Meanwhile in 1991 Presti inaugurated Atelier sul Mare, a hotel at Castel di Tusa, entrusting various artists with doing the rooms. Nagasawa, for example, did a brass-lined room called a Mystery for the moon [Mistero per la luna]. The hotel soon became a peculiar museum that people could live in, a starting point for excursions in the Fiumara, a residence for young overseas artists, and an exhibition space for Sicilian artists in the ensuing years. However, the history of this fascinating hotel – in which every work of art becomes its own temporary dwelling, though linked to the extraordinary development of Fiumara, constituting a sort of hermitage of pilgrims of art – represents a separate chapter, which cannot be dealt with here.
About my artwork
“A rich young man knows that he will die/he creates beauty/ and asks me why/ I too am dying …”: these are some of the verses written by Gregory Corso for Antonio Presti, the young Sicilian entrepreneur who in1986 began to donate works of art to the Tusa Fiumara [torrent], like so many places of the cult of beauty, which is that of the human sign of art and together that of the big valley, of the rugged force of the mountain, of the little villages perched on the ridges, of a vision from high up of vastness in which the eye loses itself until it meets the sea. It is at first an exorcism, a gage to pay to death, which is transformed into a pathway of life.
In a place which is lateral to the big torrent, which has been dry for centuries, a small gorge off the beaten track, near Mistretta, where amid luxuriant vegetation there flows the Romei, with his firm Presti did the wall holding up the slope and further down, where the cement is surrounded by water and pebbles, he added a small “cell” which you get to through a long low corridor, like an ancient burial place. He was still playing his game against death and, captured by the mysterious energy of this place, he imagined his own tomb there. But in his intentions that space hewn out on the edge was to become art too, and precisely because it was clandestine and hidden from view the work was to be conceived as the secret heart, the generating motor of the energy that presides over the whole Fiumara. Thus Presti set out in search of the right artist and knocked on many doors before coming to Nagasawa in 1988, without yet knowing about the wonderful coincidence – that in Japanese, Nagasawa’s name means “man of the torrent”.
The shadow of death that travailed the young Sicilian searching for an anchor for his inquietude had always naturally accompanied the “man of the stream” who, like all true survivors, did not fear it: he had already died and been reborn many times, years before, on a bench ion a Chinese port, where he had used up all his luggage of fear, and since then life, which might not have been, had been first of all a gift. But it is precisely that circle of shadow, which the language of art transcends and subtends, that rendered the meeting and exchange possible. When Nagasawa came to Sicily, in that sinuous recess in the landscape he recognized a place of the soul, and in the secret cement passage he did not see what everyone else saw, just a tomb, but a possible space for life and above all the landing place of the boat that he bore inside himself like a safe-conduct and a talisman.
On 24 June 1989 the Golden Boat Room was inaugurated. It came into being to be closed, but the operation of closure and interment was hindered by the authorities, since in it they saw an attempt to hide the material evidence of a crime. A judiciary procedure was set going because of the unauthorized building of the room. Consequently the work has remained incomplete.
Artists I like
If a cement wall can be poetry, then a barracks too can become a work of art: on the way back, before going down the valley, you can stop at Castel di Lucio to see Arethusa, the barracks for carabinieri decorated by Pietro Dorazio, a historic figure in Italian abstract art, and by Graziano Marini, with elements of colored ceramics: they exemplify how it is possible to integrate the modern in the tradition, without giving color as an emblem that presided over the multicolored architectures of antiquity. And, over and above the aesthetic value of the work, this is an invitation to rethink our daily life, rescuing it from stifling by graynes
We are going to organise a preview night at 23rd July for the SaLon Summer 2008 Show, which showcases emerging, innovative artwork from London's SaLon Gallery's annual hunt for the UK's most talented graduates.
We would very love to invite you to the preview night
Would you please leave me a message if you could make it? Many thanks~
More detail see http://www.artreview.com/events/event/show?id=1474022%3AEvent%3A332492
SaLon Gallery always welcome the emerging artists to join our team.
Hello Beppe, I like your work and thank you for the invite. It's a bit hard for me to understand your message. I wish I spoke italian.
http://www.artreview.com/photo/album/listForOwner only works to view your own albums, so I can't see what you intended..