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Hera Büyüktaşçıyan’s work “Echo” at Fattoria di Celle

A Synergy of Nature, Art, and Time 0

The site-specific art collection of Giuliano Gori at Fattoria di Celle has been supplemented with new works

It is no exaggeration to say that the environmental art collection that Italian art collector Giuliano Gori has assembled at the ancient Fattoria di Celle is one of the most impressive contemporary sculpture and object art entities not only in Europe, but in the world. The owner himself has always accented the fact that each and every artwork that one sees here has been created for this place specifically. On 15 October, the villa’s antique gates were opened to the public in order to reveal three new objects that have been added to the collection of 70-plus items on the villa’s grounds, thereby intensifying the communication that takes place here amongst art, nature, and people. Here, the olive tree groves and silence are just as relevant as the art; the past lives in a logical union with the present, and a vision of the future is always within arm’s reach.

Hera Büyüktaşçıyan’s work “Echo” at Fattoria di Celle

Now a logical part of this world of absolute harmony is Hera Büyüktaşçıyan’s work Echo, which hugs a road that has been beaten down by the heavy tractors of farmers as it winds through the silver olive trees. In terms of Echo, Gori explains: “Working in Celle’s environment of peace, Hera has chosen a place that reveals the signs of a distant past. Here she has arranged the emergence of a large skeleton, thereby pushing our minds to evoke images of fossils belonging to both of the scientific worlds of paleontology and anthropology. In a way, her installation resonates with two other Celle artworks previously executed by the American artist Alan Sonfist, as well as by the two Germans, Frank Breidenbruch and A.R. Penk. While the former reproduces a primordial forest originating with the geological formation of Pistoia’s territory, the latter takes us into the dreamlike world of ancient stone pictographs. Hera’s work is flanked by two long rows of olive trees; moreover, its convergent elements not only recall a large skeleton, but also form a kind of open-air tunnel, fed by the wind and sun.”

Echo is the first piece in the project “Quattro mani”, an initiative that Gori is doing together with the curator Adelina von Fürstenberg, and which is part of the “Pistoia Italian Capital of Culture 2017” program. The program will continue into next spring, when even more environmental artworks will be presented. For everyone who ritually plans on heading to the Venice Biennale, the fresh air of Fattoria di Celle would make a convenient destination in which to relax after the intensity of the Biennale.

Pianist and artist Daniele Lombardi at his sculpted notes for “La porta sonora”

Gori and von Fürstenberg’s collaboration is not just a random one-off. “Our friendship with Adelina von Fürstenberg, which began in the early 1980s, has continued to grow over time; drawing on the basis of our mutual esteem, we knew we would eventually work together on an initiative of contemporary art or, to put it more precisely – of site-specific art,” explains Gori, who, in addition to art, has always had an affinity for music, and thus regularly includes it in the events at Fattoria di Celle. “Especially classical music,” Gori stresses as he mentions another friend of his, the composer, pianist and artist Daniele Lombardi, who has performed at Fattoria di Celle for decades. This autumn, Lombardi has again returned to the villa to create the 75th artwork for Gori’s collection of environmental installations. The piece is integrated into the Chapel of the Villa Celle, and is both majestic and stunningly emotional. In his introduction of the new piece, Gori quotes Pope Paul VI: “Artists are the priests of art. Religion without art would be mute.” For the new door to the Chapel, Daniele Lombardi has sculpted notes that will give voice to his solo violin composition: La porta sonora: Lapidi dantesche a Firenze. Paradiso. (Lapide 36: Vergine Madre), inspired by Saint Bernard’s prayer to the Virgin as it appears in Dante’s last canticle of Paradise. And every time the door opens, this composition will come to life, both surprising and stirring the emotions of visitors. On the day of its premier, the piece was played by one of Europe’s most shining musicians – the violinist Francesco D’Orazio. Not far from the chapel is a bowling alley, a curious construction dating to the start of the 20th century, when the game was in vogue. And yet another interdisciplinary artwork will be on view here for a while – Musica virtuale 22 – a single 25-meter-long piece created by Daniele Lombardi.

Works of Stefano Arienti

Just as for Lombardi, this is not the first visit to the villa for the Italian artist Stefano Arienti; in fact, he plans to stay on. His Residenza a Terrarossa has been set up in what was once a farmhouse, and it is also where he once had an exhibition of his works. In a public letter to the artist, Gori has written: “The place you have chosen is the same one as before, we have only added a door there for your name plaque in order to show that this time you have taken up lasting residence.” Twenty years after his first show in these three rooms, the artist returns for another stay, or “Residence” as he terms it, bringing with him photographs, drawings and selected objects referring to the things he holds most dear: art and nature.

Giuliano Gori at Lombardi’s “La porta sonora”

Read in the Archive: An interview with Italian art collector Giuliano Gori in Santomato