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Luciano Damiani

 

The work that for more than twenty years Luciano Damiani develops beside Giorgio Strehler at the Piccolo Teatro contributes to do of it one of the more important theatrical institutions to the world.Amongst the installations that he realized, as more stylized and innovative, one must quote at least those of El nost Milan by Carlo Bertolazzi (1954-55), The Good Person of Szechwan (1961) and Life of Galileo by Bertolt Brecht (1961-62), Le baruffe chiozzotte by Carlo Goldoni (1964), IThe Cherry Orchard by Anton Chechov (1973-74), Il campiello by Carlo Goldoni (1975), The Tempest by William Shakespeare (1975).As soon as the relationships with Giorgio Strehler and Paolo Grassi, that appropriate sometimes some ideas of Damiani without recognizing its source, they are made more and more thesis up to not only break down him and the recognition for himself, but for the scenografis and the costume designer of the right of author and the right to the social contribution it will become object of a struggle that will extend him up to the last years of his life.
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Театр Piccolo, ''Буря'', installation of 1977.Beyond any other consideration, the association of Giorgio Strehler with Damiani is considered among those that, in the modern theater, gave absolutely the most notable results. «I wouldn't like that you had the suspect that I'm trying to deny the worths of Paolo Grassi or of Giorgio Strehler, absolutely I'm not doing that [...] I wouldn't probably have succeeded in the theatrical field if I had not met Giorgio Strehler and perhaps I would never have become a show-worker if I hadn't met Paolo Grassi.The fate wanted that our roads met in certain circumstances and since I believe that each of us had something to say, we beloved, hated, but at the end esteemed each other...»Luciano Damiani, in Curtains of a self-portrait, part IV.
Sketch for Жизнь Галилея, installation of the Piccolo Teatro, 1961.«... the scene began out of the stage and a truss drawn by Leonardo da Vinci framed the portal aloft.Under the front of the stage, the machine of the curtain by Nicola Sabbatini, scenographer of the seventeenth century.The level ground of the stage was the only perspective element, with an accented inclination, in the container with orthogonal plan.Five beams departed from the truss to end against the wall in the background.The one in the middle was calculated so that they all five resulted similar in the volume.The purpose was to avoid the ''protagonism'' of the central beam that one can find in Paolo Uccello's works. [...]The scene had to result to the eye of the spectator on the same level, like a ''sheet of paper'' where the characters would be hacked without their own shades and without brought shades, and this was the idea and the great difficulty but also the beauty.»Luciano Damiani, op. cit., part III.
A scale model of the flexible plane, the tool with which Luciano Damiani experimented in 1983 the ''lower fantastic'' putting on stage at the Corte delle Armi of the Castello Sforzesco of Milan the Orfeo, from Angelo Poliziano, with wich also Leonardo da Vinci had a performance.The plane was 17 m long, it arched up to a maximum height of 3,2 m and it was practicable by the characters and by the ballet dancer of the show both in the plain position and in the arched one.The model was realized by the scenographer Matteo Fianchi in occasion of his own thesis of degree, Il piano flessibile di Luciano Damiani, [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brera_Academy|Brera Academy, Milano, referee prof. Daniele Paolin.
In this picture and in the following: the flexible plane during its installation in the Castello Sforzesco of Milan.Damiani is invited, for the Leonardian manifestations of Milan in 1983, to recall the installation that Leonardo da Vinci had performed for the Orfeo by Angelo Poliziano.«In that moment I only said that I had to think about it and that I would perhaps have given a proposal of mine, I didn't like the idea to refer the mise en scène by Leonardo, as it was a model of the science museum.Discarded the hypothesis of a remake of Leonardo's sketches, the way I choose was that of the transposition in the modern world of the spirit of the Leonardian scenography. Leonardo made open a hill as a half dome, making appear the gods below inside it and making get up and go down the characters through a trap door.»Luciano Damiani, op. cit., part V.
«I looked for another way, a mechanism that departing from a stage floor became, flexing, an arc and returned a stage floor when it was needed, creating an upper space and a lower one.The same effect that Leonardo da Vinci had gotten opening the hill and closing it.It was a lucky occasion because I discovered the element able to complete the theatrical machine that I wanted, the ''lower fantastic''.»Luciano Damiani, ibidem.«... arching itself, the plan would have resulted perspective, for which the front part, nearer to the public, would have been more curved than the back part [...]suffering unequal pushes and flexing itself in different ways, the structure resulted mostly solicited and this meant to run into further static and dynamic problems;yet Damiani, aware of all of this, on purpose chose to realize a perspective flexible plane.»Daniele Paolin, ibidem.
The cover of a report by Luciano Damiani that represents the summary of his scenographical and theatrical conception, in which the veil of silk hovered to the wind of the Don Quixote assumed a position of absolute relief.Damiani puts in fact the stage space between ''the upper fantastic or imaginary'' represented by a shaken white veil, and ''the lower fantastic or imaginary'', identified with the black, arranging between the two imaginary all his projects and shows.«A synthesis of his own aesthetical theories applied to the theater that Damiani held really dear», says Daniele Paolin, scenographer and teacher of scenography at the Brera Academy of Milan, who knew Damiani's thought for direct experience, having been a student of his.
A sketch for Театр Piccolo, ''Вишнёвый сад'', an installation of Piccolo Teatro of Milan realized with the stage direction of Giorgio Strehler and the music by Fiorenzo Carpi in 1973.An ethereal backdrop of white silk lifts from the back of the stage, entirely covers it and goes up expanding itself until the ceiling of the stalls (the suspended veil), while another backdrop of clear fabric goes down like a fall from the front of the stage.Again Daniele Paolin:«After having used in different installations the suspended veil for the ''upper fantastic'', and symbolized the ''real'' with the space in an orthogonal layout, Damiani will succeed in realizing in 1983 the flexible plane, the theatrical machine with which he will also reproduce the ''lower fantastic'' in the way that he will consider ideal. But it is in 1988, with Orfeo ed Euridice of Teatro Regio of Parma, that Damiani will hold to have brought really to conclusion his artistic run, because, he will finally succeed in gathering all the three elements.»
After having frequented the courses of Джорджо Моранди at the Accademia di Belle Arti in his own city, Luciano Damiani (Bologna 1923 - Rome 2007), scenographer, costume designer and stage director, founds an agency specialized in the realization of poster for cinema and works in Bologna as a stage designer at the Городской театр and for the theatrical group La Soffitta of Sandro Bolchi, until, in 1952, noticed by Paolo Grassi and Giorgio Strehler, he begins his collaboration with the Piccolo Teatro of Milan, that will be assiduous up to the last Seventies.
Soon Damiani developes a personal scenographical vision that, in theatre, brings him to demolish the traditional conception of the scena all'italiana.
The border of his scenographies, that never are explanatory or illustrative, is not anymore that of the stage, that is dilated at times until to invade the stalls, or almost emptied, with results of exceptional poetic significance.
Among his most prestigious international acknowledgement, there is the life nomination as a titular of the chair of scenography at the Академия изобразительных искусств (Вена).
In 1982 he founds in Rome the Teatro di Documenti, that will become his artistic and spiritual will.

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