Le bambine albisolesi

Rossana Campo, Le bambine albisolesi  1

Rossana Campo, Le bambine albisolesi  2

Rossana Campo, Le bambine albisolesi  3

Rossana Campo, Le bambine albisolesi  4

Rossana Campo, Le bambine albisolesi  5

Rossana Campo, Le bambine albisolesi  6

Rossana Campo, Le bambine albisolesi  7

So what am I doing at the Biennale of Ceramics?

The route’s the same; it’s just that I’ve been doing it backwards: as a child I lived in Piazza della Libertà, right in front of the Albisola Superiore’s Town Hall. I’d leave home in the mornings dazed and confused (I’ve always had trouble rejoining the world, especially early in the morning), and with my satchel over my shoulder I’d head across the village. I’d stop and buy a focaccia from the Pescetto bakery (run by the family of my classmate Riccardo, aka Ricchi) and then dawdle across the gardens surrounding Villa Gavotti before finally going into school (the school overlooked the autostrada and was behind the Bar Mara and the Studio Ernan Design). I’d meet up with my friend Damiano Rossello and various other classmates. Damiano and I got along really well, we both liked clowning around and we liked doing impressions of our classmates or the comics on TV. We loved doing Cochi and Renato, the duo who sung E la vita l’é bela. Damiano was really something of a star in drawing and once on my birthday he gave me an incredible red and brown ceramic mushroom that I kept on my bedside table for goodness knows how many years. Now we’re in 2003 and a fair few years have passed; damn it, it’s over thirty and Roberto Costantino has invited me to participate in the Biennale of Ceramics in Contemporary Art at Albisola and… well, it’s a nice coincidence. Something with a bit of magic about it. That’s right, because I immediately found myself following the same route (albeit backwards) that I followed as a kid to go to school. Now in the mornings (still with a certain difficulty in getting started) I leave my hotel near the motorway, cross the gardens surrounding Villa Gavotti, buy a focaccia from the Pescetto bakery (Ricchi’s there now) and go to meet Damiano Rossello in his workshop.
Quite apart from these coincidences, I would like to explain just why there’s something magical about all this for me. After having written a number of novels (seven to be precise), I took up painting. Not having attended art school of any kind and not having been much good at drawing even in primary school, it seemed like a major challenge, one that gave me the sensation of putting myself on the line once again and exploring new territories. I began working on large canvases with oil paints and pastels and I liked using the language of colours, of the hands, of gestures, of that which escapes rational control and the shells that begin to form as we move away from our childhood (and from the charge of emotions, grief, absolute joy and profound unhappiness that it entails). At times I’d ask myself what on earth I was doing? but then there were the works and words of the painters I’ve always loved, Dubuffet and Asger Jorn for example (and how about that for another coincidence, a painter who lived at Albisola for many years!), and the sense of freedom and openness to new possibilities that their works have always given me so I kept on painting and connecting up with my infantile, undomesticated side, the living, clumsy side of life (of my life). In short, painting makes me feel pleasantly insecure, unprofessional, not “adult.” For this reason, when I received Roberto Costantino’s invitation there really seemed to be something magical about it, because I could venture still further along this path and tackle that thing that my old friend Damiano Rossello did so well as a kid, that rather magical thing that consisted of giving form to earth and filing it with colour. And do so in Albisola, where I spent my childhood. So, when in the mornings I used to go out to make ceramics I felt I was finally getting in touch with something that had been there for some time and was ready to emerge and have its say. And that, now, I’d like not to abandon and not to forget.

Rossana Campo

Le bambine albisolesi by Rossana Campo were made in Albisola in 2003 during the 2nd Biennial of Ceramics in Contemporary Art.