d’Arte literally translates as River of Art, and consists
of an unusual attempt at exhibiting contemporary sculpture in a
kind of open-air museum, that takes advantage of the natural landscape
to arrive at a symbiosis of art and nature and provides interested
visitors an opportunity of exploring secluded and off-the-beaten-track
first stretch of the itinerary snakes its way along the coast; then,
it ventures inland through a forested region between the Nebrodi
and the Madonie Mountains. The project, initiated a few years ago,
is continuing, thanks to the cooperation of contemporary artists
from Italy and abroad. Allow at least half a day.
from Santo Stefano di Camastra driving the coast road westwards.
The first majestic sculpture looms into sight on the right, sitting
on the beach; it is called Monument to a Dead Poet, by Tano Festa,
and conceived as a window looking out to sea and to infinity; like
the two elements, sea and sky, that surround it, it is blue.
little further on, a small bridge aknowledges the Tusa river; there,
in the middle of this almost permanently dry river bed, stands the
second work, Pietro Consagra’s Matter could have not existed,
which is a linear conglomeration which breaks out onto two levels,
one white, the other black.
the river upstream, the road runs in the direction of Pettineo.
It climbs up into the Nebrodi mountains, providing beautiful views
over the landscape, where humankind evidence dwindles to disappear
giving way to the overriding presence of nature. The road is bordered
on both sides by olive trees resembling, in their contorted shape,
tortured, imprisoned souls; this makes way tor a sun-drenched landscape
ablaze with startlingly yellow bushes of flowering broom. Beyond
Pettineo, which is nestled atop a hill, appears a work by Paolo
Schiavocampo entitled A Curve Thrown After the Wind, shrouded in
silence. At last, Castel di Lucio comes into view; a sign on the
left points to Italo Lanfredini’s Ariadne, standing secluded
atop a hill (as the road turns in a bend to the left, keep straight
on). This windswept stone maze enclosed on all sides by a succession
of towering moutains enjoys a fabulous location.
on the main road, follow the winding way to Mistretta to view one
of the last artistic creations: the Ceramic Wall, to which some
40 artist contributed. Beyond Mistretta, take fork to Motta d’Affermo
where Antonio Di Palma’s blue wave entitled the Mediterranean
Energy dominates the landscape.
back to the coast side at the Hotel Atelier sul Mare in Castel di
Tusa, where Antonio Presti once of the prime instigators and promoters
of the Fiumara project, has made seveeral rooms available to artists
and allowed them to transform them into works of art in their own
work deserves a mention: The Room of the Golden Boat by Hidetoshi
sheltered within a cave on the bed of the river Romei, near Mistretta.
Inside, the rock is entirely faced with plates of polished steel
– most disorientating. Somewhere within the enclosed place,
a pink marble tree has been “planted” in the ground,
on which the shell of an overturned boat has been built, and covered
in gold leaf. This work, however, is not intended to be seen; the
reason for its existence lies in the fact that it exists at all.
As such, we are encouraged not to go and see it, but merely to imagine
project is revitalised annually with a great event held in Pettineo
when kilometres of canvas are laid out along the lenght of the main
street and dozens of painters arrive to claim their stretch of allocated
space. (The event usually takes place in June. To confirm the dates
telephone the Hotel Atelier sul Mare).
Hotel Atelier sul Mare, in Castel di Tusa, (via Cesare Battisti
4, tel. 0921/334295) has succeeded in realising a truly original
dream and exploring the concept of how to exploit art in a new form.
Various rooms have been handed over to artists to be transformed
into works of art. What is particularly original, however, is that
these statements of interior decoration are not static; on the contrary,
they are in a continuous state of flux. For each new guest is invited
to leave his/her own individual imprint as he/she may feel inclined.
The idea is to create an interaction between the existing work,
which with time becomes inert and part of the everyday furnishing,
and the artist who during his/her stay will contemplate and inwardly
digest the decor before responding with his/her personal touch.
The predominant theme is water – the sea, treated as a fundamental
element and purifier of life, the return to man’s basic origins
and hence to humankind’s very existence. Each artist interprets
this idea in different ways.
guest is given the choice of the passionate red of Power (by Maurizio
Marchetti), the passionate red of the white of the Absorbing Nest
(by Paolo Icaro), the minimalist Mystery for the Moon (by Hidetoshi
Nagasawa), the deeply reflective Denial of the Sea (by Fabrizio
Plessi), or the complicated and crooked Room of the Prophet, to
name but a few of them. The rooms are accessible only to those spending
the night there.