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Thursday, 18 July 2013

Nature: "a little less conversation" by Myriam B and Mario Salvucci in the San Lorenzo district of Rome. Photos & text by Glenn Belverio


Butterfly pin by Mario Salvucci

Dear Shaded Viewers,

While I was in Rome covering Alta Roma, my friend the fashion designer Paola Balzano drove me in her Smart Car to the far-flung neighborhood of San Lorenzo. The area, originally a working-class neighborhood, is historically a stronghold for left-wing radicals, anarchists and, later, artists. And while it has mellowed slightly over the years, perhaps because of the arrival of bougie students, it definitely still retains some of its outsider vibe that is distinct from the rest of Rome. (The first time I visited this district was back in 2001, when I was having an affair with a Latin American Marxist whom I met at Europa Multiclub, the gay sauna that is now notoriously owned by the Vatican.)

Myriam B, the jewelry designer with a very bohemian sensibility, has had a studio in San Lorenzo for many years. She was recently introduced by Nunzia Garoffolo to a long-term friend of Diane Pernet's, Mario Salvucci, another jewelry designer. Myriam and Mario hit it off creatively and decided to collaborate on a project called Nature: A Little Less Conversation. (The name was dreamt up by Nunzia, inspired by the Elvis Presley song.)

From the exhibition notes:

Nature: ”a little less conversation” In a world where Nature is daily mortified and destroyed arises “a little less conversation”, a creative dialogue invoking more action. The event speaks out against a sad status quo: Nature is violated and Her guests are the victms, flowers, plants and insects, source of inspiration for the jewelry of Myriam B and Mario Salvucci. The designers have created exclusively for the event a co-branding project under the sign of craftsmanship and sustainability.


No darling, these are not accessories--it's cheese fashioned to look like coral and sea creatures. And it was delicious.


 Myriam B and Mario Salvucci


Collars from the collaboration: Myriam's feathers on Mario's collars.


 Myriam and Mario's spider pins. Diane wears a version of the smaller one in her hair, designed by Mario. The feather version on top is by Myriam. A result of this co-branding project.


 Many of Myriam B's pieces are fashioned from the material that paillettes are made from. She sources the material from a paillette factory in northern Italy that's about one hundred years old.



 What Myriam likes about the paillette material is the opposite from their conventional use: instead of the surface, she prefers the way they look from the side--and from there she creates interesting new shapes for her jewelry.


Tightly strung paillettes come together to imitate deep-sea coral.



 Myriam sports one of her pieces.



 Mario's insect pins are a whimsical delight.


Mario's scorpion pin



Mario's sea-creature hair ornaments. I want to see Diane sporting an octopus.


 The yard of the space in San Lorenzo


 Quirky flower boxes and mural near Myriam's studio. I'm not sure who the woman in the mural is--any readers know? I visited here twice, once with Paola and once with Nunzia and they didn't know.


Political art in San Lorenzo




During WWII San Lorenzo was a leftist stronghold united against Italian Fascism. So, it was with great irony that this was the only area in Rome that was heavily bombed, in 1943, by Allied planes, aimed at disrupting railway communication. The bombing caused extensive damage to the buildings of the district and killed some 1,500 people. Paola and I believe that this building, above, was one of the casualities of that bombing and has been left standing as a political statement.

Thanks for reading.


Glenn Belverio


Posted by Glenn Belverio at 09:35 PM | Permalink


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