Not Vital

From: 2001-11-29
To: 2002-01-26

Suffering from perforated appendicitis two years and a century ago, Segantini said: "I want to see my mountains". And then he passed away. He came here to the Engadine and took what he had long searched for in order to create the visual nucleus for his canvases. Beuys too said: "I want to see my mountains" and his wardrobe turned into a glacier - ‘Vadrec’ (t), chairs and chests of drawers became mountains - ‘Sciora’, ‘Cime’ and ‘Pennin’ and his bed ‘Walun Valley’. Many artists came here and still come, saw these mountains and wanted to capture this unavoidable granite. It’s impossible for you not to see these mountains because wherever you are, wherever you go, night and day, they’re before you like someone bestowing a tender look and caressing you. They allow the sun and the moon to shine and then hide them, they tear clouds apart and then that crash of avalanches in the Spring you used to hear in bed at night as a child and didn’t know whether the sound was animal or stone. This summer, whilst looking out of the window of the house I’ve always been living in, I became inspired by Piz S-chalambert, Piz Ajüz, Piz Lischana, Piz St. Jon and Piz Pisoc, my preference (one has always a favourite). I climbed it once, at night, perhaps so as not to wake that monster of a mountain. I’ve had to walk and walk, thrice across the face of the Earth until, one May afternoon of this year, I found myself looking once again out of my window at these mountains as I’ve done a thousands times before. There’s nothing larger and more majestic than these five mountains and this time I wanted to carve them in stone or, at least, attempt to do so. I know these stones or I thought I did, like my coat pockets. I mixed paper and plaster and gave finally form to these mountains on chicken wire, but maybe it is still too early… “They’re too high”, says my Georgian sculptor friend, Vaya. There’s no ‘too high’ for these creatures you wish to raise higher in the sky. Like a lover. Then you climb them to have a view of a sea of mountains spread out below as far as Valese, giving you a heroin kick. "Sea is good", says my friend Annalisa, a journalist from Bari, "but these mountains, I don’t know". I say the opposite - one feels protected by something close but, at the same time, is frightened as of a boxer’s fist. One can either fall and it’s over or climb and fly. Sea moves a bit, but these sphinxes… they’d better keep still, watching always over you. They dress in white in order to attract and eat you . And play cat and mouse with you in a fog when you don’t know where the hell you are. You move, you run, only to find yourself hours later where you started off but sweating with the taste of death in your mouth. That gray of the Grisone and that tender juicy grass so loved by chamois like a coitus continuum, the hunting season and then goodbye. "The Engadine men suffer from melancholy in these mountains" says Cuqa (a psychiatrist living in NYC wearing an earring from a S-chalambert chamois ). Many of them walk with downcast eyes, a cigarette in their mouth, hardly saying hallo because everything weighs upon them. Giacometti’s look betrays his origins from the Bergagliot mountains, which are even more lofty than those of the Engadine. They allow no sunlight to pass for three months, not even a ray, and night is immediately falling. Our drawings were mountains. The roof of the world. (To tell the truth, I didn’t draw when I was at school, because I didn’t feel like it and I often suffered from stomach-ache, maybe because I didn’t know what to draw and, looking for an idea, I used to chew my pencils unintentionally…). Even people’s heads look stronger or, at least, they say "Tü esch sco la crappa d’Uina" (S-chalambert’s valley). I want to show you these extremely old mountains, loved by the Milanese people too, as if they were made now and presented by fashion models like haute-couture dresses: "This is ‘Piz Ajüz’, this is ‘Pisoc’…". Ciao Not

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