JODI LE BIGRE
John Kinross Scholar in 2016
How did the experience affect you as an individual?
The scholarship felt incredibly precious. It meant I had the time to really absorb the art and history of Florence in a way that I would certainly never have been able to otherwise. I had the time to linger and look slowly and carefully, to chase up things that I was interested in knowing more about as well as things I didn’t think I was interested in initially (but which later turned out to be fascinating to me). Being able to look at art close up and in person allowed me to understand aspects of its construction that I otherwise would have only wondered about, and seeing works in context was also invaluable and taught me a great deal about display and curation and art history generally. The opportunity to learn from a talented local traditional bookbinder and printmaker was also a highlight for me.
What was the impact on your practice?
Numerous new routes of inquiry and research were opened up by my time there. Florence is spectacular for the way that power and politics are so clearly and transparently expressed across the city through its art collections and built environment. The way that all this play into artistic representation of the natural world was something that has deeply affected my own work on a conceptual level. From a technical standpoint, having a wealth of egg tempera paintings to study was wonderful — there really aren’t many places in the world where this technique can be so readily studied! Having this opportunity made me think a lot about colours and pigment combinations, as did observing so many old frescoes.
What would you say the long term impact has been on yourself and you work?
It has only been a short time since I received the scholarship, but I would imagine that the time I spent researching in Florence will continue to have an impact on my practice. Whether it is in researching the use of exotic species in political self-positioning or the global trade of agricultural products (two areas I have recently been exploring), there is a wealth of rich background material in the renaissance collections I was able to explore in Florence. Likewise, the incredible beauty of the city and its surroundings certainly will have an impact on the way I see things going ahead.