„Garden of Poetry“, „Giardino delle Poesie“
Everything began with a tragic love story.
One of the most important exhibitions for me in 2010 was „Il Giardino delle Poesie“, the „Garden of Poetry“, in the garden of Villa Aganoor Pompilj on the shore of Lake Trasimeno in Umbria, Italy.
Villa Aganoor Pompilj is named after the poetess Vittoria Aganoor Pompilj and her husband, the Umbrian politician Guido Pompilj, who lived here at the beginning of the 20th century and was counsellor to the king of Italy.
Lake Trasimeno inspired Vittoria Aganoor to write a multitude of poems about the beauty of nature and especially the beauty of the lake.
Her husband had a large terrace with a wide view over the lake constructed for her on the third floor of the villa.
That terrace became one of her favourite places and it is reported that it was here, where she wrote most of her poems.
Vittoria Aganoor Pompilj died in 1910 after unsuccessful surgery.
Guido Pompilj shot himself on the same day after writing his will.
In Umbria and Padova, the hometown of Vittoria Aganoor, the tragic story of this prominent couple was the occasion of celebrationsfor commemorating the 100th anniversary of their deaths.
Naturally, for an artist planning an exhibition in the context of such a story, it is impossible not to be influenced by such a tragic moment in the history of the house.
While creating the sculptures for the different locations in the garden, some spontaneous verses of my own came to my mind.
Titles at first, pieces of sentences, fragments joining little by little, finally becoming complete poems.
During my life I have written some poems from time to time.
Yet, seeing so many poems appear in my mind all at once seemed
Sometimes it seemed to me that the stones would reveal their thoughts to me while I was sculpting.
It may sound surprising but these poems came to me not only in German, my native language, but also in Italian and English.
The title of the first poem sneaked into my thoughts in Italian: „Ali del Tramonto“ (wings of sunset).
Initially I wanted to use these words only as title for the sculpture I was working on.
But then there was no more holding back. The entire poem wanted to see the world and finally one poem after the other entered the scene.
My sculptures have often been called poetic but never before had the connection of poetry in words and stone been so obvious.
In an intriguing interplay, the words formed the stones while the stones formed the words.
Many visitors to the exhibition told me that the unique combination of poetry and sculpture touched them deeply.
It would have been nice if this particular exhibition could have become a permanent part of the garden but that was not possible.
Therefore I decided to write a book in three languages about the exhibition, including photos of all the sculptures and the poems belonging to them.
It is not easy to translate poems into another language, because their meaning inevitably changes.
The best you can hope to achieve is to come as close as possible to the original idea and rhythm of the words.
However, I think I have succeeded in finding the best possible solutions thanks to the support of my wife, Annette, and the help of English and Italian friends.
To make and publish a book is no easy task if you want to make it special. It requires a lot of work and of course also money.
Yet I am confident with your help we will be able to make this book, and it will be a great book.