It all began with a fascinating discovery: a print dated 1681 in the book "Modus Symbolicus" portraying a watering can of apparently clumsy, graceless shape. A utensil 300 years old, once commonly used by peasant farmers of the lower end of the Salento peninsula in the Italian region of Puglia, is given new life through the talent of ceramist Agostino Branca, who has faithfully reproduced it in his ceramics workshop in Tricase. The watering can, which operates by immersion, can be carried without wasting a single drop of water from its base. But when required, the opening at the top can be released so that the water precipitates in a gentle shower to water delicate young plants sprouting from the soil. It’s a humble object that has become a symbol of "La Parsimonia dell'acqua". The exhibition curated by Cintya Concari and Roberto Marcatti of non-profit association H2O Milano brings together the creativity of twenty-eight Italian and international artists and designers to promote respect for water and recognition of the need to preserve it, coming up with unique, highly significant works of art ideally expressed through the art of ceramics.
"Parsimony" is a word that is not often used today, but it is highly meaningful, representing the virtue of preservation, of avoiding waste and demonstrating respect for everything essential for life. The concept is reflected in the exhibition, which focuses on the importance of responsible management of water, a precious, vital resource.
The watering can, with its ability to hold water and distribute it without waste, becomes a symbol of wisdom and attention to that which is essential for life. This modest utensil teaches us that even simplicity can hold a profound life lesson for us. But "La Parsimonia dell'Acqua", “the parsimony of water”, not only celebrates the watering can as a useful item; it challenges the conventional idea of creativity, promoting the idea that true creativity lies in reinterpretation, reuse and ability to renew. The artists invited to participate in the exhibition have decorated and reinterpreted the watering can in unique ways, conveying a universal message of respect for water.
After opening in the Stables of Palazzo Gallone in Tricase, the "La Parsimonia dell'Acqua" exhibition travelled to Bari, where it was featured in the Acquedotto Pugliese building, and then to Taranto’s Acclavio Library, and it continues to travel. The Polo Biblio Museale of the Region Puglia, an organisation concerned with the operation of libraries and museums in the region that is playing an active role in the project, will take the exhibition to numerous other locations to continue spreading the message of respect for and conservation of water resources through art and creativity.
Images courtesy of H2O Milano Associazione no profit https://h2omilano.org/
Exhibition title: "La Parsimonia dell'Acqua"
Curated by Cintya Concari and Roberto Marcatti
Organised by H2O Milano Associazione no profit with Bottega Branca