In Florence, the city of the Guelfi and Ghibellini and birthplace of the Renaissance, I have been able to assimilate since childhood the essence of the harmony thanks to the great works of art on display in various museums – among them the Uffizi, the Stibbert, La Specola – as well as through the great buildings that authoritatively line the streets. The Church of Orsanmichele, for example, and its collection of sculpture of famous people which attract my curiosity, or the Pitti Palace and the vast Boboli gardens – a favourite place for lighthearted games: all the original monuments embellishing the face of a city rich in history and visited, with pleasure, in the company of my family. I have also had the opportunity to appreciate and learn the value of high handicraft – skills inherited from ancient crafts which can be observed while strolling through the narrow streets of the centre. There, in fascinating workshops, skilled artisans apply with finesse their wit and ability in the production of valuable artifacts. Relocating with my family to Viareggio has allowed me to confront other new realities: the brackish expressive essentiality of Lorenzo Viani and the apparent lightness of Liberty style, present here in the many historical residences of the great artists and intellectuals of the time who chose this place for vacation and work – in a vibrant climate of mutual cultural enrichment. That’s how well known personalities such as Galileo Chini and Giacomo Puccini, Plinio Nomellini and Gabriele D’Annunzio – and so many others – step out of the monographic pages to become like ‘the neighbours next door’ for me. Currently, I live and work in the hills behind Versilia. The location was not an accidental choice: an old oil mill, a structure whose complex wooden gears call for fanciful wit and manual industriousness. It has been an enormously exciting experience making sure that it was preserved over time. The fascinating building, together with the limonaia (greenhouse dedicated to lemon trees), are an integral part of the scenography of the Nymphaeum, in the historic architectural complex of Villa Talenti. Once called Villa di Poggio, it is set in an archittetura di ascendenza termale, a theme that recalls the nearby Roman baths of Massaciuccoli, well described by Maria Adriana Giusti in Giardini della Versilia (see Electa, 1992). It is a place where the fusion between ancient and modern becomes for me a springboard for a more conscious path to the future. In the 1970s, after a pause for reflection, at the end of my first cycle of studies, I began my artistic activity. Considering the technical search an intriguing challenge, moment by moment, I have sought in the many visual languages the most suitable to express thought and emotion. With spontaneous attention to stylistic consistency, I went freely from painting to sculpture, from graphics to ceramics and mosaics, then to return to my favourite: sculpture. Particularly attracted to three dimensionality, I love the contact with clay, a material constantly present on the path of humanity, which shares with bronze the presence of the transforming fire.
The ‘sculpture’ by Alessandra Chillè rises to the sky, from the primordialities of an archaic world, a symbol of the continuity of time, of the presence of man and of his religious yearning. The ‘shapes’ are thought as ‘urban sculpture’ to be exhibited en plein air, in high-density architectural spaces. They are altars to the ‘social Self’ and, as plastic elevations of the earth, they push the collective soul upwards.
The idea of contemporary urban space can’t be ignored by the conceptual re-design of ‘low- tension metaphysical’ places: right where is stronger the propensity of society to a multiplying materialism of an existential ‘defect’ (the gravitational push of a spiritual gap, the insane fracture of the synaptic Self – see Joseph Le Doux’s Synaptic Self), there, the necessity of a re-reading of the relationship between man and cosmos imposes itself in informal contemporary sculpture. The creative urgency of the artist, thinking her ‘abstract shapes’ in urban scale, is powerful enough to identify in her sculpture a vision of “informal social sculpture” which conventionally dates to Henry Moore’s Reclining Figure in the Year 1959, and today found at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris. Therefore Alessandra Chillè is in this historic process of urban sculpture, in asset with the most important ethical and aesthetic instances of the contemporary world, not even refusing the historical experience of a cosmic surrealism that only recalls for antithesis the dimension of knowledge for invisible connections of Louise Bourgeois’s urban sculpture, perhaps the most frontalier sculptor of the European twentieth century.
