July 17, 2019

Carmelo Librizzi, Parco d’Arte Bum Bum Gà/ Art park Bum Bum Gà

this picture from Facebook

The art park of Carmelo Librizzi located in Montevarchi, Italy, not yet known in the field of art environments, has recently been spotted by Francesco Galli and described on his website.

Life and works

Carmelo Librizzi was born in 1949 in Petralia Sottana, Sicily. In the 1950's the family migrated northward to Tuscany, where they settled in Montevarchi, a city of around 24.000 inhabitants, located some 50 kms south-east of Florence.

this picture and the next one: screenprints 
from the video by Roberto Polimeno in the documentation

Librizzi grew up in a very musical family, so already as a child music got his great interest and he started making music. playing a clarinet in particular. Living in Montevarchi, he was able to further develop his musical qualities by playing in the Corpo Musicale “G. Puccini". This popular local orchestra, in the period 1946-1963 conducted by Maestro Ugo Canocchi, also includes a music school where youngsters can study music.

In later decades Librizzi, who meanwhile had exchanged the clarinet for a saxophone, participated in various Italian bands. He was very interested in free jazz and experimental music and also acted as an arranger.

Librizzi had a wide interest in art. He also loved poetry and sculpture and after studying precision mechanics he also studied processing metal, stone and wood. Along this way he came to actually making sculptures himself.

this picture and the next three 
courtesy of  Francesco Galli

His sculptures, in wood, stone and metal, partly have a reminiscence with an "archaic" way of working and partly have a modern, conceptual and recycling-based approach.

In 1979, when he was around thirty years old, Librizzi came up with the idea of opening an art park where he could not only display the sculptures he meanwhile had created, but where also artistic happenings could take place, such as exhibitions and music performances. 

The park was realized on a plot of land of some 10.000 m² outside of Montevarchi. Librizzi planted trees that became large oaks, he sawed pine nuts that currently are big pines, and there are fruit trees.

The site got a name Librizzi loved because of its attractive rhythmic connotation: Bum Bum Gà, derived from the name of a small railway station in Austalia as present in a 1972 movie by Alberto Sordi.

In addition to the large size of Librizzi's artistic work, the arrangement of the works in this art environment also shows its diversity, both in terms of the varied use of materials, the style of work and the themes. He expresses himself equally easily in a figurative, realistic as in a conceptual way, and the visitor sometimes has to give an interpretation of the artwork himself.

For example, the heap of old bicycles maybe expresses Librizzi's message about the need of recycling and may invite to think about our modern lifestyle and the world in which we live, but at the same time it can been seen as a tribute to the cycling sport and evoke thoughts to the famous Italian rival cyclists Gino Bartali and Fausto Coppi.

Initially, the public expressed little interest in the art park, although Librizzi tried to involve the residents in the area with flyers and leaflets, but over the years, especially in the summer months, the site became a lively meeting place, with exposition, theatrical performances, concerts of groups of young people, meetings of owners of vintage cars, and so on.

40th anniversary of the Art Park

In 2019 Librizi's Art Park existed for forty years, which was celebrated in July with a festive gathering.

The video below (from Facebook) shows a moment of musical pleasure


* The Parco d'Arte Bum Bum Gá on Facebook
Antonella Fineschi & Carmelo Librizzi,  "Ma quanto costa il pane? ("But How Much is the Bread?"), biography of Carmelo Librizzi (available at the Park)
Maria Giovanna Cutini article (April 2013) in Top Life Magazine
* Interview with Librizzi (June 2016) in Italian webzine Backstage Press
* Francesco Galli, "Bum Bum Gà, La passione del fare", article (July 2019) with photos on his website
In addition to the videos presented below, You Tube also has a video made in 2012 in which Librizzi  talks about his work (in Italian)
* Video by Roberto Polimeno (September 2011, 1'52", You Tube)

* Video by Claudia Maffei (February 2012, 10'03", You Tube)   

Carmelo Librizzi
Parco d'Arte Bum Bum Gà
Via Borrolungo Campagna
52025 Montevarchi, province of Arezzo, region Tuscany, Italy
can be visited all year, 9-18 hrs

July 11, 2019

Väinö Ylén,Taidekoti Ylén/Art House Ylén

all photos courtesy of Elina Vuorimaa

The community of Kodishoki in southwestern Finland, not far from the coast, was an independent municipality for many years, one of the smallest in Finland with a few hundred inhabitants, until in 2007 the village became part of the city of Rauma..

