Author: Alessandro Ulleri


Luca Bertasso and Mauro Maffezzoni
Curated by Alessandro Frangi
Casa Testori
Extended to Sept. 24
Finissage: 17 september, h. 17


Meeting with Luca Bertasso, Mauro Maffezzoni and
Martina Cioffi
With the participation of Chiara Canali

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This exhibition draws its title from a beautiful book that Agata Boetti, Alighiero’s daughter, published in 2016. Agata wrote it to explain that for her, the art of that very special father was first and foremost a “multitude of games». So it was simple, unexpected but immediately understandable. Luca Bertasso and Mauro Maffezzoni; or rather, Luca and Mauro, because the game always introduces a familiarity, filled the rooms of Casa Testori with the healthy imprint of those who live art with passionate lightness. There is a word that, in its fullest and most beautiful meaning, restores the sense of this exhibition: fun (in Italian divertimento). The etymology of the word goes back to divertere, meaning to turn elsewhere, to take another direction. Luca and Mauro are two artists devoted to painting, respectful of the daily dedication and discipline that painting imposes. Yet in painting they find avenues, to divertere, thus to belie their seriousness. 
Luca moves with ease in an imagery that merges pop with comics. The eyes of his characters are curious, grainy, indiscreet. They have a rockish swagger, with those somatic features always so brazenly emphasised. They are fixed and steady as icons, but always dispense a subtle sense of irony. Instead, Mauro moves with a free and deliberately non-professorial manner, despite his role, within the immense reservoir of the art of the past, to plunder a piece of it every day and replicate it. The action might seem a little iconoclastic, but in reality it is dictated by a sympathy that sometimes overwhelms even good manners. 

The game of Art then continues (from 19 July) in the Winter Garden room, with Martina Cioffi’s installation. Enamelled clay flowers have sprung up in the centre of the space. They are imaginary flowers, improbable and at the same time sumptuous, and have an iron rod for a stem. Art can sometimes, even where nature is impeded..

One recommendation: the game of Art is such if it manages to be contagious and thus if it is also transmitted to the visitor. Therefore, the recommendation in the path of this exhibition is not to get tangled up in too much reasoning but to let yourself go. Look, imagine, enjoy, shuffle the cards of taste and adopt incorrect points of view. 

Opening hours: Tuesday to Friday 10.00-13.00 and 14.30-18.00- Saturday from 14.30 to 19.30.
Closed on Sunday and Monday


Curated by Alice Boltri and Davide Dall’Ombra
Casa Testori
5 June – 23 July 2022

“For us, painting and sculpting is an act of participation in the total reality of mankind, in a given place and time, a reality that is contemporary and in its succession is history”. 
March 1946: the magazine Argine Numero published Oltre Guernica. Il Manifesto del Realismo di pittori e scultori. Among the ten signatories also appear the names of Vittorio Tavernari and Giovanni Testori, the probable draftsman of the Manifesto.

It is from this episode that the exhibition Il Manifesto del Realismo. Vittorio Tavernari a Casa Testori began. The exhibition, which opened on Sunday 5 June and will remain open until 23 July 2022, hosts on the first floor an important nucleus of sculptures by Vittorio Tavernari (1919-1987), created in the years around the Manifesto, preserved in the Associazione Giovanni Testori Archive.

The exhibition inaugurated the ARCHIVIFUTURI project, the first edition of the Festival degli Archivi del Contemporaneo, organised by the network of the same name set up thanks to the winning project of the PIC 2020/2022, supported by the Lombardy Region.

The works on display, which are accompanied by important coeval drawings, lead the visitor to the discovery of those crucial years for the activity of Milanese artists and for the stylistic evolution of the sculptor, who was committed to unhinging the figurative. During the exhibition period, Casa Testori also organises curator-guided tours and educational workshops for families to provide a deeper insight into the artist, his works and his technique.

Opening the exhibition is a plaster sculpture from 1943: made for the following year’s casting, it gives body to a female figure in torsion that well represents Tavernari’s modelling before the war, prior to the sculptural production linked to the Manifesto years. We can see a process on the body in the making, witnessed by a bronze version with arms, now lost but published in Argine Numero in 1946.

