I can become obsessive, especially when it comes to certain perennials, vintage Royal Copenhagen and antique aperitif glasses. But I am not often fixated.
My proposal to create a walk/installation during my artist residency at Arte Studio Ginestrelle, Mt. Subasio, Italy began as a conceptual idea. In New York, it was easy to imagine the path, the objects in situ; even the rhythm of the walker. Most of this planning fell apart, the minute I arrived at Ginestrelle.
There were so many paths. Each one had a different meaning. They were all beautiful. It was Marina Merli, Director of Arte Studio Ginestrelle, who suggested walking the path to the source of water that once fed the farmhouse of the artist residency. This became my chosen route.
I became hooked on the connection between the house and the water source. The intention of my project was to interfere with the landscape. To place/create objects in the landscape that would focus the walker’s attention. The objects would magnify the environment creating a hyper-awareness of the walker’s surroundings.
This entire work was inspired by Wanderlust, A History of Walking by Rebecca Solnit. It was a quote from this book that began the walk and I hoped those initial sentences would stay with the walker throughout the journey to the top of the hill.
“Walking allows us to be in our bodies and in the world without being made busy by them. It leaves us free to think without being wholly lost in our thoughts. The rhythm of walking generates a kind of rhythm of thinking and the passage through a landscape echoes or stimulates the passage through a series of thoughts. This creates an odd consonance between internal and external passage, one that suggests that the mind is also a landscape of sorts and that walking is one way to traverse it.” Rebecca Solnit
The path to the water was approximately 1/4 of a mile. I hadn’t counted on such a long run. Some of the “objects” for the walk, I had brought with me, but it wasn’t enough. I rummaged around the outbuildings at Arte Studio. Marina and her family had saved all sorts of stuff… farm implements, furniture, wire, pots, old signs. It made for good foraging, but I wasn’t completely satisfied with my stockpile. As a distraction, I went up to my room and started flipping through a home magazine I had bought at the airport. It wasn’t really a eureka moment, but it could be the answer.
Once I solved that problem, everything else fell into place.
The mirror was something I always had in my head from the beginning. I just didn’t realize how the positioning of the mirror would make so much difference. The mirror was placed at the top of a steep climb. As you approached the site, it looked like a frame hanging from a tree; until you saw yourself in the landscape.
You made it to the source. Have a drink!