What happens when three young naïve dreamers meet?
Things that once looked impossible can become reality and beauty reigns.
This is what happened when Carlotta Strobele, Emanuele Montibeller and Enrico Ferrari decided to create an association to promote both art in general and art found in nature.
A sort of “land art” someone would say?
Well, not really.
The idea of Arte Sella, the association that takes its name from the valley where the association operates, is different.
Their approach to art and nature is a dynamic one: art isn’t the leading actor and nature doesn’t take only a backstage role- they are both co-stars. One is vital to the other in a dynamic relationship which finds its climax in every piece of art that returns to nature.
Each piece is made from organic materials. Its objective is to stand out from nature for a while and then return to it, dissolving back into it.
If you think this approach is too philosophical, that’s far from the truth: wear a pair of comfortable shoes, a light, warm jumper and some trousers and get ready to walk through the wood on the side of Mount Armentera to admire the installations.
No museums and no large halls…the sky is the vault and the path you’ll follow is grassy:
The name of the first track is simply “Art and Nature”.
25 Art installations are on show along the track and in the wood.
Area Malga Costa & Cattedrale Naturale: Malga is the Italian name for a stable located in the Alps and once used as a refuge for shepherds and cattle. The Arte Sella association took it over and the Malga is now the beating heart of the association: visiting artists meet there, and it hosts events such as music concerts and art performances to name just a few.
And it’s from Malga Costa where the second track winds up around the mountain.
Many more art installations are lined up along the route to the Cattedrale Naturale, the Nature Cathedral by the Italian artist Giuliano Mauri.
The installation is made of 80 columns of interwoven tree branches. Each column is 12m high and 1m wide.
The most stunning detail is that each column is actually the delicate cradle of a small hornbeam tree.
The ties will slowly but relentlessly loosen and fall to the ground, the branches will fall too and become an easy prey for insects and the weather which will dissolve them; they’ll become part of the soil and nurture the roots of the new hornbeam trees.
Isn’t it dramatically romantic and totally natural?
Arte Sella is more than just a collection of art installations: the association organizes kids’ labs, guided tours, social meetings, artistic performances and it hosted the third European Land Art Network Symposium in 2014.
Not bad for three friends who were laughed at a few years ago by the locals!
Where to stay: at Villa Irma
Cover image: Stuart Ian Frost, A fior di pelle, Copyright photo Giacomo Bianchi