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A work by Allegra Hicks
Exhibition open until 31 March

A monumental 63 square meter tapestry of painted linen embroidered with thousands of Murano glass beads is the work that artist Allegra Hicks, known for her signature textiles and embroideries, developed for an exhibition at the Magazzino of Palazzo Polignac in Venice, one of the most important early Renaissance buildings in the city, on the occasion of Italian Glass Week in 2022. This spectacular piece will now occupy a whole room at ICI London. “This piece explores the ephemeral boundaries between ‘inside’ and ‘outside’,” says Allegra Hicks, “between concepts of ‘feminine’ and ‘masculine’. In other words, it is a reflection on the flux of life.”

Allegra Hicks’ s beaded canvases trace an imaginary map on which intersecting beaded ‘paths’ all lead towards the pulsating center, the vulva: l’Origine du Monde. The individually crafted beads set the tone of the work. Their uneven sizes and shades of color capture and reflect light in such a dynamic way as to create the optical illusion of sun rays bouncing off the currents, ripples and waves of a restless ocean. Inside Outside II combines the solemnity of a monumental oeuvre with the fragile intimacy of a three-dimensional watercolour. “Glass is like watercolour” says Hicks as she recalls the artistry of those who embroidered 40 kilos of beads onto the canvas she painted. Since WWII the production of Murano glass-beads has shrunk dramatically. So much so that in 2020 UNESCO listed this ancient craft as an Intangible Cultural Heritage. Glass-bead-making in Murano is approaching extinction: Hicks’s Inside Outside II, pays homage to this ancient craft while also exploring new ways to revive it.

Please book HERE to attend the opening

Allegra HIcks studied Art and Design at the Politecnico in Milan, later specialising in decorative paintings and frescos at the École Superieure de Peinture in Brussels.

She worked in New York under artist Donald Baechler and later in a contemporary art gallery. In time her work developed from frescoes to watercolours, always drawing inspiration from nature, same as with Allegra’s luxury lifestyle brand that garnered international attention in the 90s. In Interior design, she was awarded US Elle Décor’s Best Wallpaper Award and Elle Décor UK’s Best Fabric Award. In 2010 she published An Eye for Design (Abrams Publishing).

Over the past decade, Allegra’s work has developed into large-scale one-off pieces which investigate the diaphanous bridge between art and design. She has exhibited at the Giustini Stagetti Gallery in Rome (2017), then in 2018 at the Intra Gallery in Naples (2018), and later at ICI London . In 2019, Allegra’s work Il Miracolo was selected by curator Mario Codognato for the contemporary art collection at the Pio Monte della Misericordia in Naples. In 2021 she had an exhibition at Baert Gallery in Los Angeles.

Allegra has since begun exploring the three-dimensional, whether through metal work, or embroidery. A selection of her bespoke bronze pieces is available for purchase via the Invisible Collection.

As part of the CULT programme during Design Fair EDIT in Naples (2022) Allegra’s ‘DIVINATION’, depicts the emergence of the inner world, with a play of textures and colours narrating the manifestation of the self and of the unconscious.