by Sandro Pintus

High technology, cultural events and European vision at the Carrara Academy of Fine Arts

An interview with the principal, Prof. Carlo Bordoni.

Professor, while the Italian Academies of Fine Arts are waiting for university level recognition, what initiatives has your Academy taken in the past few years? The Decoration Course was opened in 1991 in Decoration and the first students got their diplomas last year. Then of course the Painting Course was first started in the sixties followed by that on Stage Design in 1977. With the Tuscan Region, we have also organized post diploma courses in Marble Design and Computer Graphics. We made immediate use of the European "Erasmus" project which encourages student exchange and we take part in it as a partner on a European level with other Universities like Athens, Birmingham and Ghent.

Prof. Carlo Bordoni, principal of the Carrara Academy (photo by Maurizio Berlincioni)
How many students do you have at the Carrara Academy? We have about 450 students and 150 of them come from abroad. These include six students from Spain who have come to Carrara on the "Erasmus" exchange project, now known as "Socrates". Moreover 15 of our students will be making use of this project to go and study at the Academies of Seville, Granada, Athens, Antwerp, Wimbledon, Maastricht and Dunkirk. This year we have made a request for exchanges for 50 students and 20 teachers. What has the Carrara Academy done in recent years from the cultural point of view? We managed to persuade the Town Council and the Cassa di Risparmio Bank of Carrara to help organize the Biennial of Sculpture again. The Biennial was held inside the Academy with the partecipation of about thirty artists and was a great success, bringing about 20.000 visitors to Carrara.

"The Earth" (1996) by Paolo Borghi, one of the sculptures shown at the Biennial of Carrara (photo from the exhibition catalogue)
We also organized and hosted another important exhibition, "The Marbles of the Zars", which was seen by 16.000 visitors from all over the world. The show took a long time to prepare, 4 years in all, bringing 24 sculptures to Carrara which were placed alongside plaster casts also carried out by their authors, all ex students of the Academy. The sculptures included those that Antonio Cybei, the first principal of the Carrara Academy, carried out for the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg. The last exhibition, which closed in January 1997, was on Domenico Zaccagna, the geologist, who left the Academy about 300 photos and various papers dating from between the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This summer we are organizing a student and teacher exhibition in collaboration with the "Friends of the Academy" Association. Does your Academy have any high technology laboratories? What are your plans for the future? Equipment is available for studentswanting to carry out research in Internet. Another studio has been set up with 10 computers for graphic work and we also have a special room with a video projector for video conferences. As for the near future, we are working on a project of collaboration with Korea to organize a sculpture course. It will be a four year course, three years in Seul under our teachers with the fourth year here at Carrara. See also: The history of the Carrara Academy of Fine Arts FAN

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