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Tiziano Costa.
Tiziano Costa is a genuine Bolognese but has… the serious flaw of being born in 1939, more than eighty years ago.
He has been working for sixty years now, which means two lives of work. After graduating from classical high school he attended the faculty of architecture in Florence. During the first thirty years of work he was involved in advertising, creating numerous designs and trademarks as a graphic designer for well-known companies, including international ones, while in the following thirty years he dedicated himself to publishing, personally taking care of the graphics of the books. . For over forty years ago also the writer (and he has not yet stopped) narrating the city under the title of "C’era Bologna". He has written and published more than two hundred titles, often sold together with the newspaper Il Resto del Carlino, and has won over a large audience of readers.
The thing that he considers most important is creativity, always doing new things with enthusiasm even sacrificing his free time… which is never free. This "craving" to create pushed him to do other things besides his usual work.
Never forgetting his involvement in architecture, over the years he has designed a large number of villas, often restoring old dilapidated ruins which, instead of demolishing, he brought back to life with inspiration, so much so as to arouse admiration not only among the clients but even among qualified professionals. But that's not all.
Passionate about woodwork since he was a child and gifted with natural construction manual skills, in the 70s he began to make art woods, not the usual inlays, but three-dimensional compositions of hard and rare woods. While he was successfully dedicating himself to this passion of his and just as he was doing work for an exhibition he was planning to do, a very serious car accident pinned him to a wheelchair for almost a year, preventing him from walking and even working the wood, and for this very reason he began to write books ... because those are seated.
Now after forty years he has resumed this interrupted activity and works with "youthful" enthusiasm. He recently did two exhibitions. The second inside the basilica of San Petronio on the square of Bologna. The exhibition was seen by two hundred thousand people, many of whom enthusiastically praised the works.
His new wooden works appear as polychrome bas-reliefs for the many varieties of woods used and stubbornly searched for among the importers of exotic woods. In fact, the woods that make up the works are rigorously used with natural color and never artificially colored and this involves a continuous search for new and even rare woods to exploit the natural grain.
His "woods" currently represent the most enthusiastic commitment and he goes on to say that this is what he wants to do "when he grows up" also because, he says jokingly, he has absolutely no time to die and for this he sent an SMS ... up in the direction begging the attendants to keep the queue ahead because he is not in a hurry.

