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Let’s make the sign of the horns

  • Culture
  • - 24 March 2015

    In Italy, horns are the heritage of mankind, deeply rooted, popular in all fabrics of society with their different meanings. First of all, they have a superstitious value. They ward off bad luck, prevent unhappy results and ensure successful endeavors. But they can also be considered offensive, especially for men who, with this simple gesture, become husbands betrayed due to questionable virility.

    Just make a fist and leave sticking up you index finger and little finger to evoke this talismanic ritual, as old as life on earth, yet always present in Italian culture.

    At one time, large horns were placed on front doors for protection against evil spirits, as a sign of strength and power. In rural areas, they were also associated with fertility, for having good crops and prolific herds. In short, over the centuries they have changed shape and size, but have remained on the minds of an entire population.

    So much so that Rosanna Minuto, a brilliant artist from Liguria, has decided to make it her inspiration by creating fine ceramic sculptures with powerful appendages. In observation with ancient propitiation rituals, her works are entirely handmade. Only by modeling the shapes and forms will the beneficial energies of the sculptor be absorb by the talisman, giving it the power to attract good luck. This is why she decided to “baptize” her creations with the name of Talisman Art, art which brings good luck. Her cultural references are connected with that of the Renaissance, as is her technique and idea of creating sculptures on commission, just as the artists of the past. Before putting her hands to work, Rosanna Minuto wants to get to know her customers, spend time with them, understand their reasons, tastes, and hopes so she can penetrate the authentic spirit animating them and turn these into a unique piece of art. Each one is different. Each with its own particular tactile consistency. They are sculptures to be admired. Above all, they should be caressed, the original touch appreciated, and by doing so, traces of the artist’s hand will be found.

    A key element of propitiatory art is the irony, because smiling brings good luck. Rosanna explained: “If my work results in a smile, then I’ve done it. I’ve been able to touch the inner-most part of a person. He’s opened his life to a moment of happiness. So, whenever he comes back to take a look at the sculpture, he’ll remember that feeling. That feeling of “happy” energy. And this positive attitude will bring good luck.”

    For this particular purpose, she has created small pocket talismans, energetically loaded with Reiki techniques; fun, whites sprites on which unfailingly stand a pair of red horns. There is a thin thread linking the different pieces of Talisman Art; the union of irony with magic when evoking the mysterious figures on tarot cards, like the High Priestess, or ancient pagan idols, like the Enchantress Circe. But the red fire of the demons protectors is also tempered by the cold elements of water, when the figures are plunged in blue, almost to appease passion’s strength in a sea of peace.

    Completing a sculpture takes about four months with its long manual process similar to that used by Medieval potters. But the complexity of the forms is decidedly modern and require the construction of special scaffolding, capable of supporting the clay as it dries. Then two days of baking in the oven is needed. Temperatures must reach 1280°C and all this with the possibility that the difference in temperature made cause the sculptures to break into pieces.

    But it is a risk that Rosanna Minuto has decided to run without fear, given the opening phrase of her exhibition: “Your heart must break, else it shall harden.”






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