Tales of the margin
I have for several year been in charge of the pottery workshop organized y the Vocational Training Agency Foorcop/Cooperativa Valdocco at the Ferrante Aporti Juvenile Penitentiary Institute in Turin. The products of this workshop are pottery artefacts inspired to the dramatic experience of the young jailed people that daily share my artistic research with me.
Their lives are always deprived of the joys, the sense of security and the opportunities, which give most of the other young men and women an identity; but an aching and lavish energy, a chain of displaced, refused, or self-excluding, although always interesting, meanings and thoughts flow in them.
As a leader of the workshop’s activities, I am once more the spokesman of individuals looking for their own identity, of people often indulging in deviant norms acquired without any chance of ever being able to criticize them; I start listening to those who are looking for their own place in the world without knowing or even being able to say it.
My boys have showed me the untrodden paths of their aesthetic categories, their tattoes and their non metaphorical scars , they have imposed their mottoes as well as their often ruthless, though often moving and heroic, logic. I have put my hands to shape the clay paste; they have provided me with the problematic paste of their lives and the disconcerting, though always worthy of respect, amount of tales.
I use the premises available inside the Ferrante Aporti Penitentiary Institute of Turin for my work and what I make there is the result of collective creations, so it is often incorrect to tell my personal contributions from that of the jailed young men: I get my apprentices to be confronted with my own creative scheme and then, staying by their side, I let myself be caught by the life experiences they communicate through their sometimes shapeless, disproportionate, though really meaningful, objects, which I penetrate and get involved in. What thence comes out is a work of art that I got going but that always surprises me in its making: it is a dialectic by which they cast an eye on a possibility of beauty and I explore my other ways of being. Within this space of collective creation the “criminal” convicts can make out another perspective from that which led them to crime and detention, while I become aware of some other aspects of myself, which in the end intersect with, and concern, everybody’s humanity.