Carlo Levi's Disegni della Cecità
Curated by Nino Sottile Zumbo
With the participation of Antonino Milicia
On view through December 13
An exhibit of drawings by author and artist Carlo Levi (1902-1975), made during a period of temporary blindness caused by diabetes. In 1973, while bedridden, he had a special wooden notebook built, with strings attached to the sides to help guide his hand when drawing or writing. He labeled it "Quaderno a cancelli" [fenced notebook], the name given to his final collection of prose and poetry (published posthumously by Einaudi in 1979) that virtually accompanies these blind drawings, produced with pencil, pastels and ballpoint pen.
After Levi's death, the 145 drawings were purchased in Italy by Antonino Milicia, a farmer from San Pier Niceto (Messina, Sicily) living in Switzerland, and an acquaintance of the author's in Zurich during the 1960s. When Milicia left Switzerland and returned to his home town, he brought the works with him and stored them among hay and other papers. This exhibit features a selection of these works (some of which are figurative, others abstract), including five that have never been exhibited before.
An Italian Jew, Carlo Levi is best known for Cristo si è fermato a Eboli [Christ Stopped at Eboli, 1945], a memoir chronicling his years in exile after his political activism led to banishment to a remote region of southern Italy by Benito Mussolini’s fascist government.
This is the first time the original drawings are on view in the United States.