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Libraries are not made, they grow

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In my work I’ve often resorted to photocopy. After I had photocopied the whole Analix Forever gallery in 2007, the very next year I found myself in New York, at the Italian Academy at Columbia University. They had in here a wonderful (aesthetically) library, huge, warm, comfortable: it invited you to lie down on big couches and read books all day long, if only all the volumes weren’t disposed randomly and an index or a catalogation weren’t missing. All that because, as it seems, the whole Italian Academy’s big books collection was been sold (I think to the Columbia) and the italian Government had thought only after many years to send tens of boxes containing thousands of loose books, from the litterature ones to the art history ones. Disposed like that, the volumes looked actually beautiful and new (some of them were still wrapped up, but they were basically unusable. I’ve been really impressed by the concept of “frontside”, were the book became a piece of furnishing (the fact that the libraries of the Academy were empty, back in time, it had sicken several Columbia’s professors, that notice them while taking a walk on the Amsterdam Avenue), and because of that I decided to create by myself the books index, just by photocopying the whole library, volum after volum, and re-installing the photocopies on the actual books. In the meantime, to facilitate the usage of the new photocopied library, I binded two different copies of all the approximately 1360 images used in two big catalogues of two volumes each. The metonymy as far achieved, the container for the content (the library INSIDE the books), allowed the visitator to leaf quickly through every back of the library’s books and find thus, in an easier way, the wanted volum.
The idea of rebuilding this “travelling” library at Casa Testori starts from here: the original images’ files are been readapted to the measures of the room that was Giovanni Testori and his nephews’ studio, and these files cover now the walls simulating  the presence of books and shelves. The fact that this library is, for its own nature and from the beginning, easy come, easy go, makes it especially suitable to the walls of Casa Testori, where Giovanni used to have his real library, or his collection’s pictures that, after having been studied and eviscerated, they were straightaway replaced with new paintings by different authors.

Posted on: 20 Giugno 2011, by : Associazione Giovanni Testori