I was in Italy last week, just relaxing with friends fairly off the beaten track. The only art I expected to see was my own painting (and I’m not sure you can call that!). But, what do you know, in Italy you encounter art as soon as you leave the arrivals hall.
Heading for the train connection I’d noticed these grey marble hippos, but didn’t have much time for anything more than a quick glance:
A week later, back in Pisa airport and on the way to departures, I noticed that these two hippos weren’t on their own. So I took advantage of the wait after check-in to wander around the airport hunting for more sculptures.
Outside were cool grey marble sculptures grouped into dolphins, crocodiles, hippos and a huge whale, all rising out of the grass as if in a swamp or jungle.
Not too surprising, then to find out that these statues, by Giovanni Maria Manganelli, are called “Jungle”.
Around the airport were another two sculptures (that I could find anyway), both depicting the human form in very different ways.
Psiche, a bronze sculpted in 1994, waited for us at the end of the train platform.
By contrast Tuffatrice (1994, grey marble) in the check-in area, was light, flowing and graceful as she spun into a dive she would never complete.
There are lots more examples of Manganelli’s work on his website. Many are based on blocks to make it seem -very effectively- as if the subject is emerging from water. And those that aren’tstill have a wonderful fluidity about them, as if the sculpture has been poured into existence from some thick, viscous fluid.
It seems you can’t escape art in Italy. But, what a great way to say ciao to Tuscany!