Italian-Thai artist Giulia Peyrone is a contemporary artist and designer who established her first studio in Brooklyn, New York, in 2016. Now in Florence, you may have seen her large-scale installations beside Ponte Vecchio and piazza de’ Pitti in a somewhat unusual setting: construction sites. Giulia was inspired to beautify the otherwise cold exterior of scaffolding and to insert contemporary art into contexts where it might not be expected.
Contemporary artist and designer, Giulia Peyrone
With a background in fashion design, her work takes a fabric focus with textiles as her main artistic output. Three years after opening her studio in Brooklyn, she launched ‘GIULIA’, her soft accessories line consisting of Thai silk scarves, bags and, most recently, furniture. In August 2020, Peyrone introduced her second studio to pursue her varied practices of painting, drawing, printmaking and installations outside New York, her first public installation being beside the historic Ponte Vecchio in November 2020. Living and working between New York and Florence with retailers in Seoul, Giulia credits her Thai mother and Italian father for her cultural curiosity and how that has shaped the work she produces today. “A lot of my inspiration comes from my surroundings and where I am in the moment: the landscape here in Florence, the sunset and sky, people’s energy, and the landmarks such as piazza del Duomo. I’ve been coming to Florence since I was a child and have always been fascinated by the sunset here and the natural light.”
Specifically created to be enjoyed outdoors given museum and gallery closures, the massive construction-grade canvas stars the Duomo in the work titled Progetto Tendi Industriali. The original painting, Piazza del Duomo, was printed on standard debris netting and installed by the team at Iniziative Edili srl, a leading restoration construction company in Florence. Brunelleschi’s dome is featured as a repeated pattern that is typical of Peyrone’s work. “Ever since I was a child, I’ve always loved repetition such as in graph charts, and I’ve always liked the theory of Humankind vs. Machine. I like to make people question whether something was produced by hand or by industry.” Having had its first outing beside the Ponte Vecchio, it has now been installed in piazza de’ Pitti, mere feet from the cultural icon, Palazzo Pitti, on show until May 15. Measuring 15.5 x 12 metres, it’s her largest work to date.
Photo courtesy of the artist
The artist realized that the nondescript coverings of buildings under construction were eyesores in the comely piazzas and streets of Florence; they were crying out for a more intriguing display. “Art is for everybody, definitely when galleries were closed, but even if not. I think it’s a good idea to bring art to the people. My goal is for people to have something spark inside of them when they see my work, whether it’s good or bad or anything. I want people to feel something when they look at it and also to be surprised by it as they walk through the piazza”. Unconventional ways of displaying art have certainly sustained us through the months of museum closures: “I get inspired by the past, but I’m interested to see how we can make it move forward also.”
Textile by GIULIA
Giulia’s oeuvre is ever-expanding as she experiments with different mediums. “What I do everyday is I like to document everything. If I go somewhere or I experience something, I like to have my notebook and to document it, be it a text or a colour. If I come across something that particularly interests me, I like to explore it further, whether it’s using different techniques or just finding some way to convey my message in a different form.”
With works spanning paintings, embroidery, and even stuffed animals, the artist’s collection is set to include pop sculpture and further textile objects as well as, of course, future plans for the now well-known monumental canvas.