Ghivizzano is usually visited for its upper walled town with the castle tower.
Few people think of spending time in Ghivizzano Basso – that part of the town which lines the road leading to Fornaci di Barga. Yet there’s a lot to see here.
First are the fine art nouveau villas built by Ghivizzanians who struck it lucky overseas and wished to retire in a brand new house rather than the closely huddled quarters in the ‘castle town’:
Then there’s a new art gallery. Kety Bastiani’s exhibition is continuing at no 116 Via Nazionale, Ghivizzano. It originally formed part of an educational art day’s event held at Ghivizzano castle towards the end of last April in which school children had their art work displayed and were also able to ask questions, via Skype, to Giorgio Michetti, the great Viareggian artist who is now in his one hundred and third year and still going strong (latest exhibition held in Lucca’s Ducal palace in 2012). Kety has now entered into an artistic collaboration with Ghivizzano comune and has installed an art gallery at no 116.
I visited the exhibition yesterday and found a development of her technique into further multi-layered compositions. The superimposition of monochrome drawings onto painted works I found particularly effective.
The themes of dreams, transformations, the elements, animals, angels and universal love continue to permeate and enlighten Kety’s work which shows an ever more imaginative approach and technique.
If you’re at the exhibition don’t forget to visit the amazing Ars Nova artistic store next door in the same building. I had been forewarned by friends about the treasury of paintings that Ars Nova contains but had never attempted to enter its incredible confines.
Ars Nova Rossi is a company of craftsmen who are proud to have continued the area’s artistic traditions. It was founded in the 1950s when Tarquinio Rossi opened a workshop for the production of crystal photographs in Ghivizzano, Lucca province. Photo crystallography is a technique which enables slices of crystals to be personalized with one’s photographs. This technique is still carried on but Ars Nova has also branched out into hand prints applied on glass. Sculpture entered its domain in the 1970’s and it’s particularly strong on devotional items such as Christmas cribs and religious icons. Some of the items are still made according to last century’s procedures using clay and papier maché.
In the 1980s Ars Nova started collaborting with experienced painters who paint both original works and vintage reproductions. The firm is now managed by Tarquinio’s son Gisberto and his grandson Stefano.
When I entered into the store I was greeted by someone I knew – a member of the Ghivizzano choir – and was shown around this extraordinary place. I felt I was in some fantasy scenario – a sort of troll-like workshop for producing the world’s artistic and not-so artistic masterpieces. I’d never seen so many pictures in so many different formats, styles and frames before! Every corner uncovered yet more hidden riches.
It is, therefore, entirely appropriate that Kety’s new art gallery for Ghivizzano should be located in the building owned by the Rossi family’s Ars Nova. It’s a truly international business supplying the world with a product that is better than just a printed reproduction but which remains within the pockets of those who can’t afford to dish out thousands (or even millions) in today’s world art market.
I wish both Kety and Ars Nova the fullest success in their continuing artistic venture.
For more on Ghivizzano Bassa my posts at:
and for Ghivizzano Castello see