Marcello Cammi

 

Marcello Cammi was born in Sanremo on April the 14th 1912 from Paolo Cammi and Emma Musi. Still very young he lost his mother and begun to help his father who worked as a bricklayer for a small building business that worked concrete to make garden furniture. Impulsive and short tempered Cammi grew to become a man short in height, with a big black moustache and lively brown eyes. He used to wear a wool sailor bonnet at all time. He loved to surround himself with animals and owned a fox, a duck, an owl, a turtle, an eagle, a swan and a dove. In 1935 he married Vittorina and became a father shortly after. He soon left for the Russia campaign where in 1941 lost a finger from his left hand and ended up deported in the Mauthausen camp. On his return to Italy he found himself a job as mason for the families of the small town of Bordighera. Starting from 1947 he realized benches, tables, fences, fish pools, flower boxes out of concrete. His first drawings can be dated back to this same time when he also got a grant from the public administration for the Arziglia garden on the shore of the Sasso river, which was soon to become his very own garden. Cammi died in 1994 shortly after a disease killed his son. Hid wife defended the garden against thieves and contractors until 2005 when a gas leak destroyed their house and took her life.

Explosive artist in forty years he gave an imaginary whole population to his garden on the bank of the Sasso river. He used to explain the meaning of his work if asked and used to gave to his guests small drawing made using red wine as a tint. His garden, an homage to nature and earth where air, water and fire joined together and a fantasy world, was home to trees, bushes embracing gigantic mythological figures, women, Holy representations and animals as well as bas-relieves, half busts, graffiti, statues, skeletal bodies he used to call Mauthausen, round masks. He dedicated many of his works to the partisans of Italian Resistance, to the Camps, to the war disasters. Everything was made in concrete around an iron structure.

Very little is left of his work. Three different floods in 1998, 2000 and 2006 wiped out his garden; the municipality of Bordighera destroyed the rest to clean and build on the river bed.

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