Images courtesy of Italo Lanfredini / italolanfredini.it
The exterior brick wall of La Silenziosa, Italo Lanfredini’s home studio open air museum near Commessaggio, Italy, features one Wall of songs (Muro del canto). A poem by the world-famous Italian jazz musician Giorgio Gaslini greets the visitor at the gate amidst labeled terracotta tiles:
Il dolce maestro ispirato
concert i virtuosi del creato
lasciate le sate affollate
acculturate di metropoli.
Sorride evocando armonie,
intreccia del vento le polifonie
e infine da ’il ria alla solo
del gaio e sottile usignolo
Open air concert
The sweet master inspires a concert
and the virtuosos of creation
leave the cultivated metropolis “
Smiling, he dreams of harmonies,
the complex polyphonies of the wind
and at the end he gives the solo song
the gay and tender nightingale.
In Librino on the east coast of Sicily, another wall greets passers-by. The “Gate of Beauty” (Porta della Bellezza) is a 120 square meter terracotta installation that was created in 2008–2009 with contributions from the children of Librano. It adorns the sides and top of an underpass with a terracotta veneer inscribed with poems, characters, phrases, numbers and drawings. These are the artist’s invitations into his world.
Inside La Silenziosa everything bears the mark of the artist’s hands, from the house he renovated to the studio he lovingly designed from the stables of this 18th century building to the 15,000-Square meter campus. In twenty-three years he planted 1,500 Tamarind, plum and mirabelle plum trees, hawthorn, oak, maple, walnut, mulberry and cherry trees, grapes and ginkgo bilobas replaced trees with Dutch elm disease. He orchestrated the campus into a sculpture park. A Google Earth view of La Silenziosa shows several structures including The great diameter (Il Grande Raggio), the earth of the earth or the garden of the soul (Terra della terra o Giardino dell’anima), the origins (Origine), the nest (I nidi), the matrix of the seeds (Grembo del Seme ), and The mobile forest (Foresta Impugnabile). In be Atelier are found objects, old wood, ongoing terracotta work and handmade paper.
Lanfredini is physically involved in his creative work from start to finish. Sculpture is a dialogue between his medium and his hands; he regards the hands as those Enlargement of the brain. The sign of the hands on a work of art captures the moment of creation. The hands exercise strength and control and confirm the humanity of the sculpture and the closeness between nature and product. A playful affirmation of being, this is hard work that brings creation and destruction close together. In the words of a sculptor colleague, Fausto Melotti, “the artist plays and, through the anger of playing, peels his hands.”
Sculpture is a dialogue between his medium and his hands; he sees the hands as an extension of the brain. The sign of the hands on a work of art captures the moment of creation.
The poetics of space
In order to be able to see a future sculpture better, Lanfredini listens to the aura of the place where it is supposed to be. From his sounds and colors, moods and sensations he can guess what is not there yet and what he will reveal through his spatial symbols. Each of his sculptures is specifically placed in the room to invite a journey through time and imagination. it becomes a cross between cultural and human experiences, a poetic object that represents a moment in time and culture and yet contains the memory of its original form. Lanfredini is resolutely anti-modern and regains the centrality and specificity of space and connects earth and sky with nature and time. Such a concept is strongly influenced by Gaston Bachelard’s poetics of space and its inner / outer, open / closed constructs. These binary paradigms and their unconscious “negatives” enable almost endless connections between geometric / logical space and natural space. With this in mind, Lanfredini is doing for space what Alan Lightman did for time in Einstein’s dreams: It opens up infinite combinations of shapes, spaces and distances.
Lanfredini does for space what Alan Lightman did for time in Einstein’s dreams: It opens up infinite combinations of shapes, spaces and distances.