Along the provincial road no. 2052, a few kilometers north-west of the center of Kodisjoki, one can visit the house museum of Väinö Ylen with a large collection of sculptures.

Life and works

For many years of the 20th century this museum was the residence of Väinö Ylén (1908-2000) and his wife Hilma (1911-1991).

Väinö Ylén was born in Kodisjoki on June 8, 1908 and after his primary school started working as a bricklayer and also as a part-time farmer. He married and with his own hands he built the house where the couple would live for many years 

No facts have been reported about the lives of Váinö and Hilma, and there are no reports about certain events that could indicate Ylén's talent for creative activities. It is probably only after his retirement (probably in the late 1960s) that his artistic talent began to manifest.

At a course offered by a civic education institute, he learned to work with plaster, but Ylén soon switched to cement, for him a more familiar material, while he also thought that working with cement was less messy. 

Indeed, the photos of Ylén's cement sculptures show that their appearance is far from messy, rather they make a polished, smoothed impression, as if he has applied the surface of the sculptures by hand. By the way, I have not been able to find any data about the technical aspects of his way of working.

Started around 1971, Ylén made more than 500 cement sculptures in the last decades of the 20th century, mainly depicting human characters engaged in all kinds of activities.

Almost Ylén's entire oeuvre has been preserved on site and this collection is currently exposed in the home museum, both arranged in a shed and in the space around the house

We see famous athletes and well known politicians, but also a ladies' choir, villagers doing all kinds of daily jobs, scenes from ordinary life such as a family at the table, in short, a cross-section of daily life, sports competitions and political developments in the 1970's and 1980's.

Ylén and his wife hadn't a television set in their home and in those years there also was no internet. But through newspapers and magazines he remained well informed of political and social developments, and so various of his sculptures also show events, including political ones, from the last decades of the 20th century.

The house where Vainö and Hilda Ylén lived can also be visited, which in itself is an attraction, because the interior has remained as it was during the couple's life. and so it is also an example of the design of interiors in the post-war decades.

Väinö and Hilma Ylén had no children, so Ylén, who was very religious, left the house and the collection of sculptures to (an association affiliated with) the church to which he belonged. In this way after his death in 2000 the site with the house and the collection, currently managed by the Kodisjoki Art Association, has been preserved.

* Art House Ylén on Facebook 
Website of Art House Ylén
* Article on website Matkalla Kotimaassa
* Erja Hyytiäinen, article (July 2006) on website Turun Sanomat
* Article (july 2018) in regional newspaper Raumalainen (also about other sights in Kodisjoki)
* Hanna Lensu, article (Sept 2018) on website Maaseudun Tulevaisuus
* Video (18'51", You Tube, February 2012) by Laitilan Television

Väinö Ylén
Home museum with sculptures
Kodisjoentie 1535
27310 Kodisjoki, Western Finland, Finland
can be visited (open in July and first week of August on Wed Thu Sat and Sun from 12-16 )
view of the location

July 02, 2019

Joseph Seiller, Jardin de sculptures/Sculpture garden

front view of the house
(all pictures thanks to Sophie Lepetit)

Kilstett is a community of some 2500 inhabitants in the extreme northwest of France, some 15 kilometers to the north of Strasbourg. Here, for over fifty years a charming sculpture garden is located, the life work of Joseph Seiler.

