September 06, 2010

Guerino Galzerano, Decorated structures


first two pictures courtesy of prof Amedeo la Greca, 
president of the "Centro di Promozione Culturale per il Cilento"

The picture shows Guerino Galzerano in front of one of his buildings, a castle-like structure. Decorating constructs with pebbles was his speciality. He would use thousands and thousands of these little stones which abundantly could be found in the local rivers.

Life and works

Guerino Galzerano (1922-2002) was born in a small village near the Italian community of Castelnuovo Cilento, south of the cities of Napoli (Naples) and Salerno. His father died, when Guerino still was a young boy, and he would attend school only for a limited number of years.

During World War II, conscripted in the Italian army, he would be witness of the horrors of the battle field, which may have traumatised him. After the war, when a friend of him was assasinated, he became a suspect beacuse -as the story goes- he didn't weep at the funeral. He was sentenced and put in (psychiatric) custody for a number of years.

this picture shows the front of Galzerano's house

In 1956 Galzerano married Teresa and went to live in a house in Castelnuovo Cilento. To earn his living he went to Germany as a guest worker.

It so happened that in 1970 some dramatic events took place: rumours (true or not) about a love affair of Teresa made Guerino return to Italy and threaten the involved man and his mother. Once more he was convicted and put in jail.

When in 1977 he was a free man again, he went to live in the house in Castelnuovo Cilente (Teresa had meanwhile left for Germany). Living there a simple life, alone, with few means, he began decorating the house in his characteristic way, using these little stones from the river.  
 
 
 this picture and the next two 
courtesy of Cristina Calicelli

This way of decorating may have to do with Galzerano's preference for old, classic forms of buildings, he may have seen while travelling around in rural Italy, as he probably has been doing.

He not only decorated the exterior of the house, the interior has been transformed by constructing alcoves, which, like the walls, have been abundantly decorated with pebbles.

 

In the garden various decorated structures came into being.

To all appaerances  the local authorities had no problem with Galzerano's decorative and architectural activitities.

 

One activity however caused some commotion among the inhabitants: in 1982 he made his own tombstone with somewhat quirky texts.

this picture courtesy of prof.Amedeo la Greca

A castello

After Galzerano had decorated his house and had made his tombstone, he began another, big scale project. On a plot of land of some 5000 m2, property of Teresa, in the neighbourhood of Santa Caterina, he constructed a castle-like structure. Without any preconceived plan he made an enormeous building, reflecting the prototype of a castle, with high wall, arches and towers.

This building is currently in decay.

The text on the tombstone

Guerino Galzerano died in 2002.

The texts on above depicted tombstone read (as far as Google and I succeed in producing a correct translation):
above

My name is
Galzerano Guerino
born in Chiusa dei Cerri 
community of Castelnuovo Cilento  
on 2 5 1922 a(nd) d(eceased) ... ..
the son of Giuseppe and of Maria Nilate.
here are my mortal remains.
here human law ends and begins Gods law.

left:

In front of this grave of 
Galzerano Guerino 
please be well-mannered
friends and relatives
do not place flowers or candles
thank you all in every way

right:

reminder
where I was
you are
where I am
you will be

Documentation:
* Article on SPACES website (2012)
* Christina Calicelli, "Castelli Immaginari: Guerino Galzerano, Umberto Bonini, Enrico Capra", in: Costruttori di Babele, Gabriele Mina, (red), Milano (Elèuthera), 2011. I gratefully acknowledge that most of the factual information in above (revised) post, comes from this article.
A brief summary of this text has been published (in 2012) on the Costruttori di Babele website. A comparable article by Cristina Calicelli in Bric-à-Brac, 2012, 2.
*  I also came along a referral to Luci Isabella, Guerino Galzerano, La vita e l'opera dell'artista, illustrata da una raccolta fotografica
* Video by Pino di Gregorio and Lazario Adesso, made in 1994 (uploaded oct 2012, Youtube, 19'19", cannot be embedded)

first published sept 2010, revised jan, april 2012, sept 2014

Guerino Galzerano
Decorated structures
Castelnuovo Cilento, Salerno, Campania, Italy
the house where Galzerano lived, is on the Via Roma 

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