The core of the seven wood sculptures presented in the exhibition belongs to the period linked to the Manifesto, between 1944 and 1947. In them, one can see the evolution from a strongly figurative depiction to a simplification of forms that gives them a primitive and archaic connotation, tending towards that abstractionism that would in fact characterise the artist’s later period, from 1948 onwards. Maternità (Maternity, 1944) opens the series with simple, essential strokes that sharply delineate volumes. The figures are presented in static poses but characterised by ancestral and imperceptible movements, as in Donna che si sveste (1945). It is a pair of sculptures that constitutes an almost obligatory start to represent the full range of Tavernari’s mobile production during the war, as already highlighted in the exhibitions in which they were both exhibited, at the Pavilion of Contemporary Art in Milan (1969) or at the Rodin Museum in Paris (1973).

A nucleus of three small-format sculptures with great plastic tension dates back to 1945 and clearly presents the slightly later phase of Tavernari’s production. The somatic features and details of the clothing disappear to make way for more compact and faceted forms that evoke the sketch, chosen to embellish the expressive force inherent in the material. This treatment is less pronounced in Cariatide and finds its full expression in Figuretta femminile con braccio levato dietro la testa and Figuretta femminile con braccia distese, two sculptures that show a changed search for the impression of movement, on the edge of the imperceptible.

Concluding the tour is a pair of sculptures of different proportions placed in dialogue with each other. Realised after the publication of the ManifestoPiccolo nudo (1946) and Torso femminile (1947) set out on the path that would lead to abstractionism and Tavernari’s famous “Torsos”. The artist transforms wood by finely carving it into sinuous forms in which only the distinctive anatomical elements remain recognisable.

In a close dialogue with the sculptures, one wall is dedicated to Tavernari’s contemporary graphic activity, displaying, on the one hand, a series of nudes strongly linked to the pre-Manifesto period of plaster sculpture and, on the other, a trio in which the same material plane work of the wooden sculptures on display can be traced, expressed here in pen and ink drawings on wet paper. These are often two-sided drawings, in which Tavernari reuses papers belonging to the first period, resulting in documents that condense the formal characteristics of this crucial passage for the artist, from 1943 to 1948.

Moreover, as early as 1966, Carlo Ludovico Ragghianti, when writing a catalogue of Tavernari’s drawings, explained the decisiveness of the artist’s progress in drawing, where “the pen of varying thickness is used with aggressive marking and tracing speed, on a paper medium that is wet or soaked so that the figure can “settle” immediately, appear immersed in an atmosphere that is not uniform or fluid, but of varying and contrasting intensity.” 

Finally, in the exhibition, the centrality of the Manifesto for Tavernari and the Varese cultural environment is confirmed by the evocation of the Mostra del “Numero”, set up in Bruno Grossetti’s Galleria Varese in the summer of 1946, probably at the behest of the sculptor, who wanted to bring the artists who, to varying degrees of involvement, were part of the magazine to his area. An important exhibition that had been lost track of, where works by Tavernari himself and Ciri Agostoni, Giuseppe Ajmone, Aldo Bergolli, Bruno Cassinari, Renato Guttuso, Ibrahim Kodra, Ennio Morlotti, Giovanni Paganin, Armando Pizzinato, Ernesto Treccani, and Emilio Vedova were presented. A team that had already changed with respect to the signatories of the Manifesto, in which Testori’s absence stands out, in years of upheavals, continuous rethinking and cultural or programmatic reorganisation for artists always divided between the need to share and the need for independence.

The exhibition at Casa Testori inaugurated the project ARCHIVIFUTURI. First Edition of the Festival degli Archivi del Contemporaneo, organised by the network of the same name set up thanks to the project Archivi del Contemporaneo. Lombardia terra d’artisti, winner of the Integrated Cultural Plans – PIC 2020/2022, implemented by the Lombardy Region to promote strategic cultural planning in integrated and multi-sectoral forms that require coordination between public and private subjects.

