The sound garden of Pinuccio Sciola: an enchanted location near Cagliari
The sound garden of Pinuccio Sciola is a magical oasis where you can listen to the voice of limestone and basalt that the wise hands of the Master have turned into unique works of great artistic value.
One of the unmissable places in a journey to discover Cagliari and its surroundings is the sound garden of Pinuccio Sciola in the town-museum of San Sperate a few kilometres from the Sardinian capital.
The sound garden is a timeless artistic space, constantly evolving and surrounded by greenery, where visitors can discover an unprecedented dimension in which art and nature coexist. The exciting walk inside the citrus grove is a path without signs or directions in which the evocative archaic sounds of ancestral and mystical megalithic stones of basalt and limestone reign, while in the darkness of the night, the granite reveals new three-dimensional surfaces by a grazing light.
This magical open-air museum, where the “stone seeds are sown so that culture may fertilize nature. (…) A living nature, to its most motionless and silent element: the stone”, seduces, involves and amplifies all feelings through works that manage to be interactive without the help of technology, creating a dialogue with adults and children in a universal language.
The exhibition space hosts the following works:
- Pietrino: the Opera prima, later called Pietrino, is part of the heritage of the Sciola Foundation and was restored in 2018 thanks to funds POR ERDF 2014-2020 “Create job opportunities promoting the competitiveness of businesses”. Pietrino, which in 1959 earned Sciola the first prize of the I Mostra d’arti figurative at La Rinascente in Cagliari, was made from a parallelepiped of stone used as a seat and portrays a young boy very similar to the artist.
- Tribute to Piet Mondrian: the work pays homage to the Dutch painter famous for his paintings with geometric figures painted in front of homogeneous backgrounds of primary colours that Sciola perfectly reproduces, giving different shades of grey to the basalt which in this way recalls the chromatic gradations typical of Mondrian’s canvases;
- Jazz Stone: it is the first Pietra Sonora presented to the public, and the name comes from the event Time in Jazz in which it was exhibited, celebrated and played in 1996. In the work, the precision of the cuts, sharp, deep and of different lengths, is opposed to the surface of the basalt left raw, creating an unusual and original contrast;
- I Semi: this work is a symbol of Sciola’s artistic and poetic inspiration and his conceptual synthesis, that is the stone that opens into a bud and becomes an integral part of that landscape that Mother Nature has given to man. It is a large basalt block, which workmanship simulates and evokes the female genital organ as a life generator. The work is similar to that of another work, “Dentro la Pietra”, in which a vertical engraving of the block, sharp and perfect, emerges in a compact and warm grey, creating a contrast with the stone left rough and repainted by the colours of nature;
- Checkerboard Sound Stone: reminiscent of a chessboard built with millimetre precision despite the surface is not uniform, the cuts of this large basalt monolith don’t go through all the stone, they stop on the front like a piano keyboard. The work was exhibited in the Lower Square of the Basilica of San Francesco in Assisi;
- Cielo di Pietra: before the production of Pietre Sonore, this work is distinguished by the particular rhomboidal shape crossed by precise cuts that look like strings tied to hold the monolith. The peculiarity of the sculpture is the contrast between the different parts that compose it: in some cases, the surface is left raw and only hammered, in others, it is worked and polished;
- Basalt pillar with an “inclusion” process that is found in the series of “Seeds”: the interior of the work is made with a cut that determines the particular texture of the basalt in contrast to the outer surface left raw. In this Sound Stone, the inner and outer parts are made of the same stone and are part of the same block;
- Elastic stone: made with limestone, Pietra Sonora presents on both sides two types of workmanship: on one side the characteristic vertical cut, on the other a checkerboard texture. The different cutting depths determine different sounds and vibrations and make the limestone intense, powerful and vibrant with a deep cavernous sound. And yet, the first sensation we get when we look at the sculpture is that the material is not as hard as it should be but, on the contrary, the soft and malleable form gives it movement;
- La Vela: this work consists of three stone blocks placed side by side and worked on both sides playing with cracks and precise and deep cuts. La Vela is a work that always seems new and different depending on the angle from which it is observed: the opaque and pale white of the polished stone takes on shades of pink and ivory, while the cuts of different depths seem to vibrate and move at every step of the Mistral.
The sound garden of Pinuccio Sciola: a short biography of the sculptor
Giuseppe Sciola, known as Pinuccio, was born in San Sperate, South Sardinia, on March 15th, 1942, into a family of farmers. In his biography, we read that the Master has always proudly claimed to have attended “the University of Nature”, from which he received the most complete and in-depth training.
He approached sculpture at an early age and in 1959 he participated, as a self-taught, at the I Mostra d’arti figurative for students of all levels in the circle of La Rinascente in Cagliari, winning a scholarship that allowed him to attend the Art School of Cagliari, with the Opera Prima, later called Pietrino.
After graduation, he participated in numerous exhibitions, attended the Magisterium of Art of Porta Romana in Florence and the International Academy of Salzburg where he had the opportunity of following the courses of Minguzzi, Kokoschka, Wotruba, Vedova and Marcuse. Thanks to the many study trips in Europe, he came into contact with different artistic personalities, including Giacomo Manzù, Aligi Sassu and Henry Moore. In 1967 he attended the University of Moncloa in Madrid, while the following year he was in Paris before returning to Sardinia.
