Italiano (Italian)

Until 30 November 2023
under the patronage of the Province of Vercelli and the Municipality of Trino
with the support of Principato di Lucedio
curated by Paola Nicolin

Principato di Lucedio
Comune di Trino (Vercelli)

Aptitudeforthearts: MATILDE CASSANI - Quasi Nessuno. PH. Delfino Sisto Legnani

For its second edition, the Aptitudeforthearts association presents the new project Quasi Nessuno (Almost Nobody) by Matilde Cassani, a designer and artist whose research has been operating for years on the borderline between architecture, installations and performance.

Set up as an art on the territory initiative, dedicated to the valorisation of the material and immaterial cultural heritage of the Vercelli area, Aptitudeforthearts confirms with this second edition its desire to support female artistic research by inviting artists of different generations and backgrounds to reflect on the landscape of the rice field and imagine an intervention freely inspired by its stories.

For the 2023 season, the invitation was explicitly conceived around the possibility of acting in the natural context, within a broad and generous surrounding that embraced the vastness of the rice field, beyond the boundaries of a specific architectural artefact. Quasi Nessuno is the response of Matilde Cassani whose gaze investigates the rice field as a socio-anthropological phenomenon before being an aesthetic one. The artist and designer, in the course of research carried out in situ, has in fact dwelt on the progressive rarefaction of the human figure in the agricultural landscape, less and less inhabited by bodies and more and more permeated by tales, stories of disappeared communities, voices of ghosts echoing behind the hills, the appearance and disappearance of water that is less and less abundant, the nesting of herons marking the passing of the seasons.

Who besides this fauna inhabits these places? Almost no one (Quasi nessuno). The theme of the project revolves around this simple question that leads Matilde Cassani to discuss what she calls ‘the mirage of a man’, his isolated presence among the animals, his being one animal among many, fragile like the others suffering the effects of climate change where Mrs Drought reigns supreme.

Cassani transforms the rice field into a fairy-tale universe, populated by visible figures, echoes of those who no longer exist, fleeting apparitions glimpsed at dusk. Here, in fact, she has dreamed of a company of scarecrows appearing here and there.

Aptitudeforthearts: MATILDE CASSANI - Quasi Nessuno. PH. Delfino Sisto Legnani

A magical, fairy-tale character not devoid of a dimension linked to the phantasmagorical, the scarecrow is an image that unites the ancient with the contemporary, a sacred figure and at the same time a puppet of the present, a concrete metaphor for the idea of the efficiency of nature, a different figure, dressed in rags and oddity, who stakes his bizarre claim within a very rich literature linked above all to the countless translations and infinite adaptations of L. Frank Baum’s famous novel, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, first published in Chicago in 1900. Almost a man (or almost a woman?), a puppet (or doll?) on the borderline between realism and imagination, politically interpreted as the symbol of the agricultural class, the scarecrow is a visual device, a frightening object, also known as a bogeyman, traditionally a mannequin to be dressed in a ‘strange’, ‘different’ way and in any case capable of inducing the bird to flee through bizarre clothing. Even from these brief hints it seems clear how much the scarecrow embodies the dimension of fear, of diversity, of the problematic relationship established between human and animal being within a natural landscape where the former cultivates the land and the latter feeds on it and vice versa. The scarecrow in this sense interprets the theme of caring for the land in a post-human key, embracing every possible translation in the field of the living.

Isolated and often silent, this ‘living being’, no longer just a woman nor just a man but a community, keeps itself company in the moonscape of the rice field which, century after century, has seasonally witnessed the transformation of the agricultural system.

The project imagined by the artist for these reasons encompasses a wide time span, where the change of seasons can be monitored by observing the surroundings of the Abbey of Lucedio, and in particular the agricultural areas included in the lands of the Principality of Lucedio, which host it.

The project benefits from the collaboration of photographer Delfino Sisto Legnani, who has worked with Matilde Cassani for many years, and who will once again measure himself with the artist in the investigation of the context.

Aptitudeforthearts: MATILDE CASSANI - Quasi Nessuno. PH. Delfino Sisto Legnani

Quasi nessuno was realised with the generous support of Principato di Lucedio srl and with the collaboration of Botto Giuseppe e Figli S.p.A and Set-up and Studio Matilde Cassani.

We would like to thank the Milan Polytechnic University of Architecture, Micro Stage Project Contemporary Art and Spaces Course, Professors Anna Mazzanti and Matilde Marzotto Caotorta , LCA Studio Legale, Borgo Ramezzana Country House, Efebia srl, Manfredi Perrone and Paolo Schenone.

Our thanks go to Luisa Gervasio, Andreina and Paolo Carrà, and Luca and Helen Brondelli of Brondello for their friendly participation in the narrative video

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Aptitudeforthearts: MATILDE CASSANI - Quasi Nessuno. PH. Delfino Sisto Legnani