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Tuesday – Friday: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.; 2.30 p.m. to 6 p.m
Saturday, Sunday and Monday: closed


A project by Casa Testori
Curated by Davide Dall’Ombra
Castello Gamba – Museo d’arte moderna e contemporanea
Châtillon, Valle d’Aosta
22 June – 25 September 2022

L’ultima guerra di Mario Schifano 1988-1998 is the exhibition that the Castello Gamba – Museo di arte moderna e contemporanea of the Autonomous Region of Valle d’Aosta dedicates to the great protagonist of 20th century painting from 22 June to 25 September 2022. The artist (1934-1998) is one of the most important presences in the museum’s permanent collection with Calore localeCollinarePer vedereOrizzontale and Vista interrotta, works that are the result of a period of residence by Schifano in Valle D’Aosta between February and March 1988 and that are presented in the exhibition with an unprecedented arrangement in relation to the landscape that inspired them. Schifano worked feverishly in a wing of the former priory of Saint-Bénin, producing dozens and dozens of paintings, along with works on paper, that were exhibited at the Tour Fromage in the exhibition Mario Schifano. Verde fisico, held from 30 April to 24 July 1988.

The exhibition L’ultima guerra di Mario Schifano 1988-1998 – a project by Casa Testori, curated by Davide Dall’Ombra and realised by the Autonomous Region of Valle d’Aosta, Department of Cultural Heritage, Tourism, Sport and Commerce – has as its starting point the Valle d’Aosta episode of 1988 and aims to explore the last extraordinary years of Schifano’s career, up to his death in 1998. An unrepeatable decade for the artist: feverish and prolific years, perhaps contradictory, of hand-to-hand struggle with works, of return to painting and of ‘war’ with painting itself, as with his own addictions and obsessions, years marked by the usual and unstoppable creative urgency.

In the beginning was “Chimera”
The major works from the 1980s and 1990s on show are introduced by a video, curated by Casa Testori, which recounts the birth of Chimera, the monumental work created by Schifano during a one-night-only performance in Florence in 1985. A pivotal moment for understanding the strength of Schifano’s pictorial gesture and the communicative nature of his work, which well explains the climate in which the artist’s intention to live in Valle d’Aosta a few years later was born. This is a pivotal episode in understanding Schifano’s confrontation with archaeology, fundamental to his training and also central to his paintings in Valle d’Aosta.

Masterpieces for a Glance
In the dramatic months that Europe is experiencing nowadays, the “portraits” of war in the proper sense that Schifano dedicates to the Gulf crisis appear painfully topical. It is a period, since the late 1980s, in which the artist is particularly affected by the media and multimedia. During the years of voluntary confinement in his studio-house, television became for him a window on the world and an obsessive source of inspiration. Turning his attention to the main news events of the time, he gives us his own, poignant view of the war, expressed in works that are inseparable from his career. In the main room dedicated to temporary exhibitions, two monumental works dedicated to the drama of the war in Iraq are presented: Tearful [In lacrime] of 1990, which has become a sort of ideal self-portrait of the artist, and Sorrisi Scomparsi of 1991, the only possible face of the tragedy in Kuwait. In Tearful, the drama of war is seen from the inside of the father-son relationship, starting with a photo cut from «Time» of 10 December 1990, where a child looks on bewildered while his soldier father, leaving for the front, bows his head covering his face in tears. In Sorrisi scomparsi a crowd of new faceless faces are overlaid by the Arabic translation of the work’s title and give substance to the collective drama of Kuwait.

The pictorial reworking of TV images goes hand in hand with the photographic one. Schifano sends dozens of rolls of film a day to print: photos taken of TV screens that accumulate in his studio in bunches and are involved in a process that is both devouring and germinating.

The exhibition presents four large plexiglass-framed panel compositions (293 x 186 cm each) featuring more than 1.300 10×15 cm photographs retouched in oil and felt-tip pen, taken between the late 1980s and early 1990s. They are the result of the artist’s voracious eye and personality: “I feel like a media… Through this window [the TV] I capture the images that most strike me, the messages from the dramatic reality that presses upon us. But I am not a passive spectator. As I follow the dizzying succession of events on the video, I think, reflect, create”. An endless production that Emilio Mazzoli called “Schifano’s ‘rosary”, poured out during the day at every free opportunity, in an attempt to leave an imprint on what was happening around him.

