- Contact, environmental installations by architect Guido Mitidieri
Many of us are familiar with the famous words of Marcel Proust about voyages, although they are often paraphrased or only the first part is quoted: “The only true voyage of discovery, the only fountain of Eternal Youth, would be not to visit strange lands but to possess other eyes, to behold the universe through the eyes of another, of a hundred others, to behold the hundred universes that each of them beholds, that each of them is.”
The artwork created by Guido Mitidieri, a young Tuscany-based architect who has worked a great deal abroad, particularly in Finland, gives us the chance to behold nature through the eyes of another. He shows us a small part of the universe seen through his eyes, paving the way for seeing and experiencing nature in a new, and different way.
The zone of his project is Lake Suviana, a man-made lake in the Bolognese Apennines that was formed following the construction of a dam, which began in 1928 and was completed in 1932 and mainly fed by the eastern Limentra torrent for the production of hydroelectric power. It is part of the Regional Park of the Suviana and Brasimone Lakes and is now also a popular spot for swimming and water sports.
It is also where Guido Mitidieri spent a few weeks from June to July 2018 living in close contact with the local nature. During his stay, he whiled away his days observing nature and her slow changes - spring giving way to summer, whose arrival he wanted to celebrate with his artistic actions that document the effects of the summer season on the landscape and its inhabitants.
In order to do this, he only used materials he scavenged from the lakeside shores, to create temporary installations in complete harmony with the cyclical dynamics of nature - ebbing and flowing, gentle and harsh, storms and sun. Behind these installations, explains Guido, “is a visual exploration of that process of birth, growth and death that is the real essence of our world”. A reflection that draws the architect to the Japanese expression ichi-go ichi-e, in other words, the cultural concept that every meeting with every person is unique and we should treasure all of them. The idea is that the time you spend with other people should be seen as very precious because that exact same moment will never come back again. The concept itself was born from the tea ceremony because although host and guests may see each other often socially, any given tea gathering can never be repeated exactly, so you must put your heart and soul into caring for your guests and making sure everything is just so.
Mitidieri applies this concept to the environmental installations that he calls “Contatti”, or contacts: he wraps stones in fresh leaves, he arranges small branches and twigs, constantly aware that this action will never be repeated, that it is unique. Environmental art that enables us to see not only the beauty of nature, such as the endless shades of green of the leaves he used, but also to behold, at least for a moment, the world through the eyes of another - his - and grasp the ethical and aesthetic essence of slowness and of change.
Project: Guido Mitidieri
Location: Lake Suviana, Italy
Images: courtesy of Guido Mitidieri