Once again Marco Poma puts some of his work in front of the audience and makes them think slightly deeper about objects and things around them which over time have slipped into the background. He brings them “front of stage” and into the spotlight. What could be even thought of as banal or mundane becomes fascinating, worth spending some extra time with and above all reasserts itself as part of our cultural baggage. It becomes ours.
His exhibition which opened this morning in Palazzo Pancrazi in Barga Vecchia is a perfect point in case.
Anybody leaving the Palazzo Pancrazi this morning could walk literally in any direction for just five minutes and find themselves in front of the object of Marco’s work – the chestnut trees which surround the city but after seeing “Ciocchi d’oro – Omaggio ai castagni secolari” they would be difficult to view those trees in precisely the same way as before.
Using the same methods that framers have been using for centuries to gild precious art objects, Marco has turned an abandoned 250 kg chestnut tree trunk which probably started life around 300 years ago, into a precious icon.
Instead of consigning the wood to the fire, he has preserved and given us time to stop and look again at these centuries old trees which have defined in so many different ways the culture and lifestyle of this area.
It is also good timing considering the huge problem of the cynipide that is now affecting the chestnuts. The insect originally from China attacks young chestnut shoots, lays its eggs, and the tree reacts by creating a gall, or swelling around the infected area. During the winter the eggs continue to develop into larvae in the gall. Come the spring the larvae emerge as fully grown insects and set out to begin the cycle again. Females do not need males to reproduce and each can lay up to 150 eggs. Trees bear less fruit, their growth is stunted and they become prone to other diseases. After a few years of continual attack they eventually die. Infestation across an area is astonishingly swift, travelling outwards in all directions from the source the gall wasp can cover between 70 and 100 square kilometres a year.
Chestnut time – but for how much longer? – In the Media Valley and the Garfagnana chestnut forests are an integral element of our landscape, they have supported communities for centuries and remain a significant part of the local economy. A familiar backdrop to life in these hills, we take them for granted, they are always there. But… read the full article here