Municipality of Milan | 2008
A place like the Rotonda di Via Besana is very familiar to me because, as I live close by, I often take my daughters there to play. The way I see the affective side of this place prevails over the aulic nature of the museum itself. And this is probably no coincidence, as I’ve almost always nurtured a loving relationship with the places where I’ve worked. To my mind, the privilege of being allowed to use space to tell stories is what makes all those of us who do this job so lucky. For every one of us our perception of the surrounding reality is getting flatter and flatter; we spend most of our time before surfaces that filter information in our direction, from the dashboard in the car to any TV or computer screen, often forgetting about the stuff we are made of.
My work is made up of that very stuff: my spaces have skin and flesh, blood and the senses, and my objects are like Pinocchio, they might even tell a few lies, but they’re alive. I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of having a father who’s a carpenter: Giuseppe, Geppetto, and of course my father Mario too, who I think is especially gifted in that sense. In one of my books from a few years back, Be Your Own Messiah, I went from my activities as an altar boy to the full awareness of my ability to be my own Messiah. Maybe today I could start working on my new “Be Your Own Pinocchio”: the stuff that trees are made from, the noblest of all, that comes alive and becomes aware. Or perhaps even more I’d like to actually be a tree, not wood with the semblance of a human, but a man made up of roots-trunk-branches-leaves. I believe that if guardian angels really do exist they must be shaped like trees, because our own existence is so intimately tied in with them: the oxygen trees produce each day is the same stuff that we start breathing from the moment we come into the world. And there are the birds, that fly freely, and that trace trajectories of harmony in the blue skies.
Maybe it’s just that: you’re born a bird but you grow up to be a tree so that the other birds can rest before they resume their flight. I wonder if this exhibition might not actually represent, even just symbolically, my mutation from a swallow to a tree. I have a wife and two daughters whom I adore, I surround myself with an extended family that I love deeply, and I feel totally in empathy with all that I see around me. Today I feel in equilibrium between the earth and the sky, rooted to the one and my branches stretched up towards the other. My daughters’ names are Verde (Green) and Celeste (Light Blue), my wife’s name is Candela (Candle). Don’t these names just sound like the ingredients of a wonderful story?