Human Flower Project

Orrington, MAINE USA

flag flower bed

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Princeton, MAINE USA

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Carlo Maggia: In Cahoots with Nature

An Italian artist wades in, collaborating with flowers, wind, and water.


Art work by Carlo Maria Maggia

All photos via

In some respects we’re at a great distance from Michelangelo, who could look for—and find—the Pieta in a block of marble. But Carlo Maria Maggia is doing his share of art-finding right now, too, only with a lighter touch and a more pagan sensibility. Sometimes he works with stone and chisels, but for the most part his tools are hands, a camera, and the old elements of earth, air, water, and the blazing Italian sun—fire.

“I started to ‘produce’ art at 8 years old but only after 32 years I decided to do my first public exhibition,” Carlo writes. Many of his pieces retain, we think, that wonderful piddlingness of childhood—the delight in arranging sticks just so or making a boat out of leaves, pods, and blossoms and then floating it merrily down the stream. Anyone lucky enough to have spent lots of time out of doors as a child remembers sandcastles, mudpies decorated with dandelions, or mayonnaise jars filled with pebbles and thornapples. Maybe Carlo Maria Maggia’s work is such juvenilia that’s grown up—into an awareness of transience and decay (thing kids don’t dwell on).

imageWe especially like his most “collaborative” efforts—his partners being the elements. In these pieces it’s not clear where Nature ends and human handiwork begins. Maggia calls himself “a conceptual artist,” and we sense that co-creation is his primary idea. Maybe an agave actually would look better with star-shaped conchos running up each leaf. Perhaps a chorus line of marigolds could wash in with the tide.

Maggia was born in Torino (Turin) in 1964. He writes, “I moved to near Monte Carlo where, deep in nature, I can create more easily my operas.” Operas? Well, yes, this red fabric unfurling on a precipice seems to deserve that name. In June of this year, his piece “Africa Today” was included in the prestigious Venice Bienale. And he has an upcoming show in Cherasco (a town in the Cuneo region of Italy’s Piedmont). That show runs November 1-25 at Galleria Evvivanoe, and we think the name of the exhibit is “Truffle of Gold” but it may be “Gold Watermelon.” Drat, our Italian is molto pietoso. And using babelfish didn’t help; we came up with lingua-clods like this from the resume Carlo so graciously supplied:

“2007 Selected for Cow Parade to Milan Sacred Finalist “At the Same Time.”

Our apologies. We have no idea what that means, though it sounds like it must be good. We are, however, very taken with these human-floral collaborations, sailing down from the sky, riding lily pads, or decorating a bathtub in the woods. Make sure to spend some time investigating his beautiful site.


“I am a conceptual artist, I use nature and particularly flowers to communicate my message,” Carlo writes. “In spite of my conceptualness, my art has to follow aesthetic rules, has to be beautiful, has to be understood at first sight, so flowers help me indeed in pursuing this purposes.” We’re following you, Carlo.


Posted by Julie on 10/25 at 02:13 PM
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