Homage to Emilio Mazzoli
The exhibition was also created with the intention of celebrating the 80th birthday of a pivotal figure in Schifano’s career, Emilio Mazzoli, one of Italy’s most important gallery owners and his passionate supporter in those years. For the occasion, Mazzoli has generously made available to Castello Gamba – thanks to his relationship of collaboration and esteem with Casa Testori – the germinal works by Schifano presented and will exceptionally be on show with his double portrait, never exhibited before, executed by Schifano between 1994 and 1995: CARO EMILIO CONTINUA… (print and mixed media on paper applied on board, 180 x 135 cm each). A tribute to a key figure in post-war Italian artistic culture, capable of grasping the value of the artist in his early days and determined to support and accompany him, also thanks to the involvement of the most revolutionary critical pens of his time, such as Giovanni Testori and Achille Bonito Oliva.

Schifano among his nature
The upper part of the castle is dedicated to the precise reconstruction, through works, documents, images and unpublished testimonies, of the story of Schifano’s staying in Aosta in 1988, thanks to the discovery of an unpublished photographic campaign of the exhibition and beautiful photos of Schifano at work in his studio in Aosta. This pivotal episode was part of a lively cultural moment in Valle d’Aosta, with the establishment of the Regional Exhibitions Office in 1986 and a particular focus on exhibition activities of an international nature. The energy of the patrons and the commitment of art critics such as Janus (Roberto Gianoglio, 1927-2020), led to the realisation of original exhibition events, often monographic in nature, with a continuous flow of dozens of exhibitions a year, between 1986 and 1995, for a total of over one hundred. Artists were invited to exhibit their works, sharing them with the community, and the exhibitions also allowed an important enrichment of the Region’s collections. This is documented in the exhibition by the Fabbri “Valle d’Aosta Cultura” series, presented in the room of the Gamba Museum dedicated to the Valle’s commissions.

Price included in the Museum entrance fee

Every day from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

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Margaux Bricler, Binta Diaw, Zehra Doğan, Iva Lulashi,
Giorgia Ohanesian Nardin, Iman Salem

In dialogue with: Carol Rama and Giovanni Testori
Curated by Rischa Paterlini with Giuseppe Frangi
Casa Testori
2 April – 25 June 2022
Graphic project: CH RO MO/Roberto Montani.

After the experience of the exhibition Libere Tutte in 2019, Casa Testori continues the path dedicated to what Lea Vergine had renamed “the other half of art” and adds a piece to the story written by many feminist artists at the end of the 1960s by addressing with more radicality themes related to the body and the entity.

SEGNI DI ME. Il corpo, un palcoscenico presents six young artists born between 1985 and 1995, called to interact with a great figure of the recent past, Carol Rama. At the centre of their work is the relationship with the body, which becomes the terrain of artistic expression. Powerful and sometimes provocative works enter the rooms of Casa Testori, insisting on subjective experiences, criticising the painful legacy of sexism, violence and other power structures of contemporary culture. 
These works provide new and valuable insights into both historical and contemporary art. The exhibition is conceived as if it were a play, with the help of a wide range of media including paintings, sculptures, performances, drawings and photographs. An eighth protagonist then enters the scene, the host Giovanni Testori, with a series of large drawings from the mid-1970s that have the female body as their subject.

Curated by Rischa Paterlini with Giuseppe Frangi, the exhibition brings to the rooms of the Novate Milanese residence, in addition to Carol Rama and Giovanni Testori, the works of Margaux BriclerBinta DiawZehra DoğanIva LulashiGiorgia Ohanesian Nardin and Iman Salem.

Interweaving the eroticism of Iva Lulashi’s painting, the sensuality of Binta Diaw’s photographs, Zehra Doğan’s deformed figures, Margaux Bricler’s sculptures or sphinxes, animal, female and demonic figures, Giorgi Ohanesian Nardin’s long live performance and Iman Salem’s photographs, with the historical works of Carol Rama and Giovanni Testori, the exhibition stages stories in which carnality and passion mix. By being represented, the body becomes objectified: this mechanism is the direct criticism not only of the visual clichés we are used to, but also of the ways of viewing it.