Life and works

Joseph Seiler was born in 1933 in Kilstett in a family that had a farming business  In 1939, at the start of World War II, when Joseph was six years old, his father was taken away by the Germans. never to return and probably shot dead along the river Rhine.

Partly because of this, Seiler at a young age already had to work in the farm.

the postman at the letterbox 
next to the entrance to the front garden

In 1965 Seiller, who had continued his work in the farm and was now in his early thirties, began to make sculptures to beautify the garden around his house.

His first work -made by applying cement to a model of iron wickerwork- was a life-size sculpture of a horse, accurately depicted, as can be seen in the picture below.

Seiler then made more sculptures, both a series of animals and a series of people. 

The series of animals includes around twenty mostly life-sized creations of among others a horse with a rider, a bear, a donkey, a peacock, a kangaroo with a baby in its pouch, rabbits standing on their hind legs, dogs and deer.

The series of twelve sculptures of human characters includes the sculpture of Christ who, as can be seen in the top image, has been given a place of honor on a console at the facade of the living house, a Saint Nicholas (also in the top image), a rider on a horse and a postman.

Joseph Seiller's art environment is part of the creations that came about in France in the 1960s and 1970s and gained some fame among the general public due to the 1978 exhibition Les singuliers de l'art (Musée d'art moderne de la Ville de Paris).

In 1990 the site was visited and photographed by Francis David, whose archive is now partly held by the Lille Art Museum. In the current century, the site was somewhat forgotten, apart from a single publication in a regional newspaper.

Recently this art environment, which still exists and is well maintained, has received attention again thanks to a review (2017) in Les gazouillis des éléphants by Bruno Montpied, a report (2019) by Sophie Lepetit in her weblog and  an article in the website of SPACES (see the documentation)

* Website Habitants-paysagistes (published by the Lille Art Museum),  entry about Joseph Seiler with pictures (1990) by Francis David
* Review of the site in Bruno Montpied, Les gazouillis des éléphants. Paris (Ed du Sandre), 2017
* Article with a variety of pictures (April 13 and 14, 2019) in the weblog of Sophie Lepetit, here and here
* Article (2019) in the website of SPACES

Joseph Seiller
Sculpture garden
1 rue du Chemin de Fer
67840 Kilstett, dept Bas Rhin, region Grand Est, France
can be seen from the road
streetview (2012)

June 22, 2019

Willem Berkhout, Beeldenkas/Greenhouse with mosaic sculptures

this picture and the next two thanks to Timo Reko

A part of the municipality of Midden-Delfland  Schipluiden is a village of some 4500 inhabitants in the Westland region in the Netherlands, an area known for growing flowers, vegetables, and fruit in greenhouses. Such a greenhouse located near Schipluiden has become known for a special collection of mosaic sculptures it includes.

Life and works

It's an art environment created by Wilem Berkhout, who was born in 1950 in Schipluiden as the fourth of seven children. His father owned a greenhouse horticulture business, so it was therefore obvious that Berkhout in his youth not only helped with the work in the cultivation, but that he also got an education at a horticultural school.

Berkhout married in 1976 and a few years later, together with a brother, he took over his father's company, growing  orchids from 1986. 

Throughout his life Berkhout was provided with a lively imagination and when visiting museums during holidays he noticed that he was very interested in art, in particular sculptures, so at the start of the new century -in his early fifties and without any training as an artist- he began to make sculptures himself.

He opted for a specific type of sculpture, namely man-sized, partially realistic, partially fancied depictions of human characters, inlaid with mosaics.

The mosaic is applied to a layer of cement that forms the outside of the sculptures, while the inside can consist of metal braiding, just as Berkhout for the infrastrccture of his first sculpture used an old bed spiral. But it also happens that Berkhout makes his creations entirely from concrete.

The artist often visits thrift stores to get things that can be used in making creations, such as a number of colanders that could be used as helmets for the soldiers of the Spartan army present in the collection

From a stock of tiles Berkhout -using a tile cutter- carefully cuts the pieces of mosaic needed to decorate the sculptures.

