Visionary, outsider, side-street inspired architects, bricklayers of a dream… Costruttori
di Babele is a new metaphor reserved to self-taught artists who devoted years of
their life (at the boundaries or completely outside the official world or market
rules) to the creation of their own universe: a sculptured garden, an ark, a castle…
These spaces are well spread and object of attention in France and the U.S.A.
The authors are often bricklayers or workmen living in small villages; it isn’t uncommon
their beginning after retirement or having discovered a material they are particularly
attached to. They build around or on their own houses or properties, without a written
project: they use recycling materials for structures, sculptures and mosaics; they
gather shapes bringing to life colourful and creative sceneries. Their tales are
concentrated on the way of realisation or the uniqueness of their work; they tend
to be isolated from the community, being seen as bizarre people.Creations are restricted
to a selected area, valued only as a local hard-to-discover curiosity. Many of these
works risk disappearing after the death of their authors: heirs have conflicting
relationship with such a particular handwork, hard to maintain.
The aim of this website is to record the Italian constructions of Babel, for those
who are interested in. A work in progress realised thanks to “Babelic correspondents”.
In the summary the artists are gathered in a region-based criterion and each one
associated to a paper with: a) brief description of the environment; b) a photographic
documentation; c) cross-references (with bibliographic author/date notes). Creations
en plein air of “official” artists and architects are not taken into account, as
for unusual houses, mazes and commissioned gardens (that’s why the Parco dei tarocchi
made by Niki de Saint-Phalle or the Sacro Bosco of Bomarzo are not listed).
Architectures, open spaces full of assemblage, graffiti, writing and murals (all
particular appropriation of areas), collections and sceneries inside the house are
recorded. Destroyed sites are recorded too.
The purpose of the association of cultural and social promotion Costruttori di Babele
is to recognize, protect and value cultural, artistic and anthropological creations
on the ground, especially the Italian irregular ones described in this website. The
non-profit association develops research and dialogue activities with builders of
Babel; collects and produces documentary materials; promotes cultural activities…
The association is open to whoever wants to share aims and ways of working; annual
fee is 10 euro: please write to gabrielemina [at] hotmail.com
Gabriele Mina, I was born in 1973, I live in Savona (Liguria, Italy). I am a teacher
and an anthropologist. I devoted to tarantism rituals, body history and representation
of diversity. Among others, I edited the essays Ossessioni. Un antropologo e un artista
nel manicomio di Collegno (Besa 2009), Elephant Man. L’eroe della diversità: dal
freak-show al cinema di Lynch (Le Mani 2010) et Pietro Moschini. Scultore contadino
Avec Mario Andreoli,
Fiorenzo Pilia, Luigi Lineri.