Alessandra Chillè was born in Florence, Italy. She currently lives and works in the hills behind Versilia. She has shown her work in both personal and collective exhibitions in Italy and abroad. Between 1971 and 1976, she received prizes in over thirty painting competitions, amongst these the XVII and XIX national Città di Viareggio awards, the international Brunellesco prize in Florence, in 1974. Her work also appeared in the III international exhibition of contemporary art, Avanguardia 2, in Milan. In 1977, she exhibited at the Salon d’Automne – Vincent van Gogh – Fête du cinéma at the Grand Palais in Paris, and in the years 1985, 1987 and 1989 she was invited to the Mostra Internazionale della Piccola Scultura (International Exhibition of Small Sculpture) and to the Mostra Internazionale della Scultura all’aperto (International Exhibition of Outdoor Sculpture), held in the municipality of Castellanza (Varese, Italy), Museo Pagani. She has also collaborated in Loppiano, in Tuscany, with the international team, Centro Ave Arte, which brings together artists of various nationalities for an experience of unity in art through an intercultural and interfaith dialogue. She has received several important awards and her works are included in public and private collections, including the Museo dei Bozzetti Pier Luigi Gherardi (Museum of Sketches) in Pietrasanta, Italy.
Collections, exhibitions and publications
Her works can be found in the following public collections: Pinacoteca Comunale, Pontedera (Pisa); Pinacoteca Comunale, Grosseto; Cassa di Risparmio di Parma, Parma; Comune of Massarosa (Lucca); Comune of Arezzo; Pinacoteca Comunale, Altomonte (Cosenza) – A work entitled Destinazione in the collection “Cento pittori contro la Mafia” (One hundred painters against the Mafia); Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Pisa, chiesa Madonna di Fatima (Our Lady of Fatima Church), La Vettola, San Piero a Grado (Pisa, Italy) – Installation for transept reorganization: altarpiece with Virgin Mary and Angel, pulpit with the four symbols of Evangelists, altarpiece with Saint Peter and Saint Martin of Tours, tabernacle, texts for the brochure; Museo dei Bozzetti “Pier Luigi Gherardi” (Museum of Sketches, designed in the seventies by Danish artist Jette Muhlendorph) set in the architectural complex of Sant’Agostino church and cloister, in Pietrasanta (Lucca) where the Luigi Russo cultural center is also located – A work entitled Fontana (Fountain) sculpture reviewed in the museum’s general catalogue.
Among the most important and significant personal exhibitions are: Florence, Il Leone gallery (1979); Parma, Petrarca gallery (1981); Lugano, Letizia gallery (1983); Florence, Palazzo Borghese, presentation by Armando Nocentini of a folder with original engravings: Un timoroso colombo guarda guardingo (A fearful pigeon looks wary), Il Candelaio Edizioni (1983); Genova, Galleria d’Arte di Palazzo Doria (1984); Florence, Palazzo Borghese (1985); Pisa, Palazzo Prini-Aulla, Piccolo Teatro della Soffitta (1987); Ferrara, Ferrara Art Station, Exhibition Hall, Central Station, National Railway (1998); Bologna, Central Station, Torquato Secci waiting room, National Railway, (with permission from the association Familiari Vittime Strage Bologna 2 Agosto 1980), exhibition of visual arts Bologna, 2 Agosto 1980. Memoria di una strage (Bologna 2 August 1980. Memory of a Massacre) (1998); Florence, Parco delle Cascine, Istituto Tecnico Agrario Statale, “15a Festa di Primavera” (15th Spring Festival): Le Rotoballe di Alessandra Chillè (The round bales of Alessandra Chillè) (1999); Montecatini Terme, Terme Excelsior, in the context of the 5° Festival Internazionale Armonia fra i popoli: Conoscersi per non aver timore (Harmony among people: Getting to know each other so not to be afraid), exhibition of visual arts Armonia fra i popoli of Alessandra Chillè, Italy and Imad El Rayes, Lebanon (2010); Pietrasanta, Petrartedizioni, Differenze armoniche e preclusioni (Harmonic differences and preclusions), in tandem with Franca Moriconi, I giorni della vita (2014).
Works permanently displayed from 1977 to 1980 at the galerie La Donatello in Paris and from 1978 to 1983 at the gallery Letizia in Lugano, Switzerland.
