in Europe through an online guide to promote their ancestral techniques and crafts in general.

“We believe that the future is in craftsmanship, too much forgotten by the main artistic events until now. However, since the dawn of time, the tool has been fundamental for man, who, thanks to his hand, retains a powerful and precise power over the world. In this sense, Homo Faber is today a small revolution that unites many exceptional professions that we want to bring back to the forefront, especially through very young creators who work to pass on their skills”, the general curator of the place, Alberto Cavalli, confides in us. , also executive director of the Michelangelo Foundation for creativity and know-how, founded in 2016 by Johann Rupert, president of the Richemont group, and Franco Cologni, former president of Cartier International.

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15 exhibits in a secret place

After a successful first edition in 2018, Homo Faber reinvests the island of San Giorgio, headquarters of the Cini Foundation. A secret place of 4,000 square meters housed in an old monastery. Visitors will be able to visit places normally closed to the public, such as the gardens, the cloisters, the Baroque library signed Baldassare Longhena, the Gandini pool or the old refectory from the 16th century.Y century where a monumental copy of the Wedding in Cana by Veronese.

A framework that hosts for the occasion fifteen thematic and immersive exhibitions, from the art of contemporary ceramics to straw marquetry or cabinetmaking and glassware with masterpieces by the Venini firm mixed with floral art, passing through paper crafts , the fabrics, the furniture or the mosaics, where the The designer duo Zanellato/Bortotto reinterprets the floors of Saint Mark’s Basilica with a remarkable metal marquetry technique. In total, more than 400 unique objects are presented to the public and molded by 350 European and Japanese artisans, with Japan being the guest of honor at this second edition of Homo Faber, which invited Japanese artists to rethink the Western vision of the object through of their creations, such as traditional kimonos, basketry or ceramics.

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Honoring luxury artisans

Craftsmanship also goes through luxury. Thus, Homo Faber became interested in the relationship between craftsmanship and the great luxury brands in a major exhibition called “Genealogies of Ornament” and imagined by the British curator Judith Clark. The latter has thus invited 15 artisans from major houses, such as Dolce & Gabbana, Hermès, Vacheron Constantin, Piaget, A. Lange & Söhne, Buccellati, Cartier or Van Cleef & Arpels, who are demonstrating their know-how in fine jewelry. with her iconic Zip necklace. A kind of living workshop as this artisan heritage is explained live to visitors who can watch the master craftsmen at work.

Noteworthy is the participation of watchmaker Jaeger-LeCoultre, who presents a beautiful history of time, watchmaking and the decorative arts with a unique piece created especially for Homo Faber, the Atmos Régulateur Cherry Blossom watch. A reinterpretation of the famous Atmos clock, a clock, but above all an object of art and design that appeared for the first time in 1928. An object that at the time –and still today– defied the laws of physics since thermal energy is transformed into mechanical energy. In other words, the watch uses variations in temperature to work.

No more batteries, electricity or manual winding, by means of a capsule containing gas that shrinks and expands according to temperature, the barrel, which supplies energy to the watch, winds itself. . A technical and craftsmanship feat of “the big house” that managed to create an (almost) perpetual motion machine. For this new creation, the Atmos cabinet -which was a glass dome for the first version in 1928- this time pays homage to the sakura, cherry blossom, with an enameling process that required more than 200 hours of work by Jaeger-LeCoultre’s master watchmakers and craftsmen.

Homo Faber, until 1Ahem May at the Giorgio Cini Foundation, San Giorgio Maggiore, Venice.


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