The Florentine Crumb Gallery hosts a site-specific work by Lucy Jochamowitz, the artist who investigates living and the female body ​

Building the house is the title of the exhibition that Crumb Gallery of Florence host right now. A house that is a work of art, which tells many stories, those of all of us who inhabit planet earth today. A house - world, as the artist Lucy Jochamowitz defines it, author of this site-specific work for the Florentine space and culmination of a long research on the living dimension. We talked about it with her.

Why did you choose the house as a form and object of work?

Lucy Jochamowitz: «I started working on the theme of the house in 2022, perhaps it stems from my condition of not being born here, of having arrived in Italy in 1979 from Peru.

Only now have I really started to ask myself where I feel at home. This is why I like to quote Novalis when she writes: “Where are we going? Always at home".

Because the verb to go strikes me: it is not a movement in space but the search for all of life. The house then is a landing place, refuge, hearth, warmth. Initially I worked on Casa Fragil, the fragile house, because it is always under construction and is never the conclusion of a journey. Rather, I mean the house as a body, as it can be for the snail or the turtle. My research continued in this direction."

Is the house-body a female body?

Lucy Jochamowitz: «In 2004 I made an installation entitled Palabra Rossa which was a large skirt made of bare hawthorn branches dyed red, like a skeleton, a coral or like capillaries. It represented the inside, as if I had removed the skin from the skirt or perhaps from the female body it represents. For me, the skirt has long had the meaning of home, laid bare here."

This time for Crumb Gallery he created a house in its essential form, whose walls are painted arms. Why?

Lucy Jochamowitz: «First of all because my architectural idea is only planning, in the sense that it is a planning that is realized over time. And it's made of arms. But be careful, they are not "happy" arms, for the sake of the series let's all hug each other. They indicate a network and the idea is that we are all part of the same network.

There is an Indian myth that talks about Indra's network, the one that a man sees when his wife covers his eyes: an infinite connection of all things. Here, we are a whole.

And the arms of my work seek, embrace, cling, reject... as in a totality. So building is also building bonds. Which can go bad, then the house will fall apart. However, everything starts from an initial design."

Which one?

Lucy Jochamowitz: «A small drawing measuring 15x18 of a female figure full of arms embracing her. It is the departure of this journey because it represents self-care. Without this embrace that comes from everyone to love each other it is not possible to become aware of who we are on earth.

We are all called to work on ourselves to be able to embrace humanity, nature, the entire planet. Mine is a house made of air, earth, water, humans, animals, plants...And we need to be aware of what we are doing on earth. This house, in fact, is a house of many houses."

You cannot enter his work, but the door is ajar and you can glimpse an internal light. Why?

Lucy Jochamowitz: «The house only has walls and a half-open door (or ajar, as you prefer), from which you can glimpse that the house is alive, there is a beating heart, that is, a small house on a pedestal and a ladder that cannot reach her, even if she would like to."


Lucy Jochamowitz: «No, there is no nostalgia, there is wondering where we are going, looking forward (and not at the past). What are we doing with this house - so it's in such bad shape?

Then, of course, I can't avoid it: when you have an exhibition it's like turning over the glove of your own history and a part of me certainly appears. I'm a migrant, I wonder where I'm going and what I'm building. But you don't have to be migrants, we are all involved and emotionally responsible."

Crumb Gallery is a very special reality: it is run only by women and hosts female artists. No, don't worry, it doesn't talk about gender art, rather it helps to make up for that gender gap (yes) which is also felt in the art world: fewer exhibitions for female artists, fewer publications, lower prices, less job opportunities.

And Crumb has decided to help them seriously: he has them exhibit, sells their works and creates catalogs of each exhibition. Rory Cappelli, one of the founders together with Lea Codognato, Adriana Lupertoand EmanuelaMollicabriefly tells us their story: they created Crumb in 2019 from different professions, but united by a passion for art.

Which they decide to dedicate to women, disadvantaged, never told in the history of art which continues to reserve them a minor role. Only 25% of exhibitions in Italy are by female artists, explains Cappelli, in an art market that is 90 percent male with a very high inequality of prices, precisely because the elements that make up a price are group exhibitions, solo exhibitions and publications.

Lucy Jochamowitz, Building the House, Crumb Gallery, via San Gallo 191rosso, Florence, open until March 9th on Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 4.00pm to 7.00pm