The Mead Awards have been generously supported by Scott Mead and The Mead Family Foundation since 2013. The UAL Mead Rome Residency extends the Mead Awards programme to PhD students, providing them with a 4-week residency in a studio at the British School at Rome (BSR).
Here Ana reports back on her experience.
My research project aims to investigate ideas about artistic identity, originality and ethics by copying other artists’ paintings and drawings. I am interested in establishing a working relationship with the artists to decide the destiny and relationship of the copies I create. One of the artists I want to investigate is Alessandro Twombly, whose visual language is very similar to that of his father, Cy Twombly. Rome, where both artists live/lived, is an important visual and thematic influence on Cy Twombly’s work and so would provide good insight into the artistic identity and legacy of the two artists.
I divided my time between the significant sites for my research and studio work: I visited the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea’s archive where biographical material about Cy Twombly was kept. I aimed to understand the importance of Twombly in Rome and to identify the galleries and collectors who were interested in his work.
In the permanent collection, I focused on The Fall of Hyperion. This specific painting was significant for my project because of its diversity of gestures, materials, and its resemblance to Alessandro’s own paintings, which I intended to study and replicate in the studio. The fact that the gallery was next door to the British School at Rome (BSR) was a huge bonus as I was able to see the painting several times a day while painting in the studio and consequently gain a better understanding of its materiality. Rome itself - the light, the colours, the energy, and some of the paintings in the museums - was also important in the understanding of Cy Twombly’s oeuvre.
My painting studies
In order to look at Alessandro Twombly’s work, I visited Alessandra Bonomo, the gallery that represents him. I met Alessandro and we spoke about his work and a possible interview to include in my case studies.
At the end of the meeting, Alessandro agreed to let me visit his house where he goes sometimes and where his father lived.
Alessandro Twombly research
The studio work consisted of studying the artistic languages of father and son visually, through mimicking the gestures both artists’ performed in their paintings. At the same time, I focused on finding a ‘place’ for my own response to Rome within their language using painting, drawing, photography and video.
More BSR studio photos
The BSR provided an incredible space to make work: quiet, spacious and with resources such as a library and workshop. The most rewarding aspect was the relationships created with the other researchers and artists with whom we discussed our projects and time in Rome over breakfasts and dinners. I owe to some of the artists the direction that my research took and the contacts acquired for future research on the Twomblys.
I highly recommend the residency to other students. The space and time dedicated exclusively to research is unique; a change of environment facilitates fresh insights; and new relationships open unexpected avenues that strengthen research.