At the end of April 2016, resonated with great fanfare the news of a wall/grid that Austria intended to build on the South Tyrolean border with Italy, to contain and control the flow of migrants going through Europe. Going back to an antiquated idea of border and separation of nations appeared to belong, at least in Europe, to the last century. Less than 200 km away, on the path of Pal Piccolo on the Carnic Alps, at the Kreuzberg Pass between Austria and Italy, will take place during the month of August, the first edition of Walking. Arte in cammino.
The project, combining the mountain and walking to site-specific artistic interventions, aims to trigger new dynamics of experience of the place and the enjoyment of art. The idea stems from the enthusiasm and the research of Michela Lupieri and Giuseppe Favi, curators and walkers from Friuli, and from their conviction that the historical and explorative value of walking, especially in the mountains and in the territory of Carnia, can communicate with the many stimuli that this gesture, simple but not banal, offers to contemporary artists. The pilot edition of Walking – long-term project designed on an annual basis – is part of a wider event “Grande Guerra in Carnia. Focus sull’anno 2015” coordinated by the Mountain Community of Carnia, financed by the region Friuli Venezia Giulia and supported by the City of Tolmezzo and the Municipality of Paluzza.
The choice of the place then falls on the path of Pal Piccolo, still dotted with the remains of the trenches where Italians and Austrians fought a hundred years ago. “Nowadays, to visit the trenches of Pal Piccolo means crossing an invisible border. Often the crossing is inadvertent and happen to mingle with Austrian hikers climbed from the other side without anyone knowing exactly what country they are in” Write the curators “One hundred years ago, however, the shift of even a few steps in that border was the reason why they were fighting.” Today the Pal Piccolo is popular for hiking and nature, by those who want to escape from city life to enjoy a breathtaking natural landscape; they, together with the locals, are the first public of Walking. The selected artists – Andreco, Leone Contini, Michele Spanghero, Michele Tajariol, Filippo Minelli, Caterina Rossato and Pablo Chiereghin – were invited to spend a period of residence in the territory between June and July and to develop site-specific interventions on the path, which will be on view – for a period of about a month – only on a route on foot. In this way, the walk becomes the link between the reflection and practice of the artists and the mode of use of a diverse audience, consisting not only for art lovers. The artistic path in the mountains will be in dialogue with a collective exhibition in the Reytembergher Tower in the municipality of Tolmezzo, in which the proposed theme is dealt with by the same artists with different languages and media that would have difficulty finding space in a particular situation such as that of the path . The exhibition will not be a mere documentation of interventions in high altitude, but an investigation of further possibilities of production, exhibition and use, as well as a link between the valley and the path, spatially distant places but belonging to a single territory.
Going out from the deputies spaces of art has become usual: the static visit, typical of the museum, is replaces by an adventurous hike in the spaces of the city along an accessible route with the map or google in hand. The visitor is transformed into a modern flâneur, called to discover hidden locations that host artistic interventions, more or less site-specific. The impact that these exhibitions have on urban fabric, on the recovery of abandoned places, on the revitalization of the entire area, has already been much debated. The widespread practice of the exhibition on the natural territory, in particular the mountain, has so far been less explored. Among the most recent examples, in the Alps, there are the exhibition Dolomiti Contemporaneaa, which since 2011 develops between Friuli and Veneto, the cross-border project between Piedmont and France VIAPAC (2013) and Elevation 1049 in the mountainous area around Gstaad, Switzerland. Walking. Arte in cammino differs from the mentioned events because it was designed specifically for the area of Carnia area and for the focus on walking as a key, not only for the production of the work but also for the investigation of the places, their history and today’s events. Walking on the trails and mountain passes, ancient practice of travelers, refugees, migrants, is now more than ever a topical theme and ground for a shared artistic reflection.
Pal Piccolo – sentiero CAI 401 (Ud). Photo credit Leone Contini
Cima Pal Piccolo – sentiero CAI 401 (Ud). Photo credit Archivio Walking
Michele Tajariol sul Pal Piccolo – sentiero CAI 401 (Ud). Photo credit Archivio Walking.
Pablo Chiereghin e Andreco sulla cima Pal Piccolo – sentiero CAI 401 (Ud). Photo credit Archivio Walking