FOTO DI TERRA : MARIO GIACOMELLI

typographer and self-taught photographer (1925-2000) from Senigallia (Italy)

MARIO GIACOMELLI’s  MOTHER EARTH

and my planet of leaves languages and trees meeting Anouar Brahem playing music on his oud (a Middle eastern string instrument)

MARIO GIACOMELLI, metamorfosi della terra, 385 x 278 mm

MARIO GIACOMELLI,  metamorfosi della terra, 385 x 278 mm

Mario Giacomelli passed away three days ago of some years ago November 25th and Mario Merz who was born the same year 1925 followed him on November 3d a few years after why should it be easy to remember dates that are not not at all interesting numbers they don’t shape the history of the person nor do they participate in the natural history not to mention the natural art made with numbers which is sister to music and spirals in the shells

Dans ce progrès invincible, et comme impeccable, de la forme, … qui semble créer son temps propre, on admire la combinaison du rythme, marqué par les taches ou les aspérités régulières, et du movement indivisible. C’est là voir de la musique. Paul Valéry, L’homme et la coquille 1937
an invincible almost impeccable progress of form… seems to create its own rhythm holding spots or regular asperities and an indivisible movement that is like seeing music

each of us surfing on a limited truth flows through life where time doesn’t exist as a peculiar volume buzzing with particles it can’t be stopped until mother earth disappears in meanders of memories that remake, retell the story so many times there is not a first image anymore over unfinished thoughts

tonight I don’t feel like breathing with commas and periods

I wish words could be sensitive like Mario Merz (1925-2003) forced them to be foglie tenere di acqua leaves tender with water or Giacomelli calling his pictures foto di terra photos made with dirt  rather than photos of earth because Italians at least some of us think of ideas like odd ghosts slipping away from the physical matter of a decomposed and ruined space where the animal person looks for abstraction – freedom

it didn’t happen to me for a while this need of disobeying it makes me see words sinking into Giacomelli’s blacks and whites while written lines are traced like furrows with trees and bushes in a wood of punctuation left behind for writers obsessed with grammatical intersections their soul not knowing where to go

effortlessly ancient habits join our art as if calligraphy and drawing were only one thing sharing the same space as five or six centuries ago in hybrid Chinese paintings meant to be poems of words and nuanced landscapes

Extraordinary events came to shake suddenly the quotidian life of millions individuals. We are projected toward the unknown, with immense fears, joys and hopes. What’s happening goes beyond imagination. It took me a long time to be able to write this music. Anouar Brahem Souvenance

Giacomelli says that language becomes the environment within which the image breathes as it flies toward a new life called art

more can be seen in a landscape that is language more than anything else sometimes plowed by the peasants under the artist’s request

more can be felt through the energy that connects our hands brain and feet to the larger scene of reality with it’s musical score inviting us to listen and share our part in it

ahead of the current localism Anouar Brahem’s music is an harmonious journey of intermingled songs that seem to pick from music of every kind petals of hope and strings of voices determined to expand together in a long rope of sounds free from style traditional forms and rigid obligations for beauty herself sings from the window waiting for the prince

the wind that goes around the column
goes round inside the column
it happens when one paints an image
giving reality to an image, the house runs with the world.

Mario Merz, Lo spazio è curvo o diritto 1990

MARIO GIACOMELLI IN HIS IMAGES AND WORDS

Attraverso le foto di terra io tento di uccidere la natura, cerco di toglierle quella vita che le è stata data non so da chi ed è stata distrutta dal passaggio dell’uomo per ridarle una vita nuova…

Through photos of earth (foto di terra) I try to kill nature, and take away from her a life received from I don’t know whom and destroyed by humans to give her a new life…

MARIO GIACOMELLI, presa di coscienza sulla natura, 300 x 405 mm

MARIO GIACOMELLI,  presa di coscienza sulla natura, 300 x 405 mm

Signs like light tension. It is like having emptied, carved the white out and filled it with dark.

Language becomes the environment within which the image breathes.

MARIO GIACOMELLI, Pesa di coscienza sulla natura, 388 x 283 mm

MARIO GIACOMELLI,  presa di coscienza sulla natura, 388 x 283 mm

The mark remains, the scar, the symbolic image of my intervention, as an act of expression to escape from a reality that does not leave space for creativity.

MARIO GIACOMELLI, storie di terra, 235 x 300 mm

MARIO GIACOMELLI,  storie di terra, 235 x 300 mm

I wish I could slide under the skin of things, to show the energy passing through my soul and the things around me

To express the potential that overturns the real into poetry

MARIO GIACOMELLI, presa di coscienza sulla natura, 392 x 298 mm

MARIO GIACOMELLI,  presa di coscienza sulla natura, 392 x 298 mm

I am not interested in repeating the visible things, but making visible what filters through my unconscious.

MARIO GIACOMELLI, Le fogli, 258 x 390 mm

MARIO GIACOMELLI,  le foglie, 258 x 390 mm

My latest ideas that are growing inside me from typography. In my latest photographs, naturally also in Landscapes, there are many apparitions. The object is always modified, but remains as a memory with the signs of the antique and present time, with a new memory, which is also that of the gesture, the movement, the document.

MARIO GIACOMELLI, presa di coscienza sulla natura, 305 x 404 mm

MARIO GIACOMELLI,  presa di coscienza sulla natura, 305 x 404 mm

Archivio Mario Giacomelli – Sassoferrato
http://www.archiviomariogiacomelli.it

These and others  photographs by Giacomelli are currently on display at Galleria Studio Guastalla, Modern and Contemporary Art, Milano (Italy).  I went to see the exhibition because Silvia Guastalla, curator and director of the gallery, decades ago was one of my students in the Department of Philosophy of the University of Pisa. A great joy to see her again and having her this time guiding me through Giacomelli’s art.