SEE ALL ARTWORKS BY TIZIANO COSTA



Story of an eighty-year-old
that "when I grow up"
he wants to be a sculptor

by FRANCO BASILE
Born in 1939, he says that when he grows up he wants to be a sculptor. Tiziano Costa is among those who make the smile a terribly serious issue. He knows well that the queue to stamp the last card is getting thinner and thinner, but he, kindly, lets those behind him pass, he would give priority to everyone. Not for a selfish question, but because he still has an infinity of things to do, to say and to write since his main activity is that of a writer with more than two hundred books to his credit. The human story - history is old - is a circle destined to close and life, however long it may last, always ends too soon. We reach the age of regrets without even realizing it, we think about what could have been done, about the time left to make a dream come true, about what could have been said to particularly loved ones. Finally, to those who are always close to us and who have not had the way, or the courage, to tell them how much we have loved them. There are those who entrust their existence to a chorus of illusions, and those who are not satisfied with seeing things with their imagination, but want to live them, touch them, remember them forever, transforming memory into a freeze-frame of time. The circle is closed, is it time to take stock? Not for Tiziano Costa who has no intention of cutting the roots of memory and giving way to the illusion of who knows what. For him the past is not a void to lose, an unnecessary burden to get rid of, the cancellation of something that belongs to a man who has never stopped dreaming.
Now there is a project involved, the one related to the sculpture issue, the idea of ​​what he will do when he grows up stands out in Titian's mind. Which is not really a project since it has been handling wood for about forty years. A passion, if anything, waiting for a response that not even he knows how it will manifest itself. But does all this ruminating matter? In the meantime, many of the famous queue passed in front of him, so he was able to stretch his stride along territories where desires travel by dream propulsion. Now, more than a dream, the sculptural practice is reality, made up of rambling deceptions, yes, but for this very reason lived on the surface of direct emotions, composed of brisk incidence. When he grows up he wants to be a sculptor, of course, in the theater of creativity he intends to play a role all his own, giving shape to the youth of a past that is a bit old in the personal sense, yet full of the future. Tiziano Costa holds in his heart the sense of a long time, a tomorrow made up of fibers, circles, the scent of resin, of special, strong, unassailable woods with indelible colors.
At the age of four he already knew how to write, he had been taught by a teacher from Pracchia where he had moved with his family to escape the bombings. It was 1943, the Tuscan town represents, in the Costa's logbook, one of the twenty-two removals undertaken to stay away from the war. Christmas was within reach, the wishes had the mailbox under the pillow and the Child Jesus, the adults told, was in charge of sorting the messages sent by the most profound connoisseurs of fairy tales, the children who lived the event in all its indescribable wonder . Santa Claus in those days was an exotic non-existence, there was no trace of the bearded old man dressed in red, nor should he be mentioned. For the ideology of the time he was a kind of outlaw. Titian, after seventy-five years, preserves the message sent to Jesus. There is a lot of date with slightly unstable numbers (from one of four years one could not expect more), there is the name of the place, the request for the gift, the signature and the design of the desired object. "Child, bring me a saw", we read, with the signature in large, right above the drawing of the desired tool. Even then Titian must have begun to love wood if, as the request suggests to the Child, he intended to treat it, transform it to his liking. It was the beginning, or the continuation of a game that the little one would take very seriously, just as serious must be the smile to be combined with every gesture of him.
Father, mother, a brother and himself had found refuge in an area where there was a lot of greenery. It took very little to make contact with the vastness of a world that still today he continues to live in the memories, in the visions that he continues to keep within himself. The silence was stirred by rare passages, now an old farmer, now the flight of a fox, now a flutter of wings. It is a past that recurs without limits, which he tells in his writings about him, which he rewrites on the woods between feeling and invention. The Costa had settled in a beautiful mansion, too close to a fuel depot to feel safe. Thus began the movements that took them from one point to another in the mountains, between Tuscany and Emilia.
For Titian the woods occupied endless spaces not only among the hills, but above all in his thoughts, while the houses seemed to him to contain characters from a fairy tale. For him, chestnut groves were forests populated with dreams, trees enclosed shadows and stories unfolded in the circles of the trunks that the mind put in safety under the cortical layer of a tree that is hundreds of years old. It was perhaps the effect produced by the dawns of wonders that made little Titian's imagination gallop, it was that magical sense of things established by the little ones who have the ability to play with everything that existence offers.
It was easy to fantasize under the dictation of time, with elements made of signs and striae, circles and fibers that conveyed the signs of age. Little by little, stimulated by the light and by mysterious calls coming from the edge of the wood, figures emerged, or made up branches and trunks like cobwebs of a visible made of rectangles of grass, transparencies, images suffused with air in a background of ocher and browned greens. Tiziano has always carried these sensations with him, he keeps them with the same care with which he kept the letter sent to the Child in the box of the most expensive things. What appears of these distances in the stories he deals with on wood? A lot, sculpting, after all, is a game of references that in the artistic exercise is also a way to recover the past, a way of transforming the memory without constraints, of abandoning oneself to the values ​​of a classicism that leads to think about the future. For Titian, wood contains the value of time, which is similar to a circle where the heart of evocation beats.
It is from the traces left by man, from the legacies of nature that Titian draws his certainties, as well as in the forms of past events and along the paths of nature a good part of his story is to be sought. After all, wood has never stopped being the intermediary of an aesthetic that leads back to evocation, and to nature itself, according to an action of reciprocal influences.
Tiziano Costa is a sincere artist, one of those who show a profound adherence to a feeling extraneous to fashions and amused transgressions. With his wood he does not intend to fool anyone, much less himself. His works are tales in relief, stories put together piece by piece, like a mosaic of chiaroscuro, of hollows, of shapes that underlie the idea of ​​a rediscovered world. In assembling his dreams on a wooden board, perhaps he imagines the roots of a tree that claws the earth, sees what he had seen as a child, the undergrowth as a soft fleece, an extension of green made of grass and moss. In the wood there are all the abandonments of him, the legacies of a poem that ignores calligraphy and epidermal refinements. There is meditated manual skill in his exercise, a caressing of fibers, knots and striae, which is the way to distribute, among the joints, the pleasure of touching things with the designs of the time.
Sentiment is not rhetoric, said an old artist who on more than one occasion had shown himself opposed to manifestations of modern dynamism that did not provide space for memories. The circle that encompasses Tiziano Costa's stories, thoughts and projects has a very wide radius. The trait of art, that, so to speak, of wooden expressions, has a figurative beginning, although gradually faded in the succession of time by natural-symbolist transparencies. Carving wood and shaping earth were the fun background of a life that his parents had indicated to him, first of all, in the quadrant of studies. Many ideas buzzed in his brain leading him to a radical discontinuity in the web of habits and conventions which, in his eyes, stirred the monotonous flow of the days. But he had no way of getting bored, he just had to find personal corners where he could cut out figures to apply to dreams. He has always succeeded, he has been able to create a personal world in which even the memory of the simplest thing becomes important, like a footprint to beat with the desire to continue putting together wooden blocks based on a game where the feeling turns into light and color.
Portraits, landscapes, views of Bologna, the markets, the arcades. His repertoire is not very vast, also because he was not yet large enough to devote himself full time to sculpture. And then there were the books, the research in libraries, the collection of documents and photographs, he had to write and be an editor. As soon as he could, however, he picked up a piece of wood and from a sketch he obtained a nude of a woman with a metaphysical row of trees in the background, or he portrayed himself on a smooth surface, or from a hole depicting the lock of a lock. he let the gaze of an intruder bitten by curiosity filter through. Like existence, art too is made up of circles. The figurative for Titian is a parenthesis that at a certain point closed to give space to a research that, from organic elements, found application in works whose geometric structure (with naturalistic intentions) would have transmitted a strong vital charge to the compositions. In this there is a reference to the Unit One group, where the passage from the real to the abstract recalls the action of characters such as Ben Nicholson, Barbara Hepwort, Jean Hélion, to those artists who have passed from acute attention to detail. to the ideal concentration of the visible by modernizing relations with tradition by moving away from any relationship with reality.
Now even the circle of abstraction seems to be coming to an end. Or, at least, it is under observation after Titian has regained confidence with clear stories, see a large panel depicting a scene from the Portico dei Banchi di Bologna where coins were once exchanged. A return to the beloved city with the inclusion of a particular moment, that of the procession of the Madonna di San Luca. Once again, here we are, therefore, dealing with memories relived after a long preparation. For a fantastic truth, Rafael Alberti would have said, for an evocative lyricism accompanied by an innate structural sense.
A sculptor's studio usually has bright windows overlooking the greenery or the chasing roofs that Bologna, with its vermilion, offers in profusion. Tiziano Costa has no windows, he lives in a house where the foot of the hill points against the edge of a large artery, the noises of which are lost before crossing the shadow of a large garden. Costa has created the laboratory in a large basement with brick vaults. Here, like an ancient philosopher, he resists the harshness of the world. The walls are blind, but he sees everything with his mind, keeping his hands on his eyes, he sees one hundred and one hundred sequences of his life. The walls are full of keys of various shapes, there are piles of books, presses, prints, tables and coffee tables. The only testimony of the present is a computer kept behind an old iron hanger. He does the sculptures in a separate corner, with a door that opens after operating a bolt the size of a club. Keeping his eyes closed, he stages with his mind a show with no beginning and no end. Here he does what he wants, it's like playing, picking up the threads of a somewhat elderly childhood, but enough to make him say that when he grows up he will become a sculptor.

