La Fattoria di Celle between Prato and Pistoia: a world apart

On  June, the 12th  2012, Giuliano Gori is going to celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of the opening  to the public of his art collection in the  park surrounding his Fattoria di Celle, in the countryside between Prato and Pistoia.  An open-air permanent exhibition of contemporary art.  An interesting example of environmental art or site- specific art  (definitions still controversial among critics) where the work of art is on purpose created for that spot.  The sculptor  from the beginning  plans the piece in relationship to the background as an integral part of the creative process.  Displaced, it would lose its original meaning and communicative power. The existing environment is changed by the work of art  into a new unit which invites the viewer to participate. To take part in this unequalled exhibition,  the artist has to live and work on the site where  the park, the fields and the air  become essential elements of the process. World- wide known artists such as Melotti,  Karavan,  Pistoletto,  Staccioli ,  Le Witt,  Buren,  Paladino,  Vedova,  Folon were hosted for months at Giuliano Gori’s  late seventeenth century mansion,  extending over an area of roughly sixty acres. They lived the family life of their host, meeting regularly  around the family dinner table, sharing time, food and  conversation. They were asked to develop their ideas either outdoor or indoor,  even involving   some peculiar areas of the mansion such as  the Egyptian monument,  the tea house,  the aviary and other pre-existing  nineteenth century follies. All that results in artworks absorbed by the surrounding landscape they are integral part of.  They can’t be moved away and are eventually unsalable.  Giuliano Gori doesn’t like to be defined as an  art collector  and he as well dislikes to be asked about the economic value of the artwork, of something which,  according to him, is a whole  including at one time the artist, the relationships, the time, the words, the situations they lived.  Gori,  a silent  viewer and  listener and a discreet witness of the artistic process,  likes speaking about the changes entailing creation. He often underlines the metamorphosis of Magdalena Abakanowics who converted to bronze after having long neglected it or Robert Morris who abandoned minimalism for baroque. Gori’s attitude towards art can appear,  nowadays,  very idiosyncratic. As first step he feels he  has to be involved rather than with  the work, with the artist’s on-going swinging between joy and sorrow. This is Gori’s way of living the present,  its flowing and the mystery of the moment which only art can successfully express. That is why he doesn’t  like to call  himself a collector or patron of arts  who,  in a way, always keep an alert eye to the economical side.

When Gori chooses something for his collection he is taken away by a demon, by something undefinable, far away from any economic speculation. Difficult to say in time of the unrealistic evaluations of Hirst,  Cattelan or other superstars,  lost behind the tremendous outcry of the media. He has nothing to share with them.  He wants to  be faithful to the well rooted nature of a man living on strong passions, to his image of a postwar young boy,  sent by his father, a cloth fabric dealer from Prato, to a wholesaler who was  a painter as well. So dazzled by the paintings and  the colours,  Gori started to  ask questions not about cloth as he was supposed to but about art. That  was the path to be followed,  among the many which make up the labyrinth of life. Now, at 82,  he enjoys the event which is going to run on a double track.

From  March the 31st 2012 the Maeght Foundation of Saint Paul de Vence, Provence, will exhibit a part of Gori’s  20th century collection made up of paintings and  sculptures together with videos explaining his  life project. From June the 16th 2012  the event  will go on at Celle  to focus on  the unmovable works in the park, accompanied by  Giacometti’s Man Striding, borrowed  by the Maeght Foundation itself.

Is there  a better artistic metaphor to represent the adventure of Giuliano Gori?

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