The “organic looking” quality of his work anchors them in their space and makes them look as if they have always been in this particular place. Like Bachelard, Lanfredini prefers creations that reveal “fundamental images” and archetypes – thresholds, circles, stairs, boats, nests, eggs, fences, forests, gates and labyrinths – which he fills with personal, contemporary content and at the same time the origin of creation highlights. In the 1970s, he preferred matrices related to separating and separating, the primordial space that creates light, vibration, song and thought. During this time he realized the series Encounters at the fountain of life (Incontri e Fonte di Vita), The Gods (Gli Dei), Venus (Le Veneri), and Broken columns (Le Colonne squarciate).
In the mid-1970s, Lanfredini’s sculptures took on a broader dimension and began to blend more closely with their surrounding spaces. He preferred interactive works of art that were in dialogue with the places in which they were placed, and made places of transit and wandering such as thresholds, mazes, gates and gardens designed to be crossed and experienced. His most famous work of the 1980s is Ariadne’s Labyrinth (Labirinto di Arianna), selected by the International Sculpture Competition sponsored by Antonio Presti, creator of the Fiumara d’Arte open-air museum on the north coast of Sicily in Catana. There Lanfredini painted and burned cement from 1988–1989 on the high cape of the Nebrodi Mountains above the village of Castel di Lucio. The meditative effect of the labyrinth was inspired by documentaries The Italian state television RAI and the European broadcaster Arte since 1989. The Chilean producer Raul Ruiz shot part of his surrealist film there The Secret Journey: Lives of Saints and Sinners. By joining this project, Lanfredini reaffirmed his desire to heal the land and reclaim a deserted area of Sicily, even if it meant becoming part of a controversial project that was recently recognized as a national artist only after 25 years of court battles, treasure.
Lanfredini’s labyrinths are partly inspired by Mantua’s Ducal Palace, a labyrinth of five hundred rooms. You resonate Polish poet Wisława Szymborska and the Argentine poet Jorge Luis Borges. For Szymborska, lAbyrinths are a metaphor for life stopping progress into the unknown amid confusing possibilities. Borges’ concept of “Magical realism” (i.e. the juxtaposition of realistic everyday ordinary scenes and fantastic, nightmarish or supernatural incantations related to myths and fairy tales) suggested to him the possibility of depicting what is and what could be through unfamiliar breaks and passages.
Lanfredini’s sculptures are less a finished product than an aesthetic narrative have a “dynamic orientation” and Promote the creative process. They are not objective, not monumental and not memorable. They have to be entered, crossed, examined and traversed. Each viewer extends the creative process with his own interpretation when he interacts with the sculpture physically, emotionally and spiritually. Websites Lanfredini’s sculptures emerge from exchange, encounter and reflection sacred poetic vessels; he is I hesitate to explain them so that his words don’t interfere with the viewer’s spontaneous, playful experience. The work of the artist and the viewer “must be done with passion and love, without ever losing the desire to play.” This is how art becomes gives a voice to space and objects that have no voice; Art creates words and words create poetry.
Lanfredini’s sculptures should be entered, crossed, examined and traversed. Each viewer extends the creative process with his own interpretation when he interacts with the sculpture physically, emotionally and spiritually.
Sculpture and poetry
Thirty years ago, Lanfredini began to associate poetry more directly with his sculptures The sieve (La Scernita)1992-1993. The title of the sculpture comes from a lunette by Giulio Romano in the famous Room of Love and Psyche in the Palazzo del Te in Mantua, and in particular from a fresco depicting a young woman preparing to sift wheat. Lanfredini made 2,500 small terracotta sculptures of various shapes and placed them on either side of a large terracotta sieve (more than 120 cm in diameter), the upright position of which made a playful commentary on the capricious nature of choice and choice, time and the mental process the order of the world.
In 1993 Lanfredini put together a book to accompany his work of art. He was looking for renowned poets and kindergarten teachers of two elementary schools because they are free from preconceived ideas. By encouraging this multigenerational encounter, he intersected the past, present, and future. Every text is handwritten. Completely handmade and still unpublished to this day, the book is “a work in a work”. The cardboard cover has a terracotta insert. The 115 pages of the book contain forty-eight poems, including one by educationalist Mario Lodi, fifteen of Lanfredini’s own drawings and texts by over a hundred children.
