Bella Hunt & DDC are a duo of French-American sculptors living and working in Marseille . Using ancient techniques and processes such as stucco-lime and ceramic, the duo focusses on a practice of creation around objects such as vessels, wall-based sculpture, fountains, and a fantastic figurative statuary, with organic accents. Paying particular homage to William Morris and the Modern Fantasy genre, their practice sets out to blur the boundaries between the minor and the major arts; promote domestic art and the handmade and renew a relationship between decoration and design.
Bella Hunt & DDC are also founders of the collective Southway Studio- an international and interdisciplinary residency and 'living work of art' evolving installation occupying a converted villa in Marseille - attempting to retain the villa's characteristics of its urban history as a place for craftsmen and workers. The studio and exhibition space offers a rich cultural space driven by the objective of reflecting on the interactions between art and craft and the group of artists within Southway Studio often design and produce works of art for the domestic setting.
Works by Bella Hunt & DDC collapse the decorative and philosophical preoccupations of many historical artistic movements. Permeations from and not limited to the esoteric, English and Celtic folklore, medieval and Gothic art history and Art Nouveau all contribute in some part to their aesthetic. However, Bella Hunt & DDC continue to pay particular homage to the principles and aesthetic crucial to the English Arts and Crafts movements and the Pre-Raphaelite brotherhood, from which they borrow their surnames. Emmanuelle Luciani ( Bella) plays with the name William Hunt, DDC – for Dante di Calce or Dante de la Chaux – refers to Dante Gabriele Rossetti, arguably the the movement’s most famed trecentist.
More recent works see the duo seeking to blur material thresholds - in particular between fabric and stone - both in their formal appearance and the iridescent glazed surface of the works. These petroleum glazes are the result of many years of experimentation.
Bella Hunt & DDC’s works at the same time as they make unexpected connections between past, present and future. In several new works Bella Hunt & DDC occupy themselves with the iconography of contemporary car design. Swooping sculptural objects recall ornately contoured panels of car bodywork, while gleaming vessels suggest the trophies awarded at Formula One races. If cars are often associated with the ruthless, machismo-fuelled modernism of the Futurists in the early twentieth century – Bella Hunt & DDC instead recover connections with the very different visual language of medieval ceremony.
A radiator grille is reimagined as a knight’s helmet, a wall hanging as heraldic drapery, a trophy as an ancient funeral urn. By looking backwards to the middle ages as a way of looking forwards, the artists gesture towards an alternate, more humane vision of modernity and the dream of movement and progress, and a new fusion of mass-production and artisanal techniques.
Bella Hunt studied Fine Art at Les Beaux-Arts in Marseille and Art History at Università di Roma in Rome. Dante Di Calce is self-taught, and comes from a family of craftsmen and artists.
Exhibitions include History of Fantasy Part II (an otherworldly sight) Bella Hunt & DDC + Southway Studio, Cob Gallery, London, UK (2023); Drive to Survive, Saint Anne Gallery, Paris, France (2023); Uncanny Depths, curated by Emmanuelle Luciani, MAMO, Marseille, France (2022); Species of spaces, curated by Alexandra Romy, Miami, USA (2022); Objets Modernes, collection Charles et Marie-Laure de Noailles, Villa Noailles, Hyères, France (2022); Weirdness Boudoir, curated by Emmanuelle Luciani, Art - O Rama, Marseille, France (2022); Royal Fantasy, curated by Emmanuelle Luciani, Sainte-Anne Gallery, Paris, France (2021); History of Fantasy, curated by Emmanuelle Luciani, Everyday Gallery, Anvers, Belgium (2021); Too fast too knight, curated by Emmanuelle Luciani and Daniel Fuller, A. Romy Gallery, Zurich, Switzerland (2021); Anima Mundi, curated by Emmanuelle Luciani, Manifesta 13, Abbaye Saint-Victor, Marseille, France (2021); Les Chemins du Sud curated by Emmanuelle Luciani, Musée régional d’art contemporain, Sérignan, France (2019); Santibelli, curated by Emmanuelle Luciani & Charlotte Cosson dialogue avec la collection Pierre Bergé, Musée Estrine, Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, France (2019); Southway Austin with Andrew Humke, Austin, Texas, USA (2019); DOMESTIC – Like Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, curated by Emmanuelle Luciani & Charlotte Cosson, galerie Truth & Consequences, Geneva, Switzerland (2017); Pre-Historic, curated by Emmanuelle Luciani & Charlotte, Cosson Leclere centre d’art, Marseille, France (2017).