Friday, 20 July 2012

European Outsider Art

Outsider Art - the garden of "Pixie Cottage", Alum Bay

The promised follow-up to This goodly frame, the earth: one of the references to Orfeo Bartolucci, creator of the "Mappamondo della Pace" globe in Apechia, tracked down to an interesting website.

Costruttori di Babele (Builders of Babel), is an Italian site, a work in progress by Gabriele Mina. Its brief is:
Costruttori di Babele รจ una ricerca dedicata alle architetture fantastiche e agli universi irregolari, realizzati in Italia da misconosciuti artisti autodidatti che hanno consacrato decenni della loro vita alla costruzione di un’opera totale, un castello visionario, una folla di personaggi, un archivio di sassi ...

(Builders of Babel is a dedicated search for fantastic architectures and irregular universes, realized in Italy by unacknowledged self-taught artists who have dedicated decades of their lives to building total works of art, a visionary castle, a crowd of characters, an archive of stones ...)
Even if you don't know Italian, it points to the works of a number of remarkable artists: the pebble-encrusted houses of Guerino Galzerano; the Museum of Ettore Guatelli, with its artistically-knolled collection of farm tools and memorabilia; the stone garden of Giovanni Cuccarollo; the lighted sculptures of Mario Andreoli; the ornamental garden of Umberto Bonini; the sculpture-filled "enchanted garden" of Marcello Cammi; Annunzio Lagomarsini's scary pantograph-raised 'flying house'; Angelo Stagnaro's Pria City, filled with jolly robot-like figures; Enrico Capra's house clad in ornamental brickwork and bas-relief; Giulio Rancilio's garden of naive sculpture; and many more.

There's an associated paperback book (in Italian) published by Eleuthera in 2011: Costruttori di Babele sulle tracce di architetture fantastiche e universi irregolari in Italia.

The website has links to a number of other sites on a similar theme. I particularly recommend Henk van Es's weblog Outsider Environments Europe, which covers in English many of the artists on Costruttori di Babele as well as dozens more across Europe in general, with a particular coverage of France. In his English section, I spotted only a couple that I knew of already: Sir Thomas Tresham's Triangular Lodge, and the Margate Shell Grotto (which has a brief reference to Margate Caves),

- Ray

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