By Bridget Bowers
Florence University of the Arts-The American University of Florence hosted the Interi Exhibition showcasing their Florence Fragment Collection at Corridoio Fiorentino.
This exhibit ran from the 23rd of June until August 2nd .
Interi is an art restoration business that preserves old artefacts from Italian churches that have been destroyed over time. Each relic is carefully restored into a unique sculptural art that represents the
beauty of its origins. Every single piece is reconstructed with minerals and specimens from all over the world, including the churches they originally came from. The Florence Fragment
Collection specifically restored historic fragment artefacts that were destroyed in the 1966 flood of Arno. Jean O’Reilly Barlow, the founder of Interi, worked with a collaborator who picked up each
fragment from the water and kept them in a warehouse until the day O’Reilly Barlow brought them to the U.S.
This exhibition allows these artefacts to be brought back to their original home forcing the preservation of the genuine beauty that was destroyed on that day in 1966. O’Reilly Barlow fragments are
paired with specific minerals to create the idea that they were never destroyed, but only underwent a natural metamorphosis that merged the two together. This collection reinvents artistry that
demands the FUA-AUF students and visitors to think about their own value and worth. Each relic was destroyed beyond repair, covered in muck and stored away for years. One opportunity found these
fragments a new unique representation of their own beauty that was always there. This collaboration gave the FUA-AUF students the opportunity to dive deeper into the exhibit as O’Reilly Barlow worked
jointly with students from the Gallery Exhibition and Curating course to set up the exhibition.
Beyond the Florence Fragment Collection exhibition, FUA-AUF also invited O’Reilly Barlow to be a guest lecturer many FUA-AUF courses.
Jean shared that she had invaluable conversations with the students after the lectures, teaching them the simple lessons of taking risks
and following your heart. FUA-AUF is honoured to have had the opportunity to host an incredibly powerful and thought-demanding exhibition. Although the
exhibit is no longer running at Corridoio Fiorentino, FUA-AUF encourages its students to look through the muck and learn from
O’Reilly Barlow and her Florence Fragment Collection to find beauty in something someone else would throw away.