Apart from the group of Spartan soldiers, there are other groups, such as the gods of the primeval Gaag (first inhabitants of the region), veterans in old wheelchairs. a circle of Westland bar women and a march of feminists,

Currently (2019) Berkhout has made some 200 sculptures that are lined up in the greenhouse. Around 300 large paintings by the Hague painter Jacob Kanbier hang on the walls.

Berkhof's art environment has remained a secret for many years. In its first years the establishment and the growing size of the collection was only known by family and friends. However, in 2012 the artist decided to open the greenhouse to visitors.

Currently (2019) the site has become well-known in the region and it is visited by some 3000 people a year, both individuals and groups, such as clubs of cyclists, school classes and groups of people from a home for the elderly.

this picture and the next one 
from the Facebook page of the site

The greenhouse is situated in a beautiful pasture area, but the location is somewhat isolated. From a provincial road (N468) a bridge (flanked by a sculpture) must be passed  and then via a dead end road one reaches after 650 meters the greenhouse.

As the video in the documentation shows, Berkhout at the end of 2018 sought publicity to announce that he is looking for a different location to accommodate the collection.

* Official website of the Beeldenkas
* The site on Facebook
* Article (May 2017) in a regional edition of dutch journal Algemeen Dagblad
* Video (December 2018, 1'47")  by regional TV Omroep West on You Tube

Willem Berkhout, Beeldenkas (Greenhouse with sculptures)
Gaagweg 15
2636 AK Schipluiden, Netherlands
can be visited monday to saturday, 10-18 hrs

bridge leading to access road  (Streetview)

June 16, 2019

Sirio Nicoli, Les dragons de Jarny/The dragoons of Jarny

pictures courtesy of Sophie Lepetit, from her weblog

Jarny is a community of some 8000 inhabitants in the Meurthe et Moselle region in the east of France. 

Along one of the access roads to the center of the town there is a house with a striking balustrade because of the large-scale sculptures on it, an art environment sometimes referred to as Les dragons de Jarny  (The dragoons of Jarny) 

Life and work

This art environment has been created by Sirio Nicoli (1920-2003), who was born in Italy and later migrated to France where he had a job as a miner. Except for these data and that he was married and had a daughter, the internet doesn't have other biographical information about Nicoli, not even when he started making sculptures.

His sculptures are not only on the balustrade, but they are also set up in the garden of the house.. Such as the sculpture below of a person wearing a mining helmet on his head, a creation that could be a self-portrait.

In addition to the miner's sculpture, the garden also includes other smaller-sized sculptures, such as representations of Egyptian deities and Buddhas.

The most imposing creations of course are the  sculptures of large animals. Those who lived in prehistoric times such as various dinosaurs in different poses, mostly provided with sharp teethes and fangs, but also animals that still live in our time, such as elephants, and then also fantasy animals, such as the dragon above the entrance portal.

Nicoli made these extensive creations by first building up a rough shape by means of an infrastructure consisting of iron wicker, foam rubber from old mattresses and pieces of sheet metal, after which he finished this rough shape with cement and paint.

The prehistoric animals and the dragons were largely treated with green paint, with certain parts in an appropriate color, such as the teeth of the dinosaurs. 

After Nicoli died in 2003, over the years the layer of paint has disappeared  and the sculptures now have a gray appearance.

In addition, the vegetation is increasing and threatens to overgrow the sculptures on some places.

* Article in Bruno Montpied's book Le gazouillis des éléphants.2017
* Entry (June 11, 2019) on the weblog of Sophie Lepetit
* A series of pictures on the French forum website ombres et sentiments

Sirio Nicoli
Sculpture garden ("Les dragons de Jarny)
45 rue Pasteur (departmental road D603)
54800 Jarny, dept Meurthe-et-Moselle,  region Grand Est
can be seen from the road
streetview (2010)

June 02, 2019

Julos Beaucarne, Cercle des Pagodes/Circle of Pagodas

this picture and the next two courtesy of Ernst Gülcher

The above depicted circle of pagodas made from stacked wooden reels in different sizes, used to transport electricity cables, are reminiscent of the neolithic stone circles such as the one in Stonehenge. This singular architecture, designed by Julos Beaucarne, was established in the late 1990's in a field near the Belgian community of Beauvechain.

