Everything Made Bronze makes compelling use of one of the most renowned of architect Carlo Scarpa's buildings, the Gipsoteca plaster-cast gallery in the Museo Canova, in Possagno, Northern Italy. Shot using a static camera, the film follows the play of light in the Gipsotecaover a number of days as it produces a constantly fluid and changing environment for the appreciation of Canova's plaster-casts and small-scale terracotta maquettes.
In the Gipsoteca, a small gallery designed without artificial lighting, the extraordinary environment suggests poise, stillness and undisturbed contemplation. However, the nearby Dolomite mountains produce sudden changes in the weather, and the daylight - on which the gallery relies - is in constant flux as the sun is veiled in cloud or suddenly reappears to bath the space in a warm, gilded luminescence. The quietness of the Gipsoteca is contrasted with the everyday bustle of the Venice-based plaster workshops of Eugenio de Luigi, one of Scarpa's most important collaborators. Here a conversation with Eugenio’s son Guido leads a hand-held camera around their busy space; filled with drawings, samples and photographs from the numerous projects his father collaborated on with Scarpa.
This episodic structure is also interwoven with extreme close-ups and prismatic detail of a model of the Gypsotheca made from blocks of clear acrylic. The whole thing is designed to forge a relationship between Scarpa's revelatory use of natural light – a use that produces multiple reflections, refraction, montage and naturally occurring super-impositions that change from moment to moment – and the ability of a simple hand-wound film camera to ‘look in’, ‘through’, and ‘between’ architectural space.
The film’s title refers to an anecdote describing Scarpa’s fascination with the detail (and in particular those in machined metal – hinges, door furniture and fixings) and his stated objective to rescue the Canova plasters from ‘cold northern light’.
Focusing on the relationship between film and architecture and exploring the fundamental role of light in articulating modernist architectural space Everything Made Bronze develops the artists’ abiding formal preoccupations – the camera’s ability to produce ambiguities of scale, depth or shallowness, counter-intuitive forms of transparency and reflection – and centres on the altered forms of attention, and the resulting intensity of looking, that comes from using the camera to magnify and study architectural details and fleeting atmospheric effects.