Interview with Antonio Presti – founder of the Park of Fiumara d’Arte- Sicily

Art, Beauty, Nature. Sicily is without doubt an island-treasure of such gifts. Not everyone knows that holds one of the most unusual and majestic contemporary Italian art parks, Fiumara d’Arte, the opera and the great passion of Antonio Presti. Defined by most as the last of the great patrons in the lands of Magna Greecee, is an advocate of innumerable artistic initiatives dedicated to his homeland, Sicily entirely devoted to beauty, to respect, nurture and teach the new generations, so that the fight against environmental degradation, cultural and human becomes a new feel. If the civil commitment makes reality such as that of Librino of Catania, where the creativity of the youngest is redefining urban geographies normally violent, Fiumara d’Arte is an anthem to not ever to love, respect and beauty for their land. A commitment defended through a great team of artists and institutional partners and private, who believed in this project, which is a daily mission.

FM.Fiumara d’Arte project represents an excellence in the field of contemporary Italian art in the open. What is the path and the message intended for the visitor who arrives, Italian or foreign?

AP Fiumara d’Arte project was born from the idea of a contemporary gift to Sicily, choosing the path of beauty, it can represent with a presidio civil commitment and aesthetic of man. The Fiumara d’Arte was founded on land owned by political choice because I never wanted to own the work but the idea. In a modern society where everything is at the service of matter and its possession, the first act of renunciation that enhances the subject with respect to the work of art is that beauty can occur for an idea of thought. The value of the gift lies in its share, Fiumara d’Arte is shared by the public, was affirmed by all. Fiumara is today one of the most visited places in the world, for its contemporaneity and consistency, his place in the landscape.

FM. What are the requests that are sent to the artists involved in the project of the Foundation? What is the online exhibition and planning that guide the choice of works submitted?

AP. I am listed as one of the last great patrons, but in truth I do not like being called a patron, but only a man devoted to beauty, who has devoted all my life: beauty intended as gift, such as sharing, as ethics. The artists? Part of my team, which over the years has been consolidated. The artists have shared with me the gift of beauty, excluding the concept of property and strongly follow my client, I clear the purpose of the work related to the artist and working together it triggers a mechanism that turns out to be very creative.

FM. The Italian contemporary art is rarely associated with a specific territorial context outside a museum. As has been the choice of the Park which now houses the Foundation?

AP. Fiumara d’Arte born from the desire to make a tribute to Sicily, Sicily contemporary, choosing the path of beauty, decides to represent the civil commitment of human and aesthetic with its own garrison. I decided to enter the municipalities of the Valle dei Nebrodi in a sort of circuit of art that was not forced by locations, in closed, subject to payment of a fare and time of visits. My desire was to bring art to the street, make it visible and accessible to all, make it into the newspaper. So, while a person may look at the sea and admire the monument for a dead poet Tano Festa, or further the work of Consagra. I wanted to create a sort of against-Museum, unique in its kind, which could become a driving force for tourism and economic development of the entire area. The communes of Fiumara d’Arte, without investing a penny, now form part of a cultural-artistic path that combines the beauty of nature with that of monumental works.

FM. As combines the design of the Foundation with experiences like that of Librino, Catania, in collaboration with the National Geographic Italy?

AP. The project Librino follows a course. The first important step was taken with the construction of the Port of beauty. Ten thousand children, United in the name of a change, were the authors and architects of a process impact capable of transforming a wound in an imposing social and artistic work, a symbol of openness and rebirth. With outdoor photographic Museum Fiumara d’Arte takes another step forward. Our path is started by schools, today we work with around the neighborhood. The Museum photo join around him more than 30,000 people who will face and soul to Librino and Catania. For the first time, in fact, it will be to reach out Librino to the rest of the city, to involve them in its process of change. This project succeeded in bringing young people to photography. Their enthusiasm is arrived until the National Geographic Italy, which has offered its technical support and multimedia as a completely free.

FM. The Foundation is open to collaborations with other agencies to enhance environmental art? at the national level, I think the MACRO or to do, but the question is also related to the international context.

AP. The Mission of my Foundation includes strong artistic/cultural actions involving several international organizations, such as the Festival of photography of Arles, Les périphériques vous parlent, Paris, La Fête des Lumières in Lyon, Paul Getty Museum, National Geographic and many others.

FM. An example of the works of Fiumara is given by “pyramid 38° parallel.” Can tell us the story of this work?

AP. I imagined it as a sort of withdrawal lay, which is then the religious sense of art. A thinking individual, uncoupled from any encoded ritual or religion constituted. I wanted to create a place at the same time universal and particular, where man could stop to think for question, perhaps, the sense of existence: unanswered question, perhaps, but tangible. The slit on the side of the pyramid, for example, is a path of interior lighting, dark, opera, a path of awakening of consciousness. The intuition that governed the project is to front edge to the Sun: one slit through which, at sunset, the Sun filters inside. The places themselves there have suggested different elements of various symbolic sense. I think the staircase to the pyramid also face the Sun, or the inner spiral stone made of iron, found in the quarry to build the foundations of the work. Red patterned stones from the sea, in a remote time reaching up to the promontory, those stones are now tracing the path of the spiral and it is as if they spoke of the geological past, tell us about a universal time, other than human.

FM. The Foundation is linked to his personal passion for art and nature, in addition to his land. What dreams for the future of the Park and what hopes for the future of contemporary art in Italy?

AP. In these years the mine was a path of resistance, to value difference and civil commitment to a Sicilian territory that I love very much. I hope that the institutions can assume commitments and responsibilities, in the name of development, environment and development of territories, which have serious economic problems, cultural, design, such as large suburbs abandoned and marginalized. At this moment I feel the duty to start an educational path in Sicilian, sogno beauty and I want to achieve with the guys. That’s why porto great poets, artists, photographers, filmmakers, etc. in the schools. In the future I’d like to share artistic projects with the parks of the Nebrodi and Madonie and other Italian regions, perhaps realizing there other monumental works. I imagine a big future “District of contemporaneity”, with the involvement also of the suburbs. I am currently working for the District of Librino in Catania. My idea is to create a “model Librino” to change the way of understanding the relationship between the Centre and the periphery. Is a civil duty to take responsibility for having “educated” generations that arrogance of power and ignorance were formed to ask and not to do. Families, schools and church should educate to do and not to ask. In this sense also Librino becomes not a place to recover, but to be respected.


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About Odile Milton

I travel through words whenever possible. Odile Milton is my signature on the web as I wanted an alter ego to indicate only my writings and works, not my personal life. Odile like the dancer in black swan, and Milton from the novel An old-fashioned girl. View all posts by Odile Milton

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