Marianna Kennedy, Hortus Alchemicus

Art Pavilion


On Wednesday 12 April, Fondazione Luigi Rovati, in collaboration with PLVR Zurich, presents an exhibition by London-based artist and designer Marianna Kennedy entitled Hortus Alchemicus.


Conceived for the spaces of the Garden Art Pavilion, the exhibition will be open to the public free of charge until May 21st, 2023.


The exhibition features six bronze mirrors with floral motifs inspired by the gardens of Villa Buonaccorsi in the Marche region. Located on the hill of Montesanto, near the historic centre of Potenza Picena, the villa and its gardens are a perfect example of an 18th century country residence. The garden, divided into five terraces, includes rare plants, fountains, water features, obelisks and several stone figures inspired by the Commedia dell'Arte.


The title of the series of mirrors, Hortus Alchemicus, derives from the alchemical use of ancient patinas for bronze objects. Each bronze frame is individualized by a different patina; rediscovered 18th century formulas were applied by a craftsman specializing in the art of fire gilding.


In a comparison of ancient and modern patination techniques, Marianna Kennedy's mirrors are juxtaposed with an Etruscan bronze mirror from the Luigi Rovati Foundation collection.


A video set in the gardens of Villa Buonaccorsi is presented in the exhibition: the artist moves through the environment that inspired Hortus Alchemicus. The video is directed by Annie Schlechter and produced by PLVR Zürich, with music composed by Vittorio Giampietro. The narrator is actor Tilda Swinton.


Each mirror, a unique version of the series of six, is accompanied by a dedicated catalogue, produced as a single copy. Designed by Marianna Kennedy and printed at Evergreen Press on J. Green Bodleian and Ruscombe Mill Cox's Trial paper handmade by John Grice, the catalogue is written in Gill Sans typeface and is bound by Charles Gledhill in Spitalfields, London. Each cover is hand-painted by Kennedy who was inspired by decorative elements of the 18th century frescoes painted by Benedetto Biancolini. in the Loggia of Villa Buonaccorsi.


Hortus Alchemicus

April 12th – May 21st, 2023

Art Pavilion

Corso Venezia 52, Milano

Free entry