She has taken part in collective exhibitions including 1976, Milan, Avanguardia 2 gallery, art show award; 1977, Verona, Castelvecchio, Circolo ufficiali; 1982, Siena, Rassegna Siena 82, Accademia dei Rozzi; 1982, Florence, Spinetti gallery; 1982, Florence, Palagio di parte Guelfa; 1983, Florence, Parterre, Pittura Toscana al Parterre; 1983, Florence, cloisters of the church of San Marco; 1984, Xanten, Germany, Galerie An de Marsport; 1984, Wuppertal, Germany, Backstuben Galerie; 1984, Viareggio, Villa Paolina Bonaparte, Carnevale e Maschere; 1984, Bologna, Arte Fiera, stand of Il Candelaio Edizioni; 1984, Pietrasanta, Pentacolo Toscano I manichini sognano; 1984, Massarosa, Municipal halls, Art festival, 15 artisti per una Biennale (15 artists for a biennial), curated by Dino Carlesi, Tommaso Paloscia, Pier Carlo Santini; 1985, Massarosa, Romanesque church of Pieve a Elici (concert season), Paesaggio a Nord-Ovest (Northwest landscape), travelling exhibition in collaboration with the journal “Eco d’arte moderna”; 1985, Florence, Palazzo Borghese; 1987, Florence, Bottega di Dante; 1987, Florence, Bottega di Cimabue; 1992, Pietrasanta, I 150 anni dello Stagi; 1999, Castel Gandolfo, Mariapolis Center, God as Beauty and the Focolare Movement - Art Congress with an international art festival: music, dance, displays, theatre and poetry; 2000, Loppiano, Salone San Benedetto, 1° Forum dell’Arte per il Giubileo degli artisti; 2000, Fosdinovo, Percorsi d’arte contemporanea a Fosdinovo; 2001, Loppiano, Citadel of Focolare Movement, 2° Art Forum: The forgiveness, (Il perdono); 2002, Fosdinovo, Torre di Fosdinovo, Artedove 2002, collective of contemporary art; 2004, Massa, Cloister of the Cathedral: Collective exhibition Emozioni e spiritualità; 2005, Florence, Council room of district No. 5: Multicultural exhibition of painting and sculpture; 2011, Istanbul, Harbiye Askeri Müxe (the Turkish Military Museum), İstanbul’ bir sanat şöleni, Art festival in Istanbul, Incontro di artisti Italiani, Messicani e Turchi; 2013, Istanbul, Harbiye Askeri Müxe, Sergiye Gönül Verenler – Mostra Gönül Verenler, international collective; 2013, Pietrasanta, Cultural centre of Sant’Agostino, exhibition: Gli scultori dello “Stagi”: opere del Museo dei Bozzetti, anteprima del 170° Anniversario del Liceo Artistico “Stagio Stagi”, (Stagi sculptors: works from the Museo dei Bozzetti, preview of the 170th Anniversary of Liceo Artistico Stagio Stagi), on Museum initiative; 2013, Pietrasanta, MuSA - Museo Virtuale della Scultura e dell’Architettura, 170° Stagi. L’identità fondante di Pietrasanta: il liceo artistico Stagio Stagi tra passato e futuro. Il Liceo Artistico Stagio Stagi si racconta; 2014, Pietrasanta, Petrartedizioni: International exhibition of painting and sculpture, La donna e l’arte. Percorsi in dialogo fra Italia e Turchia; 2014, Pietrasanta, Palazzo Panichi I 30 Anni del Museo dei Bozzetti, on Museum iniziative; 2015, Pietrasanta, Petrartedizioni, collective exhibition Back to day. International tribute to Korean Artists; 2017, Istanbul, Beşiktaş. Fulya Sanat Merkezi (Fulya Art Center), Baska dünya yok (No Other World) - Dosluk Sergisi (Friendly exhibition). International collective exhibition curated by Şermin Güner.
