Great cancellation for Giovanni Testori

Author: Emilio Isgrò
Title: Great cancellation for Giovanni Testori
Date: 2014
Location: via Ignazio Gardella – via Aldo Rossi, Milano

Above: Emilio Isgrò, Great cancellation for Giovanni Testori, 2014, piazza Gino Valle, Milano, photo by Andrea Scuratti – Comune di Milano.

On an oblique-oriented concrete wall appears a text whose words have been largely erased: it is a passage from Ponte della Ghisolfa, the 1958 novel by Giovanni Testori, of which only a few fragments remain legible, thus setting a new poetic and allusive image: “Bridges that streetlights lit up / of immeasurable tremor / elsewhere”.


In the Portello area, a large square with hard-edged architectural volumes and immense spaces, created where the former Alfa Romeo factories stood, is dedicated to architect Gino Valle (Udine, 1923 – 2003) who completed right here his latest projects. An artistic intervention could not be missing, and it was entrusted to Emilio Isgrò, an artist (painter, writer and playwright) who choose the act of erasure as his most recognizable trademark. Isgrò usually obscures entire blocks of writing, sometimes leaving nothing but short, barely recognizable fragments, reconfigured into new constellations of meaning. In this case, Isgrò wanted to pay homage to Giovanni Testori (Novate Milanese, 1923 – Milan, 1993) the writer who loved and described these places (quite different in his times and with a strongly popular imprint) in his first novels.

The erased writing is of impressive size, large more than twenty meters, and the sentence that remains legible takes on a new poetic tone that resonates in a powerful mood within the amplitude of the square. This work by Isgrò represent a form of public art that chooses to reject the verticality of the monument, offering itself horizontally to the gaze of the passer-by, thus becoming a sort of backdrop to the life that takes place every day in public space.