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“L’Infinto”: Leopardi’s masterpiece engraved in Braille

16 December 2022

Artist Ester Pasqualoni manually engraved Leopardi’s masterpiece in Braille alphabet on a lead sheet. The work was donated to the Foundation by miramART by Andrea Fustinoni and Fabio D’Amato for the Orto sul Colle dell’Infinito, a FAI property in Recanati (MC).

On Saturday 26 November 2022, FAI and the Centro Nazionale di Studi Leopardiani presented L’Infinito (2021), a work by Ester Pasqualoni (Rome 1980) donated to FAI by miramART by Andrea Fustinoni and Fabio D’Amato (Santa Margherita Ligure) for the Orto sul Colle dell’Infinito in Recanati (MC), property entrusted in concession to the Foundation in 2017 by virtue of the agreement between the Municipality of Recanati, FAI, the National Centre for Leopardi Studies and the “Giacomo Leopardi” World Centre for Poetry and Culture.

The work, set up in the Library of the Centro Nazionale di Studi Leopardiani, enriches the current visit itinerary by inserting itself with depth of meaning and refinement of taste in the narrative of L’Infinito di Giacomo Leopardi realised by FAI, which consists of an immersive multimedia path that guides the public to an in-depth reading of the poem, thus introducing them to the experience of visiting the Orto.

In the work, the artist has manually engraved Leopardi’s masterpiece in the Braille alphabet on a lead sheet: an invitation to go beyond the vision of reality and the limits of physical sight by using language for the blind as a light sculpture. The work has the form of a kakemono, where cloth and paper have been replaced by lead and wooden rods by brass rods. The three-dimensional appearance is accentuated by the braille writing that emerges from the lead.

The intuition to engrave Leopardi’s L’Infinito in braille was the natural consequence of the personal and artistic journey of Ester Pasqualoni, who in 2015 embarked on her own ‘journey towards the inner gaze’, as she herself says, after meeting pianist Luciano Lanfranchi, for whom the loss of sight as a child was the path that led him to music. The artist’s visit to the Orto sul Colle dell’Infinito in 2019 strengthened her research: the immersive experience devised by FAI in the Guided Tour inside the poem was deeply moving and inspiring, in particular, where everything highlights how Leopardi began to imagine and feel the infinite starting from the visual impediment of the “…hedge, which from so much of the last horizon the eye excludes”.

For Ester Pasqualoni, in fact, physical sight is often a limit to self-perception and only the imagination can illuminate the reality of man and the world in which he is immersed.

“The work L’Infinito (Infinity) is the goal of a journey that began with the desire to get to know the unknown world of blindness, which I felt connected to my personal experience and my growing need for light,” says the artist.

The work, permanently installed in the Library of the Centro Nazionale di Studi Leopardiani, was presented on Saturday, 26 November 2022, in the “Franco Foschi” conference room of the CNSL in Recanati. The event was attended by Fabio Corvatta, President of the Centro Nazionale di Studi Leopardiani; Daniela Bruno, FAI Deputy Director General for Cultural Affairs; Aldo Grassini, Director of the Museo Tattile Omero in Ancora; Ester Pasqualoni, artist; Andrea Fustinoni, donor; Laura Suzzani, FAI Head of Coordination of Visits to the Properties; and Sister Barbara Brunalli, Head of the Villaggio delle Ginestre Institute in Recanati.

FAI is particularly grateful to the donors and to the artist, who has translated into this work, with sensitivity and originality, the profound sense of the experience of L’Infinito, which is felt when not seen, borrowing precisely the words of Leopardi.

The presentation of Ester Pasqualoni’s work L’Infinito was the occasion to tell of the launch, also at the Orto sul Colle dell’Infinito, of FAI’s project for the accessibility of the properties, aimed at involving more and more people in the discovery of Italy’s heritage of history, art and nature by raising the standards of inclusive reception of the properties and by launching collaborations with local and national bodies, associations, schools and universities for this purpose.

At the Orto sul Colle dell’Infinito, FAI is working to expand the ordinary visitors route, strengthening its accessible cultural offering through visits, multi-sensory aids, and inclusive activities and workshops that, over a multi-year horizon, will be developed together with various institutions. To date, a fruitful relationship has been established with the Villaggio delle Ginestre Institute in Recanati and the Omero State Tactile Museum in Ancona; in the coming months the relationship will be extended to other local institutions. With these institutes, planning has begun for the implementation of visit routes; the next steps will be the implementation and promotion of the projects.

The featured image in the article is by © Fabio Santinelli

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