There’s breaking and breaking
There are those who struggle to kill themselves
look for gold in the rock
and silver and other similar things
(Giobatta and Piero for example).
Happiness is who can
Build a palace or a mansion
all gold and silver;
you enjoy servants and women, in the end you die:
It doesn’t matter how
It doesn’t matter when
but he collapses too stupidly
the lucky rich man.
But I wanted to tell you that I rank
the land of my vegetable garden and when
I find a fragment of a plate or a bowl
I am happy because I think
it was not used in passing
from my ancestors and my father and mother.
I found many pieces
and this is my darling
and my gold.
I’ll die too, I’ll break too;
but it dies and dies
break and break:
the real sun and the real gold.
Umberto Bellintani (1974)
Sculpture, poetry and music
The alliance between music, poetry and sculpture is a hallmark of Lanfredini’s mature work. For him, poetry has its roots in nature and in the beginnings of mankind, as bird calls were an inspiration for the human voice. He always returns in spirit to the origins of the poetic word. Listening has always been very important to him. Whether it’s the breath of nature, the chirping of birds, human language or jazz, classical music, pop or cantautoraleSound helps him decipher the space and give his work its tempo. Sounds, but also silence, for those who listen, see. The pieces of music that accompany his work are often written for that particular work; they are part of a sculpture and, like poetry, create additional space for reflection and imagination. The first work to be accompanied by music was The sieve. This practice was awarded the “PirogaSeries that characterizes his most recent work. Similar to the Bantu in Africa or the Native Americans in North America, he carved canoes out of tree trunks, in his case 100 years eFilms that had succumbed to Dutch elm disease. This prompted one of the participants to start his latest project, the poet Stuart Dybek to compare Piroga to “A boat that has been hidden in a tree for years. “
The first Piroga, named The cradle of the wind (culla del vento)was made in 1992/93. ON Canoe carved from a single log rests on a wooden ladder. There are thirty-seven terracotta tiles inside, inscribed with texts by writers, musicians, philosophers and poets. These texts will be handed over to posterity and will only be revealed after Lanfredini’s death. The secret acts as a fantasy trigger by projecting the viewer into the future and stimulating thought about the imperfection of knowledge. A second canoe The boat of precious essences: verses to pour – pipes to dreamis located in the deconsecrated church of San Pietro from the 15th century in Gazzuolo. The work was presented by the poet Alberto Cappi, who engaged several Italian and international poets. The Piroga rests on a bed of wood shavings that emit the sound of water when entering; It is located in the nave and carries thirty-six terracotta vases each with a poem and eighty pipes for children. In both works, the echoes of invisible words and sounds create a sense of mystery and reinforce the invisible presence of the sacred.
The Pirogas offer multisensory experiences. Walking through a sculpture means smelling the wood and the terracotta and the surrounding air, touching part of the sculpture, seeing different angles and lights, reading or imagining the poems and listening to the music, the silence or the wind. More importantly, the Pirogas displace sensory habits: walking on wood shavings mimics the sound of ocean waves; The touch of the wind transports the mind into infinite distances and time dimensions. hidden poetic messages induce the frustration of delayed pleasure and inaccessibility, creating a counterpoint with the sculpture’s apparent proximity; liquid food to be carried in small amphorae becomes words to be poured; Poems calligraphed on paper become sails; a fragile sieve stands upright, useless, protected by the objects it is supposed to sort out; and patinated concrete imitates petrified wood or terracotta. In the end, nothing is what it seems. Lanfredini’s materials are playfully “recycled” in a first degree of playful transmutation and reality is transferred from the familiar to the unknown. They reverse the use of objects; The attainable becomes unattainable. An imbalance arises that negates knowledge and forces a return to the source, the divine the origin of thoughts and words, the vibration, the gap from which the light arises.
An imbalance that negates knowledge arises and forces a return to the source, the divine, the origin of thoughts and words, the vibration, the gap from which the light arises.
