Prof. Aldo Capasso

Around Pinocchio
Aldo Capasso

A collector becomes the director of graphic, photographic and object assemblages of Pinocchio gadgets and images.

Work description

It is quite difficult for me to tell “my” Pinocchio: in the world of fantasy finding logics or rational explanations is complicated. Fantasy deals with feelings, emotions and the sense of play that makes you observe first and then build images and signs.
The rational part of me induced me to think about Pinocchio’s tale and its effects on culture, society and mass media.
My works were born from my thoughts about Collodi’s world. First of all the unique event of a father, Geppetto, who “generates” a son, Pinocchio and the intense, strong relationship between them. Second, the marginal presence of a woman, the fairy, which is odd in a fairy tale and last, the search of a world free from duties but full of misadventures and remorse, as it happens to ingenuous kids, where lies are irrelevant. Fictional characters complete the amazing picture with the humanization of nature and animals, far beyond the work’s moral aim.
My attention focused on the implications this fairy tale has had on literature and children’s literature through the numerous brief or full writings published in every language, on arts with great illustrators and artists creating illustrations for the story, as well as on the cinema, television and the theatre.
Finally, the most surprising aspect is the production of gadgets, puppets, games and a variety of objects of different materials and shapes that is evidence of the success and love for a fictional character that has become the icon of lies and that is often cited in politics and morals.
This is what inspired me – Pinocchio involved kitsch and object producers in impossible, improbable and unthinkable interpretations between serious and grotesque, as well as scholars artists and craftsmen.
In 1985 I designed a public garden dedicated to Pinocchio on Ischia (Piedimonte di Barano). It was intended to offer an area to the fantasy of the children of a nearby school and to the small community of Piedimonte.
This was the beginning of my adventure in Collodi’s world that involved the sculptor Antonio Borrelli in the creation of a Pinocchio bronze sculpture for the garden, unfortunately replaced by a second-rate fibreglass statue of Padre Pio. Later on I started to collect books and gadgets dedicated to Pinocchio and in the following years I gathered such an amount of objects that caused me concern about their preservation and visibility.
The American artist Joseph Cornell’s (1903/1972) exhibition in Florence (1903/1972) impressed me with his three-dimensional compositions and the assemblage of drawings and objects in showcases. I thought, then, that the assemblage of writings, drawings and objects about Pinocchio could be a way to give dignity to this multifaceted production dedicated to Pinocchio.
This would have made me part of the so called “Assemblage art”, very popular in the ’50, that associates signs with objects and was celebrated in the exhibition “The art of Assemblage” at the New York Museum of Modern Art in 1961 where works by Braque, Dubuffet, Natcel Duchamp, Picasso, Robert Rauschenberg, Man Ray e Kurt Schwitter and J. Cornell were displayed.
Far from comparing myself with any of these artists, I tried to put the tale of Pinocchio in showcases. I played with objects and drawings of the puppet and tried to give my personal contribution to celebrate this fictional character by “organizing” handmade, sometimes kitsch objects that fascinate grownups and kids alike.
I wish to conclude by quoting my dear friend and artist Giuseppe Antonello Leone “Aldo Capasso, the collector of gadgets and books becomes director –surreal. He assembles with sacred austerity hundreds of showcases telling the story of father and son in rigorously square formal spaces.”
The works displayed here are part of the production collected in my studio-house in Naples, that my friend Leone affectionately defined Pinocchiothèque.


                        Intorno a Pinocchio -