Boxing Bassano 2011

Posted: July 7, 2011 in Bassano 2011

card boxing1  card boxing bassano2

The video:


Boxing Bassano 2011

Photos from the exhibition at Palazzo Bonaguro


The Project:

The meeting at the castle

Boxing Bassano 2011

Our meeting was at the castle. In all the years I have been in Bassano, I haven’t actually been into the castle. What a lovely venue.   They arrive. One child late.   The adults ask questions about the diary & boxes. One child asks she has her own diary, can she use that. No! She can photocopy this into that. We have biscuits & pop & tea!   Alas no milk!    The project discussed & its off. No hanging around here, these adults have things to do. click on the photo and see a gallery

The adult participants this year are all based within the Arts. The idea behind this is that OperaEstate wanted to bring together the summer festival with this project in a way that would be relevant to those visiting Bassano, those living in it and those who are participating within the project. Where last year, for those of you who were able to visit the exhibition, would have seen that the adults were all from the ‘Elders’ centre- a fantastic launching pad for the pilot project of last year. Whilst this year, the team at OperaEstate spent a good few hours researching an eclectic mix of six creative people, some unknown in the town and some internationally renowned for their productivity.

Martine Akre & Elsa Etra

Boxing Bassano 2011

We meet at Elsa’s house. Her father bought the house with her mother. Later, her sister was given the house & repainted it all white, covering up the original plasterwork! It was a priests studio before. Very historic it is actually forming part if the old walls of the city. The castle was not a real castle, but it was a fortress, invaded it has turrets to protect the city, and Elsa’s home links to these tall pillars.


We look around the house & find a tunnel, a photographic dark room (her husbands) a fantastical locking gate system, where if you pull it closed but is locked no key. But up the stairs is a pull that releases the door to open:)  We then enter a bedroom with diagonal cupboards & doors, but the piece de resistance is the small workshop of Elsa’s. Complete with a sewing machine, two manikins & modern fashion magazines, we see Martine’s face, already enlightened from the tour & Elsa, her face almost explode with excitement. Martine can knit, and is a young lady, with love for pink hair band….. Well just pretty.. This room is a playpen. For me too as my parents used to run a theatre costume business and i would spend hours in the workshops.

Martine picks up a fashion mag and says to Elsa Can you make this?

Yes, Elsa says, of course!!

Elsa finds a pink/ red piece of material & places it near Martine’s face….. Scrunching it into a rosette. She looks at her watch & decides she has time to make Martine a rosette neck chocker necklace. Martine & I bundle up close & observe.  My favourite magic is poking through… Pulling an inside out strip if material through to make a seemed strip- for the choker.

Boxing Bassano 2011It looks beautiful & Martine & Elsa swap numbers and arrange to give Martine a machine sewing lesson.  My job is done.   I say this because on so many levels this meeting has brought 2 very very different cultures & ages together, but with one ( or more) interests.     Well actually. It us the research taken at OperaEstate that made this job work. They matched the pair, i simply oversaw the interaction. Massimo has his own page 


Fadoua El Khaouli & Bassiano Zonta

Boxing Bassano 2011

The next couple is Elsea’s with husband Bassiano Zonta. A fabulous and accomplished photographer. So different in character & lucky as Fedouh is shy too. Again, this is the matchmaking if OperaEstate.   This project is smooth because the ground work, the foundations here in Bassano are strong. It is used to collaborations with visiting artists & holding workshops. 


We walk to see where Bassiano was born, and played. We go into the garden & find a fallen birds nest. Massimo takes hold if this and walks with it discovering it is full if insects, now along his arm. Bassiano takes it for the rest if the walk, for his box.   At the meeting he learnt that Fedouh liked to explore. Somehow from their quiet voices, they discovered these things. And at the meeting i saw them talk just once or twice.

Explore, so we did. We walked along the river & saw the 1966 rise in water level. The sea as Bassiano puts it came up to well over half the high angled street.   We go onto the beach and the two of them start to look for stones & objects for the box.   We return back to the castle after a most beautiful stroll of discovery These two shy people, will always remember this venture.    In Bassiano’s house, he has prepared books for us. Me: his photo book of craftsmen in Bassano & a book of watercolours by Gigi Carron.  He signs his photo book. Roberto gets the same signed photo book & Feduah receives a book of an adventurer, stories of exploration.

Boxing Bassano 2011




He says, that he hoped it was not too dull?

No – Not dull at All – On the contrary, it was a most beautiful experience.

Massimo has his own page

Kawtar Sebbar & Orfeo Beneti

Boxing Bassano 2011

Only one visit today, to a gentleman who, over his years has changed profession a couple of times. From the age of eleven he made his first pair of trousers after watching his uncle and his first job was indeed to become a tailor and he shows us two blouses that he is making for his wife. His second career was to decorate plates and ceramics with a company in Bassano. with a fantastic steady hand he can put his creativity to anything. We then went for a walk to the water mill where the a fantastic garden of Eden was found. we ate and ate from the trees; blackberries, silk worm blackberries, deliciously light and bright red cherries. such a delightful place and so calm we even saw a woman practicing Yoga and meditating.  After her session, she came and ate from the trees too. Please read Massimo’s diary as he has written the whole account of this meeting. Massimo has his own page




Silvio Turcan & Toni Zappellon

This visit was a playground for my camera and for Silvio’s too. We arrived and did not want to leave. Literally did not want to leave.

