SIGLINDA SCