August 22nd 2020, we held our first event in Deruta. Nadine was showing the result of two months work in the form ink of paintings on China paper at her atelier, transformed into a gallery for the occasion.
People arrived in dispersed order, navigated the gallery and came together in the rear courtyard. Then, Antony greeted them with a presentation of our work, individually and in collaboration.
Here are some of the salient points he brought up.
We are here to be inspired by the energy of the land, in particular the light and the shadow. Umbria has a very special type of light which affects us deeply; we have chosen to call our youtube channel Umbra Soul Streams…
Five years ago, Nadine’s father died. Since that date, she produces a series of auto portraits every year. She used the shadows of plants projected on her face as a motif. These portraits explore her own mortality, the body’s propensity towards disintegration. In Umbria, these shadow paintings show the fragmentation of her body gradually dissolving into nature.
This process was inspired by the philosopher Emanuel Coccia, in particular his book “La vie des plantes. Une métaphysique du mélange”. Everything which is alive operates according to the rule of “mélange”, in energy exchange cycle with the other elements in nature. The tree is the perfect metaphor and illustration for this process, where sunlight is transformed into matter; such is the function of the leaves… Trees have been processing energy on earth for millions of years making biological life on earth possible.
Then, Antony spoke of an important theme which triggered one of our collaborations: ecological grief. Nadine was the one who brought this into the conversation. Many people are aware of the destruction we have been imparting on the sources of life, but few acknowledge the deep grief which comes with it; accepting and experiencing the depth of this grief is essential.
A few years ago, we travelled together to the source of the river Rhône, and saw how far the glacier had receded. Antony wrote a song called Earth Blues, which he sang there; we documented our trip with photos and videos. The musical video which resulted from this exploration can be seen here. https://www.gyreproject.com/home-english
Antony sang the “Earth Blues” a cappella for our guests, then he engaged them in conversation around the themes which highlighted our opening.