Back in San Sperate, Sciola transformed the country from being a strong agricultural tradition into a real Country Museum: the artistic and social experience of the murals and the enthusiasm of the people who find themselves involved in one of the first forms of Environmental and Public Art in Italy. In 1973, after being invited by UNESCO, he went to Mexico City to meet and collaborate with one of the founding fathers of Mexican muralism, David Alfaro Siqueiros, creating, in 1975, an artistic twinning between the country of San Sperate and Tepito, a common neighbourhood in Mexico City.
In San Sperate, in 1984, he also founded an International Center for stone working, intended to relaunch the craft and teach it to young people. In addition, that same year, he participated in the exhibition “Stones and City” in the spaces of the Rotonda Della Besana in Milan, where he proposed, alongside his works, the resulting work of young artists from the International Center.
Between the eighties and nineties, the sculptures and installations of Sciola were exhibited in Italy and abroad: from Cagliari to Milan via Rome and the seven main cities of the Federal Republic of Germany. Not to mention the castle of Ooidonk in Belgium, the 3rd Nature Art Biennale in Niederlausitz near Berlin, the personal Coeur de Pierre in the park of the Trianon Palace in Versailles and the green park of the Kunst Project in Barendorf, in Vienna.
From 1990 to 1996 the Maestro taught at the Academy of Sassari and also travelled to Peru and Chile. It was at the beginning of the nineties that his artistic research led him to reveal to the world the magic hidden in the sound of stone. In this period Pietre Sonore was born, played for the first time by percussionist Pierre Favre at the Festival Time in Jazz in Berchidda, Sardinia, in 1996.
That same year, Pietre Sonore were used in a concert of electronic music at the Teatro della Scala in Milan, on the occasion of the first performance of an unpublished work by the composer Antonio Doro from Sassari, while in 2000 the works of basalt and limestone of Orosei were exhibited both at the International Expo in Hanover and the Book Fair in Havana in Cuba.
In 2001 a path entitled Sciola: scultura e suoni di basalto was inaugurated in the park of Villa Olmo,in Como, but it was the following year that the Maestro officially entered the history of sculpture, music and Italian architecture, when the famous architect Renzo Piano places a large basalt sound, a symbol of eternal music, in the garden overlooking the new Auditorium of Music in Rome, inaugurated on April 21st. That same month, the Müvészet-Malomszentendre in Budapest dedicates to Sciola a large anthological exhibition entitled Zenélőkövek (Sound Stones).
Tireless and frenetic traveller, Sciola participates once again in the Venice Biennale, exhibits a new series of monumental sculptures on the square of the Lower Basilica of Assisi, inaugurates a large solo exhibition in Luxembourg, organizes exhibitions around the world and seminars with students. In 2012 he was awarded the Commendatore of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic, and two years later he curated the scenography of Giacomo Puccini’s Turandot within the new opera season of the Teatro Lirico in Cagliari.
Pinuccio Sciola died on the 13th of May 2016. The funeral was attended by more than 8,000 people in a village dressed in white, with sheets and drapes hanging on the windows and balconies, to commemorate the artistic revolution that turned San Sperate into a country-museum where still today, through the magical world of the Sound Garden, we celebrate the philosophy of life and artistic research of the Master.
How to reach the sound garden of Pinuccio Sciola?
The Giardino Sonoro di Pinuccio Sciola is in via Oriana Fallaci in San Sperate in the province of Cagliari, about 30 kilometers away from the Sardinian capital.
The museum is open daily from 10:00 to 20:00 and the ticket office closes at 19:00. The entrances are contingent and staggered every hour, and it is mandatory to wear the mask inside the Sound Garden. For more information, you can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or contact the phone number +39-3245875094.
From the sound garden of Pinuccio Sciola to the Castle of San Michele
From the 13th of May to the 3rd of October 2021, the Castle of San Michele in Cagliari hosts the exhibition Mother Stone, nature, sculpture, the city, a great anthology dedicated to the work of Pinuccio Sciola five years after his death
The exhibition curated by Simona Campus and Tiziana Ciocca, in collaboration with Maria Sciola, deepens the developments of constant research conducted on the expressive potential of materials and their primordial prerogatives, in the horizon of timeless time, the origins of the world and its endless cycles.
Created in partnership with the Sciola Foundation, the exhibition, thanks to a body of work that includes some unpublished pieces, is a valuable opportunity to draw attention to the link between the sculptor and the city of Cagliari, and will be enriched by educational activities dedicated to groups of all ages.
For booking, you can contact the Castle of San Michele at 070 15240479, write to the email address email@example.com or fill out the appropriate online form.
The visits are organized in compliance with anti-Covid measures. The visit time is 1 hour for a maximum of fifteen people per shift, also to access the Art Center, you need to wear the FFP2 or surgical mask.
Starting from June, the exhibition can be visited from Tuesday to Sunday at the following times: 10.00-13.00 and 16.00-21.00. Closed on Mondays.
The entire ticket costs €6.00, while the reduced price is €4.00 (over 65 and students with ID). Admission is free for the handicapped, accompanying people and children up to 7 years of age.
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