«Today, Alberto Burri is to be counted among the bearers of the superior bitter initiative: beginning today by creating, but neither life nor death. Not representing, but doing. This I say: that one must do.» ‘Pittura dell’ultimo giorno. Scritti per Alberto Burri’ by Emilio Villa (p. 8). Published by Le Lettere, Florence, 1996.
Practice comes from the Greek word prássō, meaning I do, I act. As opposed to theory, it indicates the sphere relating to the motives and contents of one's will as a prerequisite to actions being completed: the use of our soul is dual, that is, practical and speculative.
Sketch by Günter Roth, coutesy the family Roth.
That takes shape from the repetition of multiple actions, the methodical operation of valuing and understanding what is within us and what surrounds us, a way of learning and thinking, the path to knowing the world: doing, exposing oneself to the suffering of failure, practising in order to understand, realize, fix a thought. The concept of care, of self and others, is intrinsically preserved In practice. Thus, ‘practising’ the garden grants us the luxury of relating to an alternative temporal mode, becoming exchange and sharing with different, non-animated, living elements of nutritional capacity. On the other hand, the contemporary trend of upcycling arises within the need to care for the environment, a problem that turns into a necessity for large and small fashion brands alike, but also in the recycling of stage pieces, re-purposing waste that are able again to practice their beauty in other contexts.
Le Corbusier decided instead to transform his design concept into life and philosophical practice through the creation of the Cabanon, a small cabin where he lived during the last years of his life as a cure for his own self. The Japanese photographer Nobuyoshi Araki, found his way to face and process the imminent loss of his beloved wife in the artistic practice. Make way for doing then, focusing on the harmony between thought and action, material and immaterial, all of which are the driving force for a resolution of lives, space, time, and a new era.
«In a world that runs wildly, with often incomprehensible logic, the problem of slowness overwhelmingly comes to mind, as a destination of thought and of the way forward.» ‘Elogio della Lentezza: rallentare per vivere meglio’ by Carl Honoré, Published by Rizzoli, Milan, 2014
Practice is a slow and fast engine, the escape route from contemporary overthinking. A cure to the wearing down and emptying reflected in our bodies, it means giving space to ourselves by engaging the mind in the concrete and functional, an exercise in the conscious control of our thinking and a reappropriation of time that seems to elude us today. Practice is offered to the mind and an uninhibited elemental action controlled by the hand with the intent to change us and the world.
Being performed, being explained, being conceived to be shared, practice is a process of understanding, aimed at enhancing a circumscribed and defined action. Practice is also a way of learning, the route to knowledge, to apply the secret.
«Fine art is that in which the hand, the head, and the heart of man go together». John Ruskin What separates us from a soul, so fragile and made of flesh? The powerful need to accomplish and define an outcome. Like having a child, cooking pasta served on a simple dish in honour of true conviviality, with knowledge, getting one’s hands dirty and searching for the intrinsic forms of a paternal memory, moving away and getting closer by touching an element that defines a new knowledge.
May practice save us, save our minds, detach our souls from bodily pains, and let us act at the height of our senses creating beauty. The freedom that provides us with knowledge, the healing industriousness of the creative process, firm, imminent, repeated.
To my grandmother Giovanna, to her prudent, repetitive, and monastic ways.