Lanfredini’s current work-in-progress, The canoe (piroga)is a metaphorical bottle that floats in the sea. Carved from a hundred-year-old poplar trunk, there is a “jewelry box” in the middle with poems on the subject of the sea and love. Once installed on fifty to sixty square meters of wood chips formed from the tree trunk is the Piroga is on these “waves” with the help of “sails” drawn from the poems of the Piroga. Lanfredini explains:
The reason for my piroga and the poets from all possible latitudes in the world is that the poetic word or “over word” has no limits or barriers. Poetry becomes a pretext for association and sharing in multiple languages, all tending to respect the sacredness of places and all beings.
Lanfredini’s original goal was to have poets travel to La Silenziosa, Play with the sculpture and calligraphy your poems on the 30 x 40 cm sheets of handmade paper. Here, too, playfulness is essential. Of one of the poets, the Japanese writer Shizue Ogawa, Lanfredini says: “She shows great mastery in grasping the aura of the place and at the same time enjoying it with her lover. The lover always looks through the eyes of the lover. “Summing up the playfulness, passion and love that are the essential ingredients of her poem, he concludes:” I call all of this truth, and truth is beauty. “
The pandemic made it impossible for poets to travel to La Silenziosa. Instead, poets have emailed the scans of their handwritten texts to Lanfredini, who reproduces them on his special paper. To date, around fifty poets from all continents take part – more than a dozen European countries, poets from North and South America, from East Asia and the Pacific (Japan, China, India, Australia) and the Middle East / North Africa (Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia). The composers Domenico Clapasson and Claudio Cristani write pieces of music. The pandemic delayed the completion of its work, which was originally scheduled for January 2021. All the poems and music in the Piroga must remain unpublished until after the first exhibition, which will hopefully take place in Mantua later this year, and finally travel to the countries of the poets.
Even in its unfinished phase is the Piroga provoked an interesting exchange about sustainability. Australian poet John Kinsella, who wrote a poem for it, asked Lanfredini for permission to use her email correspondence for the book he is currently working with Russell West-Pavlov, Professor of Comparative Culture and Literature in the Global South in Australia , Africa and the US, writes Caribbean. Entitled Per se: The imperatives of place II (Fool, imminent) The book discusses the poetics of space and time and their transformation in today’s world. Kinsella and West-Pavlov contrast Lanfredini’s approach with that of the Future Library project in Oslo, which saw a thousand Norwegian pine trees felled in 2014 to create a safe space to preserve a hundred literary works published on paper from one in 2114 Thousands of new pines were planted to replace the jungle.
West Pavlov wrote in a private email to Lanfredini in December 2020, praising him for “the way it goes [project] actively participates in an ethos of sustainability and nature Regenerativity. “He qualified Lanfredini’s sculpture as one of” elementary food, connective travel and uniform design ” [that] speaks volumes in a world of rising sea levels, drowning refugees, and immense bush and forest fires that are destroying the world’s forests. “Borrowing from the Per se Manuscript, West Pavlov added that “tThe ‘arks’ Lanfredini builds, full-size pirogues carved out of fallen trees in the truest sense of the word and supposed to carry a load of poetic texts, speak in their own language for an age of sylvanacid and ecocide, rising sea levels and drowning refugees worldwide. The tree, which lives on on its natural path of growth, decay and maintenance, speaks of a temporality that does not arise from pause or hubris, but from holding (not only in the archival sense), care, care and regeneration. “
Open spaces are another notable part of Lanfredini’s work. The Lost Wanderer’s Threshold is a large oak and elm sculpture that was realized in 2012 (350 x 270 x 216 cm). This sculpture is reminiscent of his labyrinths and is a linchpin of life’s decisions. Each threshold opens up a multitude of possibilities, each of which leads into memory or into the unknown. There is no poetry or music, only the blatant collusion of the past and the future, of the lost and the found, an arrangement that removes one of all illusions.