The young artists invited, highlighting their commitment to reclaiming the body and going beyond the historical legacy of feminism, have developed works of great intensity, generating an encounter-counterpoint that finds further reflection where each element is a fragment of a body on an empty stage. These fragments of works-bodies make it possible to achieve balances of considerable formal and aesthetic intensity that are highly involving for visitors.The exhibition was inspired by the words on the invitation that African-American artist Kara Walker wrote for her first solo show in New York at the Wooster Gardens/Brent Sikkema gallery in 1995, “The High and Soft Laughter of the N*****s Wenches at Night”, which read as follows: «Don’t miss the incredible “paper story” of a black woman in slavery who tells of her extraordinary escape to freedom». These words are put in relation to those of an article that Giovanni Testori wrote in 1979 for the front page of the Corriere della SeraLa vergogna dello stupro (The shame of rape): «We would not want that, as is happening with other shames and crimes, by dint of talking, writing and discussing about them, without ever taking responsibility for a gesture, we would end up accustoming man to what is not human. The habit of everything is one of the greatest risks that man is running; the negative impulse that wants to reduce him to a “thing” is leading him to it. Now the end point of this risk cannot be a new consciousness, but the darkness and the night that opens up over the eliminated or destroyed consciousness».

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The rooms on the ground floor of Casa Testori are dedicated to site-specific works by Margaux Bricler, Binta Diaw, Zehra Doğan and Iva Lulashi. For the opening Giorgia Ohanesian Nardin and Iman Salem will present a performance that will be documented in the exhibition with photographs taken by Iman Salem. On the walls of the large hall, there is a tribute to the artist Carol Rama, whose work has proved to be a valuable reference for many contemporary women artists, in particular for her modern vision of femininity and her way of representing her own body since the 1930s, intolerant of bourgeois constraints and hypocrisies. Intense works from the 1960s celebrating an identity that was both refined and animalistic, and which anticipated a new way of feeling: materials such as rubber, glass eyes, skins, hair and nails are elements that recur in these works, true enactments of her own identity.

My works – said the artist in 1997 answering a question form Corrado Levi – will be very much liked by those who have suffered, and who have not known how to get out of suffering… Because having had a mother in a psychiatric clinic and having also felt well in that environment there… Because I started in that way there to be with gestures and ways without preparation neither cultural nor of etiquette… I believe that everyone will love those gestures more, because they are gestures that, for reasons that I don’t dare to say, belong to everyone… Because madness is close to everyone… And there are absolutely those who deny it… And those who deny it are just mad, melancholic, sad, unapproachable… Because it is like culture. Culture is a privilege, which I could have done too… But I have always felt more flexible to drawing, to a painting, a story, a composition.

A room on the ground floor allows the works to be viewed only from the outside, through a hole. Inside are some works that Giovanni Testori created in 1975 and exhibited at the Galleria del Naviglio in Milan: large graphite papers with close-ups on female anatomical subjects.

The exhibition has been realised thanks to the collaboration of Galleria del Ponte, Turin and Prometeogallery, Milan and thanks to the support of Banca Generali and Art Defender

Catalogue with texts by: Corrado Levi, Giovanni Testori, Giuseppe Frangi, Rischa Paterlini, Marlene L. Müller.


In order to make it internationally usable, we have created an English version of our website!

The translation mainly concerned those pages that recount the history of the “Casa”, that describe the various facets of the Association, from the history of the initiatives organised, to the archive and the art library, and, finally, those that outline the multifaceted figure of Giovanni Testori.

To access the English-language content, simply click on the flag in the menu bar of the website, located at the top right in desktop mode, or as the last item in the hamburger menu in mobile mode (in the same way you return to the Italian version of the website).


Emma Ciceri
A project by Casa Testori
Curated by Gabi Scardi
Produced by Dok Mobile
Castello Sforzesco, Museo della Pietà Rondanini
14 September – 12 October 2021
Casa Testori
9-30 November 2021

On the occasion of Milan Art Week 2021, the Castello Sforzesco Museums, from 14 September to 12 October, presented Nascita Aperta by Emma Ciceri, a Casa Testori project curated by Gabi Scardi
The work – two videos projected simultaneously – was set up in the restored spaces of the former Spanish Hospital, since 2015 home to the Pietà Rondanini Museum.

