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travelling Into your bookshelf 2009 - ongoing













7th stop Elizabeth Briel's Bookshelf - Sicily
2 weeks residency at studio sicilia, cianciana
7 - 19 Apr 2012

Cianciana is an ancient town in southern Sicily near the coast of Mediterranean Africa. Here, life’s pace runs slowly, with water streaming down from nearby mountains, and every lane ends with panoramic views and strangers are welcomed by the curious. Movana Chen writes, “Cianciana is like a still painting” and that her stay at my studio “opened the magic door to [bring] the painting alive”.

Movana arrived with an open mind and a heavy bag of books from around the world. But these were not ordinary books. These pages would be transformed and stretched into epic proportions in a way that reminds one of Xu Bing’s installation, Book from the Sky. She sliced paper and words — and my manuscript—and brought people and places together through her art. Traveling into Your Bookshelf gathered friends together with new ideas and experiences. She charmed everyone she met in Cianciana, showing them, us, how knitting can be so much fun.

Her travels to ancient Greek temples in Agrigento made it into the news. Sicilian pride had resurged in recent decades, the economy has slowly gathered strength, and people have been putting their difficult past behind them. Movana’s fresh perspective on Sicily has been a welcome update to Goethe’s comment that “Sicily is the key to everything”. Her striking photos of the Bookshelf project in Sicily highlighted the island’s historic treasures, and combined them beautifully with contemporary art.

She even managed to break through famous Sicilian machismo. Someone said, “If you manage to get a Sicilian man to knit, I will buy you a pizza!” And Movana did manage this. I hope she got her pizza before setting off on her next adventure.

elizabeth briel
april 2013

Click here to view the Video of my experience in Cianciana

Click here to view an interview filmed by Fabrizio Riggio