Villa Celle

Last year I had the opportunity to spend several days visiting the contemporary sculpture collection on the grounds of Villa Celle (Fattoria di Celle) near Pistoia. Each of the thirty sculptors was invited to choose a place in this Tuscan hillscape, as a point of departure for his or her work, work to be conceived on site. The sculptures themselves were on the scale of elements in the landscape–some discreetly nestled in a grove of trees, others monumental, bright and sprawling, on hillsides or along riverbeds.  Many seemed part of  nature, reflecting the shadows, light ,color and weight of their natural counterparts. An awesome twenty-meter concrete shard, now moss-covered, sprung from a group of oaks at the side of the path. One is not sure of its meaning, yet it evokes thoughts, and calls attention to the surrounding natural features and adds to their significance.  These sculptures were not only pieces to be admired or pondered, but in many cases were functional architectures with implications for use. The themes were “architecture as instrument, water architectures, hills and amphitheatres, Zen gardens, the architecture of ruins.” From a marriage of site and construct, from a symbiosis of muse and artist, grew the seed for a composite architectural work, that would become nature’s own.

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