On Monday the 29th October the book “The Carved Theatre” was presented in Museo Novecento in Milan. Arnaldo Pomodoro presided over the introduction of the volume about the scenic sculptures created by him.
Arnaldo Pomodoro was born in Montefeltro in 1926 and spent his childhood and education in Pesaro. Since 1954 he lives and works in Milan. His sculptures are exhibited in Museum collections and urban spaces worldwide. Being interested also in stage design, from the beginning of his career Pomodoro also created “spectacular machines” for many theatrical performances: from Greek tragedies to melodrama.
Arnaldo Pomodoro, maquette for "the passion of Cleopatra", 1989, photo: Pietro Carrieri
In the Fontana room of Museo Novecento in Milan (a Museum dedicated to XX Century Italian art), dominated by a ceiling luminous installation by Lucio Fontana (founder of the Spatial Movement), Arnaldo Pomodoro - together with Antonio Calbi, who curated the edition, Carlo Bertelli, art historian, Carlo Feltrinelli, the Editor, Emilio Isgrò, author of the Orestea trilogy (originally by Greek ancient author Eschilo) staged by Arnaldo Pomodoro, and Anna Nogara who interpreted Cassandra in the Orestea – presented “The Carved Theatre” book.
Arnaldo Pomodoro, Grande Portale, 1988-2008, photo: Carlo Orsi
The conference started out with Milan’s mayor, Giuliano Pisapia, who stated that the book is “an important book for Milan and Italy in general, as Italian artists are an important reference point for Italian history”. He also communicated there is a shared dream with Arnaldo Pomodoro: to have a permanent exhibition of his works in Milan (leaving aside the Arnaldo Pomodoro Foundation), a city that “orientated to the future”.
Antonio Calbi was the one who introduced to the 600 pages book curated by him and published by Feltrinelli and Arnaldo Pomodoro Foundation, with notes and many images that show the 44 scenic works realized by the artist from 1972 to today. The book is the transcript of the Pomodoro Exhibition that is taking place in Turin at Palazzo Reale (Piazzetta Reale 1, until November 25th). “It is a monumental book in every sense” – he said – that wants to recount the connection between scenic art and sculpture art. Pomodoro is an artist able to express in every action he performs a profound awareness and knowledge of the space around him. He uses the stage as an emblematic space, creating spatial concepts that dialogue within each other.”
Arnaldo Pomodoro, maquette for Verdi's "Un ballo in Maschera", 2005, photo: Dario Tettamanzi
When working on stage design – adds Calbi who watched over Pomodoro’s work for a long time before starting curating the book - Pomodoro doesn’t act like a “translator” of the show’s author, but as a co-author himself, giving much of his personality and his view, as the theatre need to add to life – like art, like literature – extra-ordinary emotions (that he is definitely able to create, giving the amount of people who gathered in the press room conference to hear Arnaldo Pomodoro speaking). The element of time is a constant in his works, as much as the attention to detail and to the past’s references.
Emilio Isgrò talked about how for Pomodoro setting the stage means participating, being there with passion, not working. And reminded us of the Orestea by Eschilo that he wrote – staged by Pomodoro and directed by Filippo Crivelli - on the ruins of Gibellina, after the terrible earthquake that hit the town – and the Belice area situated in western Sicily – on the night between 14th and 15 January of 1968.
Arnaldo Pomodoro, 1983, maquettes for Emilio Isgrò "Orestea" in Gibellina, photo Carlo Orsi
A new dramaturgy was created in Sicily with an avant-guarde show that included on stage 2 wheels that recreated the idea of the “carretto siciliano”, a traditional Sicilian cart.
Pomodoro, who spoke last, said that he works in an egoistic form and that crowd scares him as he is used to work in silence, alone. As a child, Pomodoro recounts he couldn’t find answers to his questions. He stopped many times explaining it was very hard to recount why he is doing what he is doing, but he understood that “to understand oneself, one has to go back to his past”. It was like that that he realized he loved to mold the soil near a river at the age of three.
“I am thirsty for curiosity, that is why I consider travelling a fundamental way of educating yourself”: but the questions aren’t over for him, as he states that still today he has many questions to solve yet, and that is the core to find more ideas, to look for a cultural Exchange like he has always done with poets and writers. “I am not here to teach, I am here to learn” he says, almost angry that “students ask me when they can stop by watching me working. I answer just come and see, don’t ask me when. My studio is always open.”
Arnaldo Pomodoro, costume for "The tragedy of Didone", 1986, photo: Pietro Carrieri
I think it’s wonderful that someone like Pomodoro is still learning, still searching, still “looking at the future, as the past is long gone and once you learn through it, you have to let it go”. And I am amazed that a man like him would be haunted by anguish – while seeking answers, while creating - that disappears only once the work is finished. In the end, he concluded “I can’t explain what goes through my mind, I only know I see the best when my eyes are closed, and my mind travels within a space that’s very much similar to the one we have above our heads today.” – he says indicating Fontana’s spiral sculpture that does what he does with theatre, materialize a visionary spirit.
By: Elisa della Barba