The sculpture entitled Three axes (400 x 550 x 350 cm) made of elm in the years 2014–2015 is perhaps Lanfredini’s most minimalist creation. It consists of three wooden beams that rest on one another in a short-lived yet permanent balance that evokes eternity and infinity, connects earth and cosmos and stops time, spirit and soul. His ability to bring physical and mental spaces together and to delimit an open and closed space creates inner silence, distance and meditation. The sculpture is reminiscent of the virtuoso counterpoint of J. S. Bach or the bold improvisations of jazz and awakens the senses and the spirit. His sobriety “makes” the soul “new” and reconnects it with nature and with its own voice. Three axes evokes a coming and going through time and space, describes a linear movement of existence from the beginnings of time, song and language to the distant future.
Lanfredini’s treatment of materials is more than a recycled quality. The art critic Marina Travagliati compares his art, its multitude of signs, weights, traces, footprints and writings with “givers of the flame of light”. Original forms of expression, these are often recovered from old traces, tree resin, old stones or burned wood, which Lanfredini pursues with the passion of an archaeologist or paleontologist in order to inscribe them in the great matrix of human creativity, like 15th century Italian artists or artists of the 20th century such as Brancusi, Klee and Giacometti. Whether he heals, recycles or gives voice to the voiceless and makes the invisible visible, he fulfills his mission as steward of creation, honoring discarded, forgotten or overlooked objects, giving them a new life and sending them into the world to bear testimony Authenticity, truth and beauty.
Whether it is about healing the voiceless, recycling them or giving them a voice and making the invisible visible, Lanfredini fulfills his mission as steward of creation, honoring discarded, forgotten or overlooked objects, giving them a new life and sending them into the world to give testimony to authenticity, truth and beauty.
In his foreword to the book for The sieveLanfredini not only reveals his inspiration for the sculpture, but also his role as an artist:
My walks on the sand of the Po with its relentless fords and nests. My convulsive collection of “precious carryovers”: pebbles, wood, bones, iron, glass, lumps and stones. Surrender to the water and keep reappearing. Shaped by water and air, baked by the August sun. Choked by sand and rubble on flood days, rolled and stolen again by wind and time. How great is the beauty of these little shapes and their attraction! I am just the “sum subtraction” of being. The confirmation of what Friedrich Nietzsche said: “Because everything is connected, everything excludes if you want to exclude something.” I am one of these “transfers”. . . ”
Italo Lanfredini was born in Sabbioneta in 1948 and has lived in Lombardy all his life. He attributes his youthful passion for sculpture to his father, a self-taught artist. He began his studies with Algano Seguri and Aldo Bergonzoni at the Giulio Romano Art Institute in Mantua and then at the Beaux Arts Academy in Florence. In Milan he attended Luciano Minguzzi’s course on sculpture and Guido Ballo’s lectures on art history at Brera Academy and worked in Francesco Somaini’s studio before setting up his own studio. In the early 1970s he returned to Mantua and taught plastic and visual training at the Giulio Romano Art Liceum for the next 35 years.
Lanfredini has lived near Commessaggio, west of Mantua and south of Lake Garda, since 1997. He bought an 18th century “Cathedral on the Brink of Collapse”, named it “The Silent” (La Silenziosa), and turned it into a permanent art studio and open museum, open from the first day of spring until October. He claimed the estate’s stables as his studio and populated it with sketches of his work and a bestiary of dogs, cats and chickens made from driftwood or scrap wood.
Lanfredini is always a teacher and defines himself as both a teacher and a learner. In 2003 he taught a course on environmental art at the University of Mantua; He continues to teach university-level seminars at Brera Academy, Urbino University, Catana Polytechnic School, as well as several art institutes and high schools. In La Silenziosa, he often runs popular arts seminars for students of all grades in the local schools. It sponsors plays, concerts and children’s games and is closely associated with the World Poetry Academy and its magazine. PLANETA Poesia. He has been working outside the art market since 1998 and is exhibited nationally and internationally.
University of Tennessee Martin