Donkey by Moonlight

The making of art is often a solitary process. Unless you accept an invitation to an artists’ symposium, which is an inspiring mash-up  of summer camp (silly fun), running a marathon (endurance) and attending a harrowing design critique at art school (humbling, but necessary for onward progress). Oh…and add excellent Italian food and wine for good measure!

Fratello Luna e Fratello L'Asino

Fratello Luna e Fratello L’Asino, diptych

Just returned from 8 days in the Lombardy region of Italy, attending  “L’Asino e la Lunacontemporary art symposium, curated by Marisa Cortese of S.I.V.I.E.R.A, and generously hosted by the Fondazione Emilia Bosis, and its president, Pier Giacomo Luccini.

18 international artists, and a team of support staff spent a week together in a shared atelier producing art, ‘contaminating’ each other with our ideas and process, and exploring the region in horse drawn carriages…..

I fully immersed myself in the artistic experience, filling up my sketchbook with impressions of the week. Here are a few examples….

The symposium theme is inspired by the “L’Asino e la Luna” song by Agostino Celti, whose lyrics  invoke a donkey looking up at the moon, reflecting on their relative position in the universe.

IMG_0592

Agostino Celti performing in the painted music room of the Palazzo Barbo

It is almost impossible to describe the charm, and audacity of the location: Cascina Germaglio in Verdello, Bergamo. It is many things:  a residential psychiatric facility for patients diverted from the criminal justice system; a working horse stables and farm (with a Noah’s ark-like collection of animals); and a community space for the town of Verdello.

Most intriguing of all – it contains the Teatro Stalla – a  huge barn-like performance space with a sand-covered floor, theatre lighting & sound systems, and a grand piano. Professional actors and resident patients perform together with animals, in spectacles which are collectively conceived. It is not a circus, it is art, it is therapy, and it is astonishing. A sample video of the upcoming production, “Nel Signo de Caino” can be found here.

Much gratitude my talented fellow artists, sponsors, staff and residents of the Cascina Germaglio, and everyone else who had a hand in making this Bergamo symposium an unforgettable experience.

 

 

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