- Title: Sculptor transforms Rome's dead trees into art
- Date: 19th October 2019
- Summary: ROME, ITALY (OCTOBER 18, 2019) (REUTERS) ITALIAN SCULPTOR, ANDREA GANDINI, USING A HAMMER AND SCULPTING TOOL TO CARVE A SHE-WOLF'S (SYMBOL OF ROME) FACE INTO A TREE STUMP IN VILLA PAMPHILI GANDINI CHOPPING / PIECES OF THE WOOD FLYING PAST HIS FACE TIMELAPSE OF GANDINI SCULPTING WOLF FACE INTO TREE STUMP (MUTE) VIEW OF GANDINI CHOPPING THROUGH SHE-WOLF'S EARS (SOUNDBITE) (Italian) SCULPTOR, ANDREA GANDINI, SAYING: "I am doing these sculptures, basically because I enjoy it. It is something I've been doing since I was a kid. I used to do it in my garage, and now I do it on the streets. It is essentially the same thing, except that now I have the chance to meet many more people. It is the thing I like most about it because I can see directly from passersby, how much they really appreciate my creations which then become public. They are everyone's. Once they are done, they are not mine anymore. They are only mine while I am working on them. It is really a passion." PASSERBY TAKING PHOTOS ON PHONE OF GANDINI AT WORK PASSERBYS WATCHING / GANDINI SCULPTING PASSERBY, WHO HAD STOPPED DURING A RUN, TAKING PHOTO ON PHONE (SOUNDBITE) (Italian) PASSERBY, FABRIZIO MELONI, SAYING: "He is an artist who should become well-known if he isn't already. And now I have discovered who this 'Andrea' is, after seeing several of his creations that have been done with these tree stumps, which have been cut down." (SOUNDBITE) (Italian) PASSERBY, MARCO POZZI, SAYING: "Among all the horrible things you can see around, I think this is really nice, it is an urban decoration. He is showing us how talented he is. I would definitely not be able to do that." GANDINI WALKING PAST TREE STUMPS IN PARK TREE STUMPS IN PARK GANDINI LOOKING AT TREE STUMP, TOUCHING IT TO SEE IF IT WOULD BE SUITABLE FOR A SCULPTURE GANDINI FLICKING PART OF TREE FROM STUMP (SOUNDBITE) (Italian) SCULPTOR, ANDREA GANDINI, SAYING: "I don't want to make people think, it is enough for me that they feel an emotion, that they get a thrill, that their heart beats a bit faster when they see my work: then I've got the result I wanted." VARIOUS OF GANDINI SCULPTING SHE-WOLF VARIOUS OF GANDINI SCULPTING (SOUNDBITE) (Italian) SCULPTOR, ANDREA GANDINI, SAYING: "I often compare what I do to an archaeological dig, more than to classic sculpture. I just follow the form of the trunk, and create the shape that it most suited to that trunk. So the face that emerges is neither a portrait of someone in the street or an idea of mine. It is simply the trunk itself that reveals its own form." VIEW OF ST PETER'S BASILICA / GANDINI'S SCULPTURE OF MAN WITH CLOSED EYES ON TREE STUMP IN THE ORANGE GARDEN GANDINI TREE SCULPTURE OF MAN WITH CLOSED EYES PEOPLE TAKING PHOTOS WOMAN WALKING PAST A GANDINI TREE SCULPTURE OF 'PAPESSA GIOVANNA' (A LEGEND ABOUT A FEMALE POPE IN THE MIDDLE AGES) IN TRASTEVERE, WHICH IS ONE OF HIS FIRST STUMPS PAPESSA TREE SCULPTURE WITH CROSS AT THE TOP (IT HAS BEEN COLOURED BLACK BY POLLUTION OVER THE YEARS) TOURIST TAKING PHOTO OF SCULPTURE MOTIONLAPSE OF PEOPLE WALKING PAST A TREE SCULPTURE OF TWO FACES, ONE SCREAMING
- Embargoed: 2nd November 2019 08:05
- Keywords: tree sculpture tree art Andrea Gandini Rome dead trees art
- Location: ROME, ITALY
- City: ROME, ITALY
- Country: Italy
- Topics: Art,Arts / Culture / Entertainment,Editors' Choice
- Reuters ID: LVA001B1RH3RT
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Andrea Gandini, a 22-year-old Roman sculptor, is making a growing name for himself by turning the Eternal City's dead tree stumps into much-admired pieces of art.
Gandini, who began his tree-carvings around 5 years ago, chipped away at his 66th stump - a sculpture of a she-wolf, the symbol of Rome - in the huge Villa Pamphili park on Friday (October 18).
He has plenty of raw material to work with. Rome is known as one of the greenest cities in Europe, with its 313,000 trees filling its many parks and lining the streets in the city centre.
However, many were planted during the 1920s and 30s and are now old or dying.
Seeing how they are neglected made Gandini want to bring the stumps back to life, and give something back to the people of Rome.
"They (the sculptures) are everyone's. Once they are done, they are not mine anymore. They are only mine while I am working on them," he said, hammering away chips of wood from his latest creation.
As he intricately carved the wolf's features, small crowds of people wandering through the park stopped to marvel at his work and take photos on their phones. One local, who has seen the sculptures dotted around the city, was delighted to meet the man behind the art.
"Among all the horrible things you can see around (the city), I think this is really nice," said another passer-by, Marco Pozzi.
Many of Rome's trees have been neglected and become a safety hazard due to the heavily indebted capital's financial problems. They often fall and smash cars during storms, and city hall says some 86,000 need to be specially maintained or chopped down.
But Gandini is able to find beauty in the decapitated trunks.
Gandini, who grew up in Rome, first started sculpting in his garage as a teenager four years ago. Now, he gets commissioned to create tree sculptures all over Italy.
In Rome, however, he still hand-picks each trunk.
He explores the capital looking for the right type of stump: one that is large in size, in a good condition, not rotting and without any fractures. Each sculpture takes around one week to complete.
Gandini maps the stumps on his website, and the sculptures are becoming a tourist attraction, even being included in guided tours. His Instagram account has reached almost 7,000 followers.
Asked what his message to the public is, he said: "I don't want to make people think, it is enough for me that they feel an emotion, that they get a thrill, that their heart beats a bit faster when they see my work."
Despite the popularity of his sculptures among locals and tourists, the Rome authorities have been less enthusiastic.
Although there is no law that forbids people from carving dead tree stumps, police have threatened to ban him from historic areas including the Colosseum, using tough new rules drawn up in recent years to maintain decorum.
It hasn't stopped Gandini carving elsewhere in city.
His 66 stumps - dotted everywhere from busy shopping streets to famous gardens - have completely different faces and styles.
In the famous Orange Garden that overlooks the city, he created a large male face with closed eyes from a stump. In the popular tourist district of Trastevere, a sculpture of the legend of the female pope 'Papessa Giovanna' still garners attention despite having decayed by pollution over the few years since it was carved.
Gandini said he lets the shape and form of each tree trunk guide him as to how each face will look.
"The face that emerges is neither a portrait of someone in the street or an idea of mine," he said.
"It is simply the trunk itself that reveals its own form."
(Production: Cristiano Corvino, Emily Roe)
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