Nascita Aperta (Open Birth) is the performance that the artist has created with her daughter in front of Michelangelo’s Pietà Rondanini, the last sculpture he worked on. The daily experience of mother and daughter is that of bodies that, out of necessity, stay close to each other, in many gestures of absolute normality. That daily ritual has been carried and relived by them in long moments spent in front of Michelangelo’s work, where Mother and Son find themselves similarly close in a relationship that binds their bodies into a sculptural unicum. 
«We bring our daily experience of visiting the body of a work: Michelangelo’s Pietà Rondanini explains Emma Ciceri  We spent time with the sculpture, letting the encounter become what it is for our bodies in the home environment: a possibility of research. In the Pietà Rondanini, the embrace between mother and child creates a vital flow that does not allow us to distinguish where life ends and death begins; the sculpture has become a source of questions for us about the relationship between our bodies, and for us, it has become a source of inspiration». 
«Nascita Aperta is a self-portrait and, at the same time, a metaphor for a relationship in which two lives are inextricably linked», explains the curator Gabi Scardi. «It is also a declaration of adherence to life and form, not for what it must be, but for what it is. In insisting on bodies, gestures, on those rituals of contact and care, Emma Ciceri’s images are objective, explicit, yet interior; interior is the time they impose, going beyond all contingency».
«The relationship between mother and daughter, unveiled by Emma Ciceri in the folds of a touching and intimate humanity, is compared with the image of Mother and Son in Michelangelo’s last work», says Giovanna Mori, Curator of the Museo della Pietà. «The artist expresses herself with confident abandon, managing to highlight the extraordinary topicality of a masterpiece that Michelangelo created without any commission, laying bare her soul».

The work, which consists of two videos projected simultaneously, was set up in one of the restored niches of the former Spanish Hospital. «We are very grateful to the management of Castello Sforzesco for making possible both the realisation of this work of great human and emotional value and its presentation in this space adjacent to Michelangelo’s masterpiece, so beloved by Giovanni Testori», said Giuseppe Frangi, vice-president of Casa Testori, the cultural association that supported the production of Emma Ciceri’s videos.
«Having identified a convergence with respect to the Pietà Rondanini, with its figures dramatically fused even beyond the last breath, shows how culture is constitutive of individual and collective memory, and vice versa, experience, even the most cogent, is substantiated through assimilated, incorporated images» concludes Gabi Scardi.


The Greek sculptor Pygmalion had fallen in love with his own statue, Galatea, to the point of considering her superior to any woman and sleeping next to her. Aphrodite then decided to please him by giving her life. Similarly, Matteo Negri has tried to bring a 1970s Piaggio Vespa to life by making it in bronze and fitting it with a fairing that allows it to pirouette. The Vespa is thus a symbol of freedom, of lightness, and almost seems to dance like a ballerina flying on her own legs.

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Vestiti come una Vespa, 2016, bronze forecast fusion, mechanical engine, iron, wood cm 135x120x240


A floral playing card, a fragment of a garden enclosed in the room where many years ago the artist first exhibited his ceramics at Casa Testori. There are no longer underwater mines to welcome the viewer into the room, there are flowers immersed in lush vegetation. The ceramics thus attempt to compete with the tropical flora, in a continuous regeneration of colours that challenges nature (here controlled and kept alive by sensors and electronic systems), trying to blend in and steal its intimate beauty.

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Cinque di fiori, 2016, selected tropical flora, irrigation digital sensor, water, felt, PVC, engobes on clay, led light cm 200x260x40


Aleppo is a chrome-plated spinning top, hollow inside, with a motor that makes it turn thirty times a minute. It is a work that recounts the vitality and desire for normality of the children of a tormented country like Syria, which is trying to be reborn. Aleppo chromatically narrates the landscape of childhood, constituting a baggage in continuous movement in which colours and play are contained, in a horizon in which the present continues incessantly, sometimes painfully, to knock at the door.

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Aleppo, 2016, environmental installation, mechanical engine, steel, polyester fiberglass, chromed paint, glass colour


Handfuls of letters sown and lost by a big whimsical rolling ball. Words in great freedom and of curious incomprehensible quality. Words like starry skies to be joined with a hyphen. Words like constellations, words to look and see beyond the nose. Words to read without understanding, with your mouth open.

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Delle più belle, le parole, manco a dirle pensano di essere, 2016, environmental installation, silicone mold rubber, wood, Wood neon light, WowPowder

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