What does rarity mean in the modern world? A little-known technique; materials unique to a region; an artisan’s passion and determination to pursue excellence; or a craftsman who has taught himself to make one-of-a-kind objects. For example:
• A Greek saddle maker who is the only remaining artisan in the Magnesia region making mule and donkey saddles using ancient techniques
• An artisan in London who taught himself to craft handmade globes in the era of Google Maps
• A ceramicist in Sweden taking the centuries-old tradition of wood-burning stoves and bringing it right up to date for contemporary life
• A young woman in Lithuania determined to ensure the future of stained glass by sharing her skills and knowledge with other young people
This September visitors to Homo Faber in Venice will get an intimate insight into the world of 12 very special European artisans in the exhibit Singular Talents.
In an industrial world even the most precious objects can often be replicated. But the concept of rarity still has a place in contemporary life. The artisans featured in this exhibit may not be the only people in the world working in their particular field of craftsmanship, but they are nevertheless unique: perhaps because their skills or the materials they use are inextricably linked with a specific place; because they are the only person in their region continuing a traditional skill that was once ubiquitous; or because they are a talented young artisan breathing new life into a profession that until now has been the exclusive domain of old masters.
Visitors will discover these unique talents by way of specially commissioned videos by Swiss filmmaker Thibault Vallotton, mounted in the exhibition space as though in a portrait gallery. A ballet of gestures, faces, places and wonderful objects, the films will take visitors inside and around the workshops of these European artisans to observe the incredible techniques they have mastered, the places that inspire them and the beautiful works they create.
Three of the artisans will be showcased in virtual reality experiences that are as unique as the individuals themselves. Guided in their journey by a virtual giant, visitors will be immersed in the artisan’s workshop and have the chance to participate in the process of creation, getting a hands-on introduction to the incredible techniques and ancient skills involved in semi-precious stone mosaics, automata and enamelling.
“All these artisans are unique in their own way but we think it is important to stress that rare does not always mean being on the verge of extinction,” says Alberto Cavalli, Executive Director of Michelangelo Foundation. “On the contrary, these 12 exceptional people embody the future of these fascinating professions, setting a benchmark of excellence and innovation which we hope will inspire a new generation to follow in their footsteps.”
Singular Talents is one of 16 exhibition spaces that make up Homo Faber: Crafting a more human future, a major new exhibition celebrating European craftsmanship, organised by the Michelangelo Foundation.
Notes for editors
Crafting a more human future
Fondazione Giorgio Cini, San Giorgio Maggiore, Venice
Free entry upon registration at homofaberevent.com
Homo Faber is the first major cultural exhibition dedicated to the very best in European craftsmanship. Organised by the Michelangelo Foundation, it aims to put fine craftsmanship on the global map and increase recognition and visibility for master artisans. The exhibition will bring together a vast range of materials and disciplines, from jewellery to bespoke bicycles, from the rarest artisanal techniques to some of the most iconic examples of the finest European workmanship. Created by a hand-picked team of world-class designers, curators and architects, the exhibition stretches over a number of magnificent spaces throughout the Fondazione Giorgio Cini. homofaberevent.com
The Michelangelo Foundation for Creativity and Craftsmanship is an international, nonprofit institution based in Geneva, Switzerland, which celebrates and preserves master craftsmanship and strengthens its connection to the world of design. Rooted in a tradition of culture and excellence and in the realities and challenges of today’s global economy, the Foundation seeks to support men and women who dedicate themselves to the pursuit of master craftsmanship and to foster a new cultural movement built around the values that are essential for their work. The Foundation focuses on Europe as a starting point for its activities, in recognition that craftsmanship has been a vital part of the economic and cultural fabric of the region for centuries. michelangelofoundation.org
Singular Talents is curated by the Michelangelo Foundation. The artisans featured in the exhibition are:
Bellerby & Co Globemakers, globes, UK
Eric Charles-Donatien, feather creations, France
François Junod, automata, Switzerland (VR)
Izabela Kovalevskaja, stained glass, Lithuania
Daniel Lopez-Obrero, engraved and embossed leather, Spain
Johanna Nestor, ceramic stoves, Sweden
Richard Maier, engravings, Germany
Carloway Mill, Harris Tweed, UK
Anita Porchet, enamel, Switzerland (VR)
Leonardo Scarpelli, hard stone mosaic, Italy (VR)
Ingunn Undrum and Sarah Sjøgren, rope, Norway
Konstantinos Vogiatzakis, saddles, Greece