Woods and Gods


    «(...) A sculpture exists in space much like a human being or a mountain, a tree or a cloud, and in order to fully appreciate it we must approach it as we would a yet undiscovered territory.»

D. Finn: “How to look at sculpture”

The slit-drums at their original location,
Vanuatu (ex New Hebrides), Ambrim, Fanla.
Gianpietro Carlesso
Monumento clandestino, 2001.
vulcanic stone, grass; cm. h. 175 x 120 x 110


The Tree


An empty space within,

where the soul
feels its own voice.
The tree no longer spreads branches and roots to the ground or to the sky; only the deep inner sound responds to the outer life; like a mirror to reflect the light, an inner resonance to reflect the outer world.

Apparently closed upon itself, concentrated as being immersed in an inward meditation, the deity behind this majestic sculpture –a real musical instrument, hybrid of drum, violin, Aeolian flute– is the ineffable power of the instant that precedes the emission of the musical voice, the perfect tension of the bow that will project the arrow towards its goal.

It is still a tree, but again seed, full of vital power, ready to expand to life.



The wooden slit-drums with ancestral head,
from Vanuatu (formerly New Hebrides), Ambrim, Fanla, height 360 cm.,
it "speaks" with the voice of the tree from which it was made.


The original owner of the slit-drums,
Yacinthe To For, in front of his dwelling in Fanla.

Gigantic slit-drum in its hut. Ao-Naga, Assam. Photo dated approx. 1940.


The seed

Cut in the form of a seed, a huge oak trunk gently opens its body and shows its warm internal parts; similar to the head of a noble Dolphin, opens its mouth in a sweet smile to life.

Gianpietro Carlesso, The memory of the forest, 2004


«Actually, all the works of art shown here can be understood without any explanation because they do not want to be understood historically, they want to be understood as our own present moment»

Ludwig Goldsheider


«In the end, sculpture is truth, painting is dream:
the first is entirely representation, the latter is narrative magic»

Johann Gottfried Herder


«You can look at a sculpture from a hundred or more sides,
at a painting from only one.»

Benvenuto Cellini


« Quod numen in isto corpore sit, dubito,
sed corpore numen in isto est.
Quisquis es, o faveas, nostrisque laboribus adsis!»

«What Deity abideth in that form
I cannot say; but 'tis a god in truth.–
O whosoever thou art, vouchsafe to us
propitious waters; ease our toils, and grant
to these thy grace.»

P. Ovidius Naso, Metamorphoses, Book III, 611

« Undique dant saltus multaque adspergine rorant emerguntque iterum redeuntque
sub aequora rursus inque chori ludunt speciem lascivaque iactant corpora
et acceptum patulis mare naribus efflant.»

« Now here, now there, they flounce about the ship;
they spray her decks with brine; they rise and sink;
they rise again, and dive beneath the waves;
they seem in voluptuous dance upon the main;
out from their nostrils they spout sprays of brine;
they toss their supple sides.»

P. Ovidius Naso, Metamorphoses, Book III, 683,
"The Mariners transform'd to Dolphins."
English transl. Brookes More.