Attilio Crescenti


At nine months Attilio Crescenti contracted spinal meningitis. He survived but he would suffer from developmental disabilities. At the age of three, he fell from a second floor window. And at age four, his family placed him in an institution for “problematic” children. At that time the doctors found out that he was deaf. He would never speak and communicated with others by means of signs and facial expressions. At the age of sixty-one, Crescenti was released from institutional care and placed in a board and care home. He started to participate in an art workshop. One year later, he began suffering from lung cancer. He was hospitalized and died several months later. He left behind only a few drawings, most often created with black pen, the theme of which is the fragmented body, scattered limbs, constructed from protuberances, tumors pierced by small, wide-spaced eyes, round noses and suggested ears. The open mouths of Crescenti’s figures are decorated with small teeth, and a great number of fingers and toes – up to twenty-five – sprout from their hands and feet, similarly to infinitely proliferating metastases.

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