She has participated in the following travelling exhibitions: Museo mobile: nuovi versanti della pittura in Toscana (Mobile Museum: new sides of painting in Tuscany), Municipality of Grosseto in collaboration with Grosseto Provincial administration and District of Marina di Grosseto. Exhibition and brochure curated by Lino Pasquale Bonelli, 1981; Paesaggio a nord ovest. Mostra itinerante da Firenze al Garda (Landscape Northwest. Travelling exhibition from Florence to the Garda) curated by Paolo Baracchi and presented by Dino Pasquali. Brochure “Il Candelaio” Edizioni, Firenze, 1985; Blocco per artisti. Una proposta “Eco d’arte moderna” (Block for artists. A proposal “Eco of modern art”), 1985 et ad libitum; Verifica ’90. Selezione dal Premio Italia per le Arti Visive Beato Angelico (Check ’90. Selection from Italy Prize for Visual Arts Beato Angelico), curated by the editorial board of “Eco d’arte moderna”, catalogue, “Il Candelaio”, Firenze, 1990.
Principal publications are Salon d’automne – Vincent van Gogh – Fête du cinéma, Parigi, 1977. Official catalogue; Catalogo nazionale Bolaffi d’arte moderna nr. 13-1978, 15-1980, 16-1981; Bolaffi arte n° 94, 1979; Il linguaggio della matematica, geometria nello spazio (The language of mathematics, geometry in space) by Francesco Speranza, Zanichelli Editore, 1982; Un timoroso colombo guarda guardingo (A fearful pigeon looks wary), 50 numbered folders of original engravings and text, Edizioni “Il Candelaio”, Firenze, 1983; Il colombaio, 40 numbered folders of original engravings, Edizioni “Il Candelaio”, Firenze, 1986; 8 marzo: donna. 100 numbered folders with the photolythic drawings of six artists Inaco Biancalana, Luisa Cellai, Alessandra Chillè, Enrico Frateschi, Renato Santini, Giancarlo Vaccarezza, Municipality of Viareggio and Versilia Artists Association, 1986; 15 artisti per una Biennale, Municipality of Massarosa, at the invitation of Tommaso Paloscia, 1984 (catalogue); Paesaggio a Nord-Ovest (Northwest landscape), travelling exhibition, from Florence to Garda, Editions “Il Candelaio”, 1985; II Mostra Internazionale della Piccola Scultura e I Mostra Internazionale di Scultura all’aperto, Comune di Castellanza e Fondazione Pagani, 1985 (catalogue); III Mostra Internazionale della Piccola Scultura e II Mostra Internazionale di Scultura all’aperto, Comune di Castellanza e Fondazione Pagani, 1987 (catalogue); IV Mostra Internazionale della Piccola Scultura e III Mostra Internazionale di Scultura all’aperto, Comune di Castellanza e Fondazione Pagani, 1989 (catalogue); Accadde in Toscana: L’arte visiva dai primi anni Settanta alle ore antelucane del terzo millennio (It happened in Tuscany: Visual art from the early seventies to the hours before dawn of the third millennium) by Tommaso Paloscia, Edizioni Polistampa, volume 3, Firenze, 1999; Rotoballe. Mosaico da parete (Round bales. Wall mosaic), con logo S.T.M. Brochure of the installation at the head office of S.T.M. S.p.A. in Lippo di Calderara di Reno, Bologna, 2000 and web video of STM Company, with the artwork installed, 2017; Lavorare con Maria. Intervento artistico Chiesa Madonna di Fatima (Working with Mary. Artistic intervention Church of Our Lady of Fatima). La Vettola, San Piero a Grado, Pisa. Brochure of the installation, 2002; Museo dei Bozzetti Pierluigi Gherardi Pietrasanta. Printed catalogue by Pacini Editore, Collana Arte, 2011 and Museo dei Bozzetti ‘Pierluigi Gherardi’ computerized catalogue; La donna e l’arte. Percorsi in dialogo tra Italia e Turchia, Petrartedizioni, Pietrasanta, 2014; Antologia pittori contemporanei versiliesi (Anthology contemporary painters of Versilia), Caleidoscopio Arte, 2014; Cosmic simulacra, Alessandra Chillè, Petrartedizioni-Issuu.com, 2016; Pyramide, Alessandra Chillè, Petrartedizioni-Issuu.com, 2016; Simulacri Cosmici, Alessandra Chillè, Petrartedizioni-Issuu.com, 2016; Cosmic Simulacra, Alessandra Chillè, Petrartedizioni, Bandecchi e Vivaldi, 2016.
(Seo copywriting text a cura di Giovanni Bovecchi, Petrartedizioni).