In recent years, the streets of La Spezia and contemporary art have crossed repeatedly. Often it was the occasion for misunderstanding: a brief history from the “Mikado” sculpture to Tomaino and Buren
From the so-told Mikado sculpture to Buren’s portals, recent La Spezia history is crowded with art works people hardly understood. La Spezia people unaccostomed to modern art? Sure. It should be said that the shown reluctance – sometimes with benevolent affection – has in some cases more than a few valid reason. Let’s retrace some episodes of this misunderstood La Spezia art.
In the beginning were the Mikados…
The first shock came with Cacto in 1997, sculpture signed by German artist Christopher Klein. 40 apparently disordered pointed stakes planted in the garden of the (then)new seat of the Court. The immediate sense of the work is actually difficult to understand, so immediately for locals it became “The Mikados” and some began to fantasize about the princely bill paid to the artist (of which we have no certainty, but was probably actually high). But no explanation can ever erase from the look of La Spezia people the despondency with which they look at those mysterious objects.
The fountain in the “Bum Square”
On the Garibaldi Square makeover a few may have objections, though surely you will find someone available to argue on its pedestrianization. Almost everyone, however, will agree that thanks to the fountain that was placed in the middle of the square in 2002, Garibaldi Square has changed its name in the Bum Square (or even Ass square).
The fountain, which is actually named the Dialogue Fountain and represents two pairs of sails that come together, was carved in Carrara marble in 2002 by sculptor Villano Tarabella di Pietrasanta on a design by architects Antonio Leone and Cesarina Zanetti. Despite the explanation, the eye of La Spezia people is not fooled: they might well be sails, but those sculpted look just like two granite backsides (and, if we are to be honest, some looking at the side of the fountain actually see a “Sosena” – or vagina, in Italian).
The Tomaino birds
At the turn of 2009 and 2010, one of the most famous local artists in the province – Giuliano Tomaino – exhibited eleven of his works around the city (in complement to the exhibition The carob Tree at Camec Museum).
Sculptures in the his classic bright red color, with childhood traits and unsettling effect. On the City Hall roof stood three birds, which immediately became the “Tomaino Birds” while in front of the Lia Museum, was placed the merry pyramid Oplà (later donated to the city and placed in the station square). Two of the most common comments on the works (which yet I like very much): “If I let my son make it at the elementary school, he did the same”; “With a little expense, my carpenter could do it better, Belin!“. The emotion of part of La Spezia people for art, in fact. Belin.
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