Life and works

Born in 1936 in Ecaussinnes, a community some 50 km south of Brussels, Beaucarne in the early 1960's settled in Brussels. He would become famous as a singer, but he was also known as an actor, poet, author and sculptor.

As a singer, his first 45-rpm gramophone record was released in 1964, followed by annual or bi-annual new records. His repertoire, performed in French, was not only appreciated in Belgium, but also in France and in the Canadian province Quebec. He recorded 49 albums (over 450 songs), wrote 28 books and appeared in four movies.

Although Beaucarne could be contradictory, he was best known for his humanism and optimism, qualities that became only more pronounced after in 1975 his life partner was murdered with knife stabs by an unbalanced young man.

In the late 1990's he attracted a lot of interest by organizing a large concert on a site on which he also installed a circle of pagodas and in the early years of the new century he began making sculptures from second-hand and surplus material, as in the field of art singulier, a creative activity about which not much has been reported on the internet and about which no images are available either.

In 2015, at the age of 79, Beaucarne withdrew from publicity. and currently he lives in Tourinnes-la-Grosse (Deurne), some 50 km east of Brussels.

The Circle of Pagodes

Years before the Circle of Pagodas was installed, Beaucarne was already busy with reels. In 1992 he installed three groups of nine reels in different places in Wallonia, such as the inclined plane near Ronquières in the canal from Brussels to Charleroi, the garden of the Abbey palace in St Hubert and Nodebais (Nodebeek), a hamlet of artists, part of Beauvechain (Bevekom)

In the late 1990's, when the 21st century was approaching, Beaucarne came up with the idea of  organizing a huge concert in anticipation of the coming century, a concert that should take place in the open air on a site with a circle of pagodas on it, which could provide the concertgoers with energy to find their way in the post-industrial world of the next millennium.

In this context, supported by volunteers and in agreement with the authorities, the circle of pagodas was installed on a field near the Ferme de Wahenge, a farm in the community of Beauvechain (Bevekom), about ten km away from Beaucarne's current home in Tourinnes-la-Grosse.

The 36 wooden structures that make up the creation, are assembled from 252 reels that in daily practice are provided with electricity cables, used in the installing of electrical networks.

Both the separate numbers in 252 and in 36 add up to 9, a number that for Beaucarne has a special meaning, since the death of his partner was caused by nine stabs.

Spiritually, the number nine, which is the last single number and a combination of other numbers (3x3), is seen as the number of perfection, or completion. Perhaps this was what Beaucarne wished the world for the 21st century.

Whatever the case may be, the inauguration of the Circle of Pagodas was explicitly linked to the number 9, because the open air concert started on September 9, 1999 at 9:09 pm exactly, or at 9/9/99 / 9:09.

It was a festivity attended by some 3000 people, who not just may have enjoyed the music, but also may have experienced the magical atmosphere created by the presence of the pagodes and the generating of energy attributed to these structures.

As Beaucarne himself said: "The site of the Pagodas is a huge sensor and a huge wave transmitter. 36 powerful transmitters to send messages to the end of the world, 36 powerful sensors to receive messages from the universe as a whole. In this magical place we can reach the end of the universe in a pico second, just by thought. The site of the Pagodas is a place of reconciliation between men, the earth and the universe".

In addition to the pagodas, the site also includes a few other structures, such as a huge tipi, a theater and an Izba type house that was built on the basis of the golden section.

Unlike Stonehenge, which attracts many visitors and especially during solstices is crowded by people who are spiritually engaged, the Circle of Pagodas has not become a busy site.

