15.10.06

Art Brut #2 - Giovanni Battista Podestà


Create Your Own!

Giovanni Podestà (1895-1976) est un modeste ouvrier céramiste italien de la région des lacs du nord de l'Italie. Il réalise tout au long de sa vie des centaines des figurines en plâtre, objets peints et compositions, accompagnées de textes mystico-moralisateurs. Ses productions me rappellent les pièces bricolées d'artisans africains ou brésiliens, qui se servent de tout ce qui leur passe sous les mains pour réaliser avions, voitures, personnages, en canettes de Coca, bouts de bois, ficelle. Sortes de petites saynètes syncrétiques qui évoquent autant les crèches napolitaines que l'univers forain, ou ces objets de culte vaudou piquetés d'aiguilles et de clous. Mais en définitive ce qui me plaît le plus chez Podestà, c'est la couleur, un éclatement de tons primaires (primitifs ?), de verts, jaunes, bleus décorant des objets réalistes et naïfs, comme dans les anciens manèges. Ses oeuvres ont été collectionnées par Jean Tinguely à partir des années 50. On en retrouve de nombreuses à la Fabuloserie et il a fait récement l'objet de plusieurs importantes expositions.



Podestà was born in 1895 at Torre Pallavicina, a little village in Lombardy. His background was modest: his father died when he was a child and there was a large family to support (he had 12 sisters). In order to help the family, he left school at 10 and was apprenticed to a stonemason.

His experiences during the two world wars affected him deeply. When the First World War broke out, Podestà, then just 20 years old, was sent to the front. On his return home, he found it difficult to adjust to civilian life. He joined the carabinieri and was sent to Laveno, a small town beside Lake Maggiore, where he later worked in a large ceramics factory. In 1939, Podestà joined the army once again. This war, even more than the previous one, left him with deep and lasting moral scars.

A large part of his work was produced during the so-called ‘Italian miracle’ years (1950-1960), when the economy was developing at a rapid pace. Agrarian reform uprooted the social and technical structures of the northern Italian countryside. The rural society in which Podestà lived underwent a metamorphosis. People were wrenched away from their peasant culture, the links between nature and tradition brutally severed. Distanced from his community, excluded from his environment, uprooted and exiled, Podestà became the standard-bearer of protest at the extinction of his peasant ‘race’, the extinction of an entire symbolic heritage and its spiritual values.

1 commentaire:

daniel a dit…

Absolutely amazing! We've been enjoying his art for so many years! Thank you Podestà. We're loving your art, and we'll keep you in our hearts.