21.10.2016 | all' aperto

ALL’APERTO: indelible marks on the town of Trivero

The ALL’APERTO contemporary art project promoted by Fondazione Zegna and curated by Andrea Zegna and Barbara Casavecchia has involved internationally renowned artists. Daniel Buren, Alberto Garutti, Stefano Arienti, Roman Signer, Marcello Maloberti, Dan Graham and Liliana Moro have all given interpretations of the Trivero area in their site-specific art works. Sunday 5 June will see an unmissable event that will be attended by one of the curators of the exhibition, Andrea Zegna, who will take visitors on a tour round the art works. So we decided to interview him. The ALL'APERTO project was launched in 2008 with what purpose in mind? What made and is still making it different from other contemporary art projects? The project was inspired by the work of my grandfather Ermenegildo and the values that guided him in the landscaping and social architecture initiatives that enriched Trivero and its mountains. In the same spirit we wanted to involve contemporary artists and asked them to leave a permanent mark on the township of Trivero, a personal vision of the surrounding landscape, a contemporary reading of it. There are similar projects in France, such as the Nouveaux Commanditaires association, and a.Titolo in Turin. In these cases it’s “bottom up”: people suggest where to intervene or report issues, while the curators find artists capable of producing solutions. In Italy there are gardens and parks hosting collections that are private but open to the public. Our project in Trivero is different from the others in that it’s created by private individuals on public or private land but is always accessible anyway. Over these seven years the artists have treated some very different themes: factories, the environment, relationships within the community. How does the process of commissioning a site-specific art work work? There aren’t any rules: we sometimes start with the place, as with Daniel Buren’s installations or Dan Graham’s pavilion. Other times we start with the artist, we find ones who have the right sort of sensibility to understand life in Trivero. The important thing is to engage artists who can produce work that isn’t too difficult, that’s easy to appreciate and blends discreetly, non-invasively with its surroundings. The works mustn’t be cryptic, they must be easily understood by people who live and work here everyday. Also important is the artist’s capacity to relate to the community, so that his or her work can be rightly considered “public” in every way. Seven works, some of them "diffused", have transformed the Trivero area. Once inaugurated, what sort of “life” do these works have? How does the community use them? After the inaugurations we’ve always had positive feedback: many townspeople appreciate the landscape being enriched with something new and also that certain spaces have been restored to the community, as in the case of the garden designed by Marcello Maloberti. Alberto Garutti’s benches and Stefano Arienti’s Telepaths, with which we introduced the wi-fi service in schools as well, are among the works that get most use. Different sorts of people have come to love these art works, each in their own very personal way, for they always arouse emotions. One of the constants of the All’Aperto project is its accessibility to the local community and infant school kids in particular: what long term reactions have you seen? Alberto Garutti’s benches and Daniel Buren’s colored weather vanes were well received by kids, some showing their affection for these works even years after. There have been educational workshops too, like “Walking around art”, to help young children approach contemporary art. What we’d like to see in future is workshops organized in elementary and middle schools in which kids can work in direct contact with the artists, with no intermediaries, to stimulate their imagination and creativity. Any particular anecdote come to mind? Rather than anecdotes, it’s the emotions that made working with the artists so intense and constructive that I recall. Each in their own way interpreted the place and left a very personal mark here. They all helped us enrich it and maybe make it more interesting, in line with the ambitious landscaping project my grandfather launched.

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