Born in 1939, he says that when he grows up he wants to be a sculptor. Tiziano Costa is among those who make the smile a terribly serious issue. He knows well that the queue to stamp the last card is getting thinner and thinner, but he, kindly, lets those behind him pass, he would give priority to everyone. Not for a selfish question, but because he still has an infinity of things to do, to say and to write since his main activity is that of a writer with more than two hundred books to his credit. The human story - history is old - is a circle destined to close and life, however long it may last, always ends too soon. We reach the age of regrets without even realizing it, we think about what could have been done, about the time left to make a dream come true, about what could have been said to particularly loved ones. Finally, to those who are always close to us and who have not had the way, or the courage, to tell them how much we have loved them. There are those who entrust their existence to a chorus of illusions, and those who are not satisfied with seeing things with their imagination, but want to live them, touch them, remember them forever, transforming memory into a freeze-frame of time. The circle is closed, is it time to take stock? Not for Tiziano Costa who has no intention of cutting the roots of memory and giving way to the illusion of who knows what. For him the past is not a void to lose, an unnecessary burden to get rid of, the cancellation of something that belongs to a man who has never stopped dreaming.
Now there is a project involved, the one related to the sculpture issue, the idea of ​​what he will do when he grows up stands out in Titian's mind. Which is not really a project since it has been handling wood for about forty years. A passion, if anything, waiting for a response that not even he knows how it will manifest itself. But does all this ruminating matter? In the meantime, many of the famous queue passed in front of him, so he was able to stretch his stride along territories where desires travel by dream propulsion. Now, more than a dream, the sculptural practice is reality, made up of rambling deceptions, yes, but for this very reason lived on the surface of direct emotions, composed of brisk incidence. When he grows up he wants to be a sculptor, of course, in the theater of creativity he intends to play a role all his own, giving shape to the youth of a past that is a bit old in the personal sense, yet full of the future.

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