Crepiscule on the Tiber Laurie Fox Pessemier 13 x 18" 33 x 46cm Acrylic/canvas
Monk Puppet Laurie Fox Pessemier Acrylic/newspaper 17 x 25" 43 x 63cm
Puppets Laurie Fox Pessemier Acrylic/newspaper 17 x 25" 43 x 63cm
Blair Pessemier Squares Acrylic/canvas 16 x 20" 40 x 50cm
We went to the café for a Campari/soda as soon as we got back to Stimigliano on Friday. We’d been up in Rocca Malatina wresting with paperwork for a few days. The Café Garibaldi is a homely sort of place, with shelves full of toys for children – “soccer” cards and little girl lipstick; balls with monster faces, and jars of slime. There is an odd “homeliness” about a lot of Italy, but is comfortable and right here. There is no pretension, and for that it is a relief.
I recall, from the 1990s, living in Hartford Connecticut, an Italian woman telling me, “it may be nothing, but we can all sit and have a dish of spaghetti together”. That perfectly describes the homeliness: a simple meal, not five courses, and you can dig in and eat more of, if it’s there. One dish, one glass, one fork.
I try to look up a translation for “homely” and it comes through as “”familiar” – not exactly. Once Google translate has an idea in its teeth, don’t try to trick it. I find other colloquial translation programs, and they are better: bruttino (a little ugly), or semplice (simple). I am sure there are ways to convey the idea.
There is a sense in Italy that things have always been this way (thousands of years, before the Romans were the Etruscans), and why change? There are surges of beauty, like Roman architecture and statuary; mosaics; the Renaissance – a lightning bolt in all fields; Mannerism; Baroque – the Italian Futurists in the 1920s were great, bringing outstanding graphics to the world. Italian car design leaves the rest of the world in the dust; fashion and furniture, too. But when you get down to the basics; food, communication, the family: civilization is what goes on here. And beauty is a treat, admired, never scorned.
When Blair buys my Saturday paper at the café this morning, Franco slips in the wrong rotogravure. The Repubblica has the “D” (he says donne (women), I say design) section, which has the latest fashion and interiors, editorial and recipes. Regardless of how homely things might be, people always like to look at people who look good. When I return it, “brava” he tells, me – good that you caught it. I leaf through for dressing inspiration. Plaids and florals combine, athletic shoes accompany chiffon dresses… Nobody “coordinate” anymore – like the end of buying matched wood furniture suites.
At the Comune, our city hall in front of our house, kids are making masks for Mardi Gras. The noise is deafening, but somehow even Harika recognizes the fun of it, and isn’t bothered. There will be a “snow machine” here for the celebration, and after a party for the kids, there will be a DJ for the teens and adults.
On the back of the Repubblica’s main newspaper is an ad for a clothing brand: Only a Device should be Precise. Go with the Flaw.