A nice article by the journalist Silvia Zanardi entitled La Casa dell’arte il cuore di Torcello on 22.01.15 published in La Nuova Venezia, La Tribuna di Treviso, Il Mattino di Padova and Corriere delle Alpi
Living there, where autumn turns the leaves yellow and the glasswort darkens. Where winter is pungent, and spring is a promise. If you try to listen to it while rowing among the sandbanks, even silence seems to have a voice, the one that can be understood by only ten inhabitants of Torcello. Paolo Andrich lives on this island as a farmer. About ten years ago he decided to change his life and settle here to grow purple artichokes and wait for the fruits of jujubes, chestnuts, holm oaks, pines and hazelnuts that under the flamingos and herons’ flapping remind us to sanctify slowness.
Those who come from outside open their eyes wide in front of the wonderful lagoon universe loved by Hemingway, especially in the period in which he stayed at the Cipriani inn to write “Across the river and among the trees”. “Casa Andrich” is easy to reach: you get off with the vaporetto at the Torcello stop and after a few steps an arrow invites you to turn left and take an uncultivated path. Many end up there by chance, they read the sign “guided tour, 12 euros”, they ring the bell and Andrich arrives with Wagner, the Corsican dog with green eyes. “From here you understand how Venice was born, you can imagine what the historic center was like without the buildings”.
Paolo Andrich begins the guided tours by accompanying tourists to the green hill of his garden, where the great theater of the Venetian lagoon opens up. «Velma, sandbank and island: the three levels of the lagoon emerge and disappear with the tides and are the foundations of Venice and the islands that surround us». He is an urban planner, was born in Switzerland, in Biel Bienne, is bilingual Italian and French, speaks English well, has lived in France for work, has traveled the world and for those who listen to him recite the lyrics of Andrea Zanzotto is a missed actor.
In 2003, on the death of his uncle, the artist Lucio Andrich, he gave up everything and came to live in Torcello, on the island that his uncle and his wife Clementina De Luca, who died in 1982, had chosen to devote themselves to art. . In the house where Paolo came as a child, and where he now lives as the artist’s heir, there are boxes full of old photographs where frames hanging from the clotheslines, sculptures leaning against trees, paintings that take shape among secular olive trees and tables appear. of students.
Lucio Andrich, a native of Agordo, was a mosaic teacher at the Academy of Fine Arts and then a sculptor, painter, engraver, glass craftsman and author of over 1300 works cradled by the sandbanks and served as inspiration for Clementina who for years, immersed in green and in the silence of Torcello, she embroidered her husband’s works on silk. Now the rich treasure of these works born between the sun, the wind and the unpredictability of the tides, is guarded by his nephew, who from urban planner became a farmer and transformed Casa Andrich into an educational farm, where next to the flowering of the violet artichoke, much appreciated by tourists, one recognizes the long and intense work of an artist that Venice loved.
His is a true artist’s house, where the glasses have a decorated copper bottom, the walls of the rooms are covered with tapestries and the fireplace is the battlefield of an army of wooden soldiers. There are suitcases loaded with embroidered silks and the engravings by Lucio Andrich intended to illustrate a book by the poet Ezra Pound, who died too early to be able to collect them. Tourists who enter here get a taste of the life of one of the ten inhabitants of Torcello, the only farmer left on the island and one of the protagonists of the documentary “Habitat”, which three young Venetian directors will shoot over the course of a year.
Andrea Baesso, Christian Palazzo and Gianmaria Spavento have decided to dedicate a documentary to Torcello which, over the course of a year, tells the daily life of the ten inhabitants of the island. The documentary film – defined as cross-media for its use of various communication and image dissemination tools – is titled “Habitat # Torcello” and to complete the project, the three Venetian directors founded the Flamingo Artmedia company.
For the moment, the creation of “Habitat” relies only on private funding collected through a crowdfunding campaign spread on the “Eppela” platform, the project is to collect 20,000 euros to be able to complete the work within twelve months.
In the trailer for “Habitat”, Andrich explains in a sentence why he decided to live here: “It’s the most beautiful place in the world”. His days pass between projects, plans and requests for authorizations that alternate with the batches of meat and vegetables that he prepares for visitors who stop for dinner: “I would like this place to become the museum of my uncle’s work, surrounded by nature lagoon that inspired him », he says. «The project has been ready for years, but blocked by bureaucratic delays and rebounds of authorizations between the Venice Heritage, the state property and the Water Authority.
I would like to support him with the proposal to organize a landscape biennial here but the public procedures linked to the release of concessions keep me waiting ». One thing is certain: “I don’t move from here and my doors are open for anyone who wishes to get to know Torcello by entering Lucio Andrich’s house”. Perhaps the only one, on this small island, from which the bell tower of Santa Maria Assunta seems almost far away.