Loro Ciufenna Gino Bandinelli

Status

Extant

Address

Arezzo, 52100, it

Built

2003 - present

About the Artist/Site

Gino Bandinelli is a retired gardener who has lived in the area of Arezzo within the province of Tuscany all of his life. His mother worked at a local farmhouse as a young woman and later married the proprietor’s younger son, Maso. They had two children – a daughter in addition to son Gino. Gino himself later married, and he and his wife had a daughter. 

While Bandinelli had no formal training in the visual arts, he worked creatively on little projects throughout his life, and seems to be well aware of the meaning of his work. He takes inspiration from his surroundings (for example, he produced a life-like model of the town of Loro Ciuffenna between 2003 and 2006), as well as from places he has visited, primarily destinations of religious pilgrimage such as Lourdes and Padre Pio’s home. He is also inspired by normal life events and things that he reads about or sees on television, and his work appears to exemplify the way locals perceive life events and internalize external cultural influences. One example is the “Mexican,” a fabled romanticized character tied to the culture of the “Spaghetti Westerns” of the 1940s – ‘60s, a conceptual foil to the neorealist Italian cinema of the time (although each portrayed their narratives interpreted through a socio-political lens – the lore of the American West and the exceptionalism it codified vs. that of proselytization on behalf of workers’ rights).  Bandinelli’s Mexican shows the remote influence of foreign media (movies in particular), a significant factor in the artistic expressions of postwar and Cold War Italy.

Bandinelli extensively uses found objects in his art; for example, remnants of flagstone from a gardening project were utilized to create the model of the town. He likes to incorporate vintage workers’ tools such as gardening implements, saws, and the like, as well as natural materials that he collects in the fields and nearby woods. While he does not articulate his political inclinations, the use of workers’ tools and natural materials, his proletarian past, along with his attachment to religion and tradition, would probably place him within the Central-Left spectrum, generally in line with Tuscany’s population, particularly those of Bandinelli’s age.

 

- Sonia Miller, 2019

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