Finalist of the Broomhill Sculpture Prize

Claudia Borgna

Monday 2 July 2012

One night long inside 'La Stanza degli Aquiloni di Piero'

.........The exhibition I went to see with Valeria is in Villafranca Piemonte (TO), a charming town perfectly restored to it past and less than an hour from Turin.

Piero Lerda's collages are hosted until 22nd July in a beautiful piemontese baroque church: Chiesa della Beata Vergine, once an old monastery, bang in the middle of town and surrounded by cafes and by the old cattle exchange market.

The curator of the show is Willy Darko
This time only two works out Piero's vast selection is on display.
One of these has particularly touched me. It's from the series 'Chansons de toile'; an untitled composition of found sartorial materials laced together by colourful ribbons.
The tangible tactility of this ensemble has almost brought me to tears. I think I responded to the balanced movement of two tender opposite forces: the 'female' and the 'male': the yin and yang. Each role perfectly represented in an equilibrium of tensions captured within the frame but ready to take off into the next phase.
Maybe that is the reason why this painting is so emotionally charged, because it anticipated Piero's   'Kites series' as well as my overnight stay in his studio.

From a group show to a solo show, from Villafranca back to Piero and Valeria's home in Turin.

What an eventful evening it turned out to be! First an apocalyptical storm and then a black out!
Maybe Piero's welcome to his house and to his studio. Because that's exactly where I slept that night: 'nella stanza degli Aquiloni', the 'kite room', as I have baptized it now! A most poetic place to dream in. All night surrounded by Piero's rainbow of energy.

Fragments of thoughts, impressions cut out of daily life blending in the paint like dreams into the night and slowly drifting to the rim of our consciousness on kites' paper tails.
Jazzy kites dancing off circumstantial, carefully placed notes. Animated by hope but also by a severe critique to modern world.
Hundreds of cuttings blasting off their paint. At times in a futurist like manner, morphing into ferocious warriors about to blow up into minacious bombshells. A vortex of colours deserting the central vacuum of negative space. Kites flying out high, only to hit their margins and bring our dreams back to reality. It is between the strain of hope and reality that I think Piero creates his poetry.

While tumbleweeding into the twirl of the night, I could sense the tension hiding in between that invisible space created by the contact of the paper cuts to the glue. An elastic ping pong game where the kites bounced in and out of my imagination. All night long chasing kites and running, running from reality towards fantasy. Eventually waking up only to see all kites kept by their the tails, glued back into place: the sticky adhesive of society's conventions.

Piero's kites sail as far out as his canvases but never further. Consistently monitored in a motherly protective act towards his creations and his hopes. Arguably a modernist and eliterian attitude, but a necessary one to keep his kites pure from real disillusionment. Rational decisions made to keep his artwork uncontaminated in order to keep fuelling hopes, passion: Piero's art. A skillful mechanism, I say, that snobs the needy egos of the rest of us artists!

The result is a controlled, ordered chaos, that he was able to create and could well afford to do so, maybe just only because he knew best.
Only artists with a clear sense of life and a deep knowledge and understanding of the world they live in, are able to construct chaos and to question it. The rest, like me, who are perpetually confused, seek order as a necessary tool to make sense of the same world: of life.
My internal chaos needs to be organized, ordered and catalogued to manifest itself as art. On the contrary, Piero, could compose and master chaos with great skill instead.

.....and after a night long flying with Piero's kites, like them I also hit the edge: the morning after one. I woke up to the frustrating reality of yet another railway strike and to the sad italian political situation.

As for Piero's work check out his website to see his kites that are far too large for the world or the world is far too small for them!  Have a safe Flight!

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