12 Pistoia Zoè Gruni
In Zoè Gruni's artistic career, hemp is the fabric that marked the entire course of her initial work, in the course of which she gradually pursued a sculptural exploration of corporeity. This material, so poor and so redolent of hard work and toil, spawned her initial two-dimensional assemblages, which were followed by the headgear and bodygear series (2004 - 2008) -- sculptures for wearing and for living in -- that create hybrid figures mixing the human and animal bodies, almost as though they were primordial presences capable of acquiring a history of their own and of becoming personalities over time.
This type of sculpture encounters its necessary completion the moment the hempen wrapping-cum-clothing is worn and "incorporated"; the cycle comes to an end, on the other hand, with a series of studied photographic sets where the works stand out in the foreground against low horizons, immersed in a cold and timeless light.
Drawing, particularly on a large scale, is another media that the artist uses to work on the metamorphosis of the body: a gesture, drawing marks on a sheet of paper using charcoal, that is once again a kind of performance in a hand-to-hand encounter with a figuration which emerges from the stratifications of personal and collective memory. The forms' anatomical ambiguity (also present in a recent video work) melds with an animal physiognomy, alluding to a return to primordial nature and sparking a reflection on identity. The analysis of the instinctive sentiment of fear as a gut-level feeling that man and beast share alike, paves the way for a broader interpretation of our contemporary society in which the individual comes up against a sense of existential solitude and has difficulty relating to the community.
Zoè Gruni was born in 1982 in Pistoia, where she lives and works.
With a diploma from the Istituto d'Arte in Pistoia, she gained a degree at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Florence in 2006 with a doctoral thesis on Carol Rama. She also opened a contemporary art centre called Studi8 in her home town in the same year, in partnership with Cristiano Coppi and Andrea Lunardi.
In 2003 she took part in a workshop run by artist Bert Theis in the context of the Networking project; in 2005 she participated in an art event called Rotte Metropolitane, curated by Lorenzo Bruni and organised by the Florence Municipal Authority. In 2008 her work was shown alongside Andrea Lunardi's at the Accademia delle Arti del Disegno in Florence for a "Premio Studenti d'Eccellenza" award (the jury consisted of Carlo Sisi and Pierluigi Tazzi).
She has also built up experience in the theatrical field; her sculptures (which can be worn and lived in) were a dramaturgical element in "Conversation With a Stone", a performance that she devised in conjunction with actor and musician Piero Corso and actress Tania Garibba (Festival Via Cava, Roselle, GR, 2007).
Her recent collective exhibitions include: Abitanti Ambienti, curated by Silvia Lucchesi, Galleria Il Ponte, Florence, 2007; and Biennale/3000, participation in a project by Fred Forest, Sao Paulo (Brasil), 2009. Her most recent personal exhibition, Metato, curated by Enrico Pedrini, was presented at the Galerie Depardieu (Nice) in 2008 and at the Galleria Entropyart/in/progress in Naples in 2009.
Address: Via degli Orti 10, Pistoia

Address: Via degli Orti 10, Pistoia
How to get there: 10 min. walk from Pistoia railway station