GIUSEPPE PENONE: branches of thought and their quest for light

IN WORDS AND SCULPTURES

… leaves absorbing light / leaves of mirror / mirror of leaves /twisting pathways / obscure gravity / winding branches looking for light … (G.P.)

“A work that is a thought produced by action”

“A work whose content is the significance of its materials” (G.P.)

GIUSEPPE PENONE, Pelle di foglie-sguardo, 2013  Bronze, gold, 98 x 70 x 30 inches  © Giuseppe Penone. Courtesy of the artist and Gagosian Gallery.  Photo: Benjamin Lee Ritchee Handler

GIUSEPPE PENONE, Pelle di foglie-sguardo, 2013 Bronze, gold, 98 x 70 x 30 inches
© Giuseppe Penone. Courtesy of the artist and Gagosian Gallery.
Photo: Benjamin Lee Ritchee Handler

 

GIUSEPPE PENONE, Pelle di foglie - 5 foglie a terra, 2011 Bronze, 113 x 75 x 39 inches @ Penone. Courtesy of the artist and Gagosian Gallery. Photo: Josh White

GIUSEPPE PENONE, Pelle di foglie – 5 foglie a terra, 2011 Bronze, 113 x 75 x 39 inches
© Penone. Courtesy of the artist and Gagosian Gallery. Photo: Josh White

 

GIUSEPPE PENONE, Pelle di foglie - sguardo, 2013 Bronze, gold, 97 x 87 x 43 inches @ Penone. Courtesy of the artist and Gagosian Gallery. Photo: Josh White

GIUSEPPE PENONE, Pelle di foglie – sguardo, 2013 Bronze, gold, 97 x 87 x 43 inches
© Penone. Courtesy of the artist and Gagosian Gallery. Photo: Josh White

 

“….walking over human actions accumulated in the ground, I feel them

according to the steps I’m allowed to do.

I repeat the walk.

The earthly eyelid becomes evident, imprinted, precise;

there is the eye underneath vibrating, quivering.

I pick up the gestures I made on the ground and bring them, stretched,

on a wall not higher than my eye.” (G.P.)

 

Put your face on the ground:  “as the ground warms up, your thoughts are more and more aware that the ground (la terra) is the brain.” (G.P.)

 

SEDIMENTS FROM MY MEMORY    by     ROSANNA ALBERTINI

 1992, twelve years ago in Paris. Soft snakes of time were resting on a branch, one over the other, shaped by Penone’s fingers. Human and inhuman. I only had to close my eyes to see my own life contained in those simple forms of clay and wood. My thoughts fell on a piece of paper, and yet I never sent it to the Italian newspaper I was writing for.

Later in Turin. I met the man of the woods and gave him that sheet of paper, my crumpled leaf. We spent the afternoon walking from his studio to other artists’ houses, sitting at the kitchen table, talking, drinking coffee or wine. Sort of countryside life in the city.

Penone had been invited to San Diego to produce a ‘site specific’ work for Insite. “They don’t understand I am a sculptor, I can’t go,” – he tells me. “The first time I refused because my dogs need me.” “Bring the dogs,” they insisted.  “I can’t come because I have chickens.” It was the end of it. Today his sculptures are in Los Angeles, a one person exhibition at Gagosian Gallery.

Please reader, try to think Italian when you look at Penone’s art: tree in Italian is albero (male) and pianta (female). Branch is ramo, or la rama, always male and female. Earth, ground, is la terra. Our words are never neutral, neither is our thinking that is often dressed with natural images looking like metaphors but they are not. Skin, la pelle, is the wrapping form of any living entity, stones included. La pelle d’uovo, l’uovo di Colombo, and dried up humans stuck like sugar candies in their wishes for  branches of intellectual superiority.

Penone shows the lightness and power of our natural siblings with no fear: they can be freed by the layers of time as human cannot, the trees’ physical childhood can be exposed.

A sort of magical thinking is simply natural to those who grew up in the woods, animistic  or anthropomorphic. Words are a stop in time. The artist’s actions instead, excavating time out of the marble skin vein by vein, gives a voice to the reworked surface of the mountain, and many new faces. La pelle del monte. A piece of marble disseminated with eyes underneath the surface, and layers of organisms.

 

GIUSEPPE PENONE, Pelle del monte, 2012 Carrara marble, 61 x 63 x 2 1/4 inches @ Penone. Courtesy of the artist and Gagosian Gallery. Photo

GIUSEPPE PENONE, Pelle del monte, 2012 Carrara marble, 61 x 63 x 2 1/4 inches
© Penone. Courtesy of the artist and Gagosian Gallery. Photo: Douglas Parker Studio

 

When his face touches the ground, he can feel the space left for us by all those who passed and disappeared, and be one of the passers by, only in a different time. Time is his Titan, already kicked down by ancients gods and by the modern god: “Time is for his creatures, not for Him.”

Penone gives his living time to sculpted forms to whom he adds love, listening and veneration. He reveals them, does not change them. Such collaboration with natural forms, artificially replaced by more durable materials, bronze and gold for instance, or questioned  by the painstaking labor of carving, refills them with a sense of awe. We receive it; some gold leaves start shining in the hollow of our trunk. We might be trees, piante, arbusti, alberi…rame di corbezzolo. Why not?