* Biography of Beaucarne on Wikipedia (in French)
* Various entries on a weblog by Beaucarne
* Article (undated) in a weblog on Skynet 
* Interview (2011) in a Belgian newspaper with a a variety of quotes by Beaucarne
* Article (January 2018) on the weblog of Ernst Gülcher (in Flemish)
* Movie (2017, 53'0 by Eric de Moffarts entitled l'Air de Julos (also available on DVD)

Julos Beaucarne
Cercle des Pagodes
near the Ferme de Wahenge
Rue de Wahenge 43,
1320 Beauvechain, Belgium
can be seen from the road

May 25, 2019

Angelo Favero, l Sassi del Piave/Stones from the Piave River

all pictures courtesy of Francesco Galli

San Pietro di Barbozza is a small community of some 1000 inhabitants in the province of Treviso  in northern Italy, located some 80 km north of Venice. The area around the village is known for the wine that is produced there, in particular the Prosecco

But the area also deserves the attention of those interested in art environments, because of Angelo Favero's creation. that is located along a road just outside San Pietro di Barbozza ¹

Life and works 

Angelo Favero was born on April 20, 1945 and he probably had a technical education, because he worked in the construction sector for international companies, involved for many years in projects in countries like Indonesia and Libya.

After his work abroad, Favero settled in San Pietro di Barbozza, living in a house in the village and also owning a piece of land just outside the community. Until his retirement he worked for a local building company.


Favero has transformed his piece of land outside the village, in particular the part along a local road, into an art environment. The site mainly includes stone sculptures, predominantly arranged side by side in a long line parallel to and facing the road, although some are also grouped as separate ensembles. 

Over the years, the collection has acquired a size of dozens of larger and smaller sculptures.

Favero collects the stones he uses for his creations, along the Piave, the river that flows through the region over a length of 220 km, rising in the Karmic Alps and ending in the Adriatic Sea. north-west of Venice. 

The river passes Favero's hometown at a distance of a few kilometers. Its shores are full of rocks, large specimens included, mostly appearing in a typical oval shape due to the effects of the river.

the workshop 

On the piece of land where Favero created his art environment, he also has his workshop, a shed made out of sheet metal and concrete, called l'Alcazar. Here he assembles the stones into sculptures he refers to as putinòts, probably a Venetian word that means puppet.

He puts his sculptures together by stacking -and connecting with construction iron- larger and smaller stones into the character he wants to portray and often already has recognized in the rough stones.

A head of a sculpture is sometimes provided with a headgear consisting of a flat stone, or a spherical stone on a flat one, and sometimes his characters are provided with small, colorful items that accentuate their character.

Of course, Favero also uses hammer and chisel to carve the stone into the specific shape he has in mind. 

Favero, who is also known as Zoe, after a comic book from the United States, first published in Italy in 1945 as Arturo and Zoe, also has made mosaic for some time, but ultimately preferred sculpting. 

He regards his sculptures as his family of his friends and also calls them citizens of the world.

Tourists often want to buy some sculpture, but Favero will not sell his creations, except in some specific situation when it has to do with a good cause.

Display of the sculptures in the village

Favero's site outside the village includes the actual art environment, but detached sculptures can also be seen in front or his home in the village (photo below left), at a fountain in the village's center (photo below right) and in windows of shops.

* I sassi di Zoe, article and photo's on the website of Francesco Galli, photographer
* The website Prosecco Superiore Circular Route has a description of a 15 km walk in the wine region that goes past Favero's site which is briefly described
* The website Guarda il monde da un obló has a short review of the site and some photo's

¹ I would like to thank Francesco Galli, photographer (see documentation), who made me aware of this art environment; the above text is largely based on the information about Favero in Galli's website (see documentation)

Favero, Angelo
I Sassi del Piave
Via della Cima 20
San Pietro di Barbozza, Treviso area, Veneto region, Italy
can be seen from the road
the pictures below (2017) give an impression of the site 
as it can be seen via streetview