A Month in the Italian Alps: Documenting an Artist’s Journey

“Sacred geometry,” such as the Golden Ratio and the Seed of Life, is widely accepted as the root of beauty and aesthetic harmony, and represents the single life source from which all being is derived. It is the blueprint of creation and reveals the way that the energy of the universe organizes itself in space. It is these unifying patterns that I will be tuning into, aligning with, and finding inspiration in for my artistic residency in Northern Italy this summer.

Sacred geometry can be found in human bodies, music, art and architecture, and is overwhelmingly present in animals and their habitats. The rich Italian landscape, which holds numerous artifacts of significant moments in human history scattered within, lends itself perfectly to researching these within these fields. I will land in Rome June 29th 2021, ready to immerse myself in art and architecture, and follow this trajectory to Florence, finishing out my first week in Italy in the home of Botticelli’s Birth of Venus and Brunelleschi’s Dome. 

While discovering patterns created by humans in art and architecture will be an important facet of my research, the bulk of my project will be engaging with the “natural world.” My fellowship at the “Nature, Art & Habitat Residency” (NAHR) will take place deep in the Italian Alps, in Val Taleggio, a bio-diverse mountain region 2-3 hours north of Milan. Val Taleggio and the surrounding area provide a unique opportunity to study and engage with a largely protected natural landscape and ecosystem. Arriving in the valley July 6th, I will continue my academic, anthropological and ecological field research as the basis of my art-making process there for 4 more weeks. 

I invite you to follow along with me as I examine and document instances of sacred geometry in the land and nature, deriving inspiration for my art. I will practice respectful and sustainable foraging, testing the physical properties of the natural landscape, like pigmentation, adhesion, and structural integrity, to aid in the making of weavings, clays, natural glues, paints, paper, and more. As I experiment with and study these age-old creative techniques, which are largely brand new to me, I will share with you my processes and discoveries. Learn more about the 2021 Nature, Art and Habitat Residency here.

As the culmination of my research, I will craft a sculpture garden from the natural raw materials found in Val Taleggio and create a movement score which will activate the site specific work. In contrast with modern architecture, there will be no static final product. Rather, the dance will move through the garden like wind, and the sculptures will decompose over time and return to the earth, in accordance with the natural cycles of the landscape. For me, it will involve practicing non-attachment: while documenting the slow decomposition of the garden is tempting, it would play into the human impulse to horde moments, experiences, and things. Come August, I will depart Italy, and allow the earth to take back that which briefly became art, having introduced nothing foreign into the landscape. 

By examining the human obsession with permanence in stark contrast to the temporality of the earth, honoring death, forgetting, and decomposition as natural, I hope that we can begin to rediscover the balance for which our global ecosystem is yearning. The responsiveness and dynamism in nature is key to harmony among all beings, and through exploring sacred geometry, we can further discover the unity of creation.

Stay tuned for my next post, sharing my findings in Rome and Florence, as I search for the sacred geometry present in ancient human art and architecture. Feel free to get in touch if you’d like to discuss further, or have any recommendations in Rome, Florence, and beyond! I would love to hear from you (liliadeering@alum.calarts.edu).


Lilia Deering (She/Her) is an LA based artist with a focus in environment design within a variety of contexts including the stage, the gallery, film, and experiences. Coming from a background in dance and performing arts, Deering’s overall goal is to push boundaries in world-building and visual storytelling. She is interested in collaborating with diverse creative minds, and is not limited by any single medium, experimenting with various materials and technologies to spark curiosity and ignite the imagination.

3 Comments

  1. I am so fascinated by this and beyond excited to hear and see more about your time in Italy. I eagerly await your next post!!

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