BBassanoThur2011Platman-56 Tony Zappellon sits in front of one his Cave creations. Out of all the artists participating this year, Tony has a strong belief about the art coming from your sole and not allowing society to intrude, or to influence the course of where ones art is being directed.  For Tony to speak to Silvio was quite an interesting scenario. A young child not used to Art to be introduced to this philosophy, a philosophy that is very prevalent throughout the world.



Tony and Silvio drew portraits of each other, and already we saw a difference in Silvio’s pencil work, more confident and happy to draw. He enjoyed wandering around the cave and exploring and just being there. Many groups come here and do not even know much about it. A lot of children come and really have fun there. It breaks so many boundaries.


This cave has a number of faces painted onto the rocks. It was once scattered with disused fridges and household appliances. Tony came and on his own one by one took the white goods out of the mountain side and found a blank canvas so to speak. He began painting and people started to come up and see what he was doing. The Architect who owns the mountainside, saw the work in progress and enjoyed the new vista. When we were walking back up the hill, a group of families came for a picnic there and were so delighted to see the Artist present. i think Silvio was really happy to see Tony have this ‘fame’, it put something into perspective for him I suppose. Each July Tony replaces the number eleven with the new year to come. I would like to come back next year to check. Silvio and Roberto saved a small caterpillar from the footpath.


Reda Benmakaddem & Vito Pavan

Boxing Bassano 2011

Vito greets us at the ‘Pick cafe’ in a central Piazza in Bassano. A cafe that in the ‘50’s was the centre of the new contemporary art movement in Bassano del Grappa. They were so delighted that the war had finished and that art could once again be resumed. they brought paintings from Milan themselves, with their own cars and rested them on the counter tops in the cafe. They would sit at the their club room at the back of the cafe and discuss the state of art. 

Boxing Bassano 2011Boxing Bassano 2011

Boxing Bassano 2011

Vito believes quite the opposite to Tony on artistic philosophy, with regards to how the artist interacts within or against society. It is a shame that the children had not joined us for more than one ‘session’ each. Only Roberto, Massimo and myself knows of the continuity within this ‘art’ conversation. I wonder if, at the exhibition, the diaries will explain the conversations, that eventually the audience will be able to reveal this internal discussion?  I insist to Reda to smell the studio, to really go up to the canvasses, behind the canvasses and smell the material. I asked him  to tell me what he smelt, what did it remind him of? Reda had never visited an artists working studio before and this alone excited me to make sure he really took photos of everything he saw and smelt everything with it. I wonder how much Reda understood about this artist? as Reda is far more interested in football. We shall see.

Simone Kane & Renata Bonfante

Boxing Bassano 2011

Renata is an international textiles designer, who beautifully allowed us to visit her studio where her sister and nephew help to keep the business growing. Her warm delicate soft voice is inviting and enthusing. Her colourful laboratory is fuelled with beams of yarns, bobbins of threads and four wooden traditional looms. Her nephew installed a mechanical loom, that was once used for other yarns, so the nephew altered it to work with their own yarns. The wool is sourced locally and in the 1960’s she experimented with new plastic fibres and has since returned to the yarns of her choice. Renata has made a plan for our visit and asks Simone to make a colour matching chart and allows her to choose her own colours from a rainbow of a selection. Simone worked silently and then Renata asked her to draw a pattern. after we all looked away, Simone drew the most amazing squiggly line pattern with such delicious colours. Something rubbed off on her.

Boxing Bassano 2011Boxing Bassano 2011

Boxing Bassano 2011

The final couple is complete and the Boxing Bassano is over for the project part. Only now do we organise the exhibition for August 24th 2011. This year our ideas are rather exciting and I shall NOT tell you Anything about it, apart from saying that we are thinking MATERIAL. There have been three of the participants who use cloth, so it is only appropriate to use this for the exhibition. The diaries and boxes are looking full and I will return here in August to add on the exhibition documentary.

Please check back again then. Meanwhile, Massimo has his own page where his very own documentary of Boxing Bassano is explained.





With tremendous thanks to The European Cultural Foundation, Leica Camera AG, Carteria Tassotti and of course OperaEstate for helping to make this project work so very well in Bassano del Grappa.



Massimo is our diarist in Bassano. He will write in Italian and English, I am simply adjusting his language for it to read smoothly in English, but I must say I have only adjusted a little. Massimo has his own page. Enjoy, I think you will see the picture. Do Please go and have a look at Massimo’s page. He is a young writer working in collaboration with OperaEstate.


  1. Liz Spencer says:

    What an incredible project. It looks like young and old got a lot out it .

  2. Jules Owen says:

    Brilliant project. Great photos.

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