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Family Matters

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Otto sotto un tetto (lit: eight under a roof) is the italian title for the american sit-com Family Matters.
Eight members were, indeed, composing Testori family: mother, father, two sons and four doughters. When in the evening you don’t have TV to watch, you get busy!
The represented image is taken from a photo, the only one I found with the whole family posing in front of one of the big trees of the house.
The work is directly made by carving the wall and thus unearthing, time after time, all the layers of painting, the plasters, the cement and the bricks: I used this technique just once, for The Pindemonte in Geneve.
I remember it, it was Christmas. When it’s Christmas I always get new ideas, I don’t know why. I was in the toilet – like Freddie Mercury composing Crazy little thing called love, but he was in the bath, instead I was exactly on the toilet bowl – glancing at a Cuneo’s CesaC catalogue. Suddenly it’s presented in front of me a picture of William Anastasi’s work. A streak of a wall carved by pickaxes, and all the rubbles left there, precisely under the streak, as a god had passed there to engrave the rock with his litte finger. Enlightening, I thought. So I wrote an e-mail to Barbara, who was asking me a new idea for the planned May exibition at Analix. I thought of these figures, these carved-in-wall “guardians” and of their ashes, contained in the polls below. I clearly remember that on those walls had painted a lot of artists, from Julian Opie  to Martin Creed, from Matt Collishaw to Alex Cecchetti and Luca Francesconi, from Jessica Diamond until myself, a couple of time, and I thought that gradually, with a crop and a bunch of patience, all the layers of painting could be found, rebuilding the archaeological history of the gallery just by unearthing all those colours.
Step by step the idea became concrete and trasformed itself in Pindemonte, a sort of funny danse macabre where eighteen characters, jumping, playing and shagging, they run straightly into death’s arms. And their ashes are contained in eighteen small polls, as a little cemetery of painting. I remember that, for the first time in my life, once I ended the work after having passed sleepless nights scratching tens of square meters with the crop, I cried for the emotion.
So here as well, at Casa Testori, I let the wall speak: as they were soaked of photosensitive substances, they give back to us the images of the people who lived here in the passed years, presences that still soak (believe me, I passed a lot of nights in here), kindly, all the twenty rooms.

Posted on: 22 Giugno 2011, by : Associazione Giovanni Testori