Sophie Cunningham

Lemon Bed Attempt No. 1
Lemons, Bamboo

Wood, Talcum Powder

A Gift From Glasgow,
100 Newspapers to be sent to National Library of Florence. After the flood newspapers were washed away and local history was lost. I invited people from Glasgow to draw thier own headlines to give to Florence as a present.

A Gift From Glasgow. Newspaper drawings.

Boboli Gates,
Marble Collum, Bamboo, Papermache Pineapples.


THE FLOOD (2015 - 2016)

On November¬≠¬≠ 4th, 1966 Florence experienced a detrimental flood, as the river pounded up to 40miles per hour gushing water with mud and debris directly into the streets of Florence. It damaged monumental buildings, and destroyed thousands of culturally important artefacts. The Uffizi Galleries historically important collections where damaged or lost and in the Nazionale Centrale (One of Europe’s richest libraries) thousands of newspapers and journals disappeared, a prime source of modern Italian history.

After the flood, people came to Florence from around the word to retain and save as much culture and art as possible. Talcum power was dusted over statues to draw out the moisture and oils. Human chains where created on the streets to remove historical artefacts from damaged surroundings. This scale of interest in these objects is remarkable, they seem to have the same value as a human life.

Once removed from the remnants of the flood, artworks were taken to an ‘Art Hospital’ in the Boboli Gardens, Florence. The Limonaia, a winter shelter for lemon trees was converted into a hospital for art works. Rows of double decker steel beds housed over 240 artefacts. Each covered in Japanese mulberry paper to prevent paint from flaking, and nystatin was sprayed as an antibiotic to stop the growth of mould.

This body of artwork has rooted from an interest in peoples need to preserve history from an anthropological perspective. The works presented are made with a provisional nature and have a sketch-like quality. From the sculptural to the photographic, Sophie’s artworks encompass the provisional nature of drawing. Often a hybrid of materials the works present a dynamic form of collage, from the juxtaposition of objects to the re-telling of stories. The works attempt to filter elements of the anthropological and cultural identity and the shared history of others. This created a perspective of the past that has shaped us; these interconnected works simultaneously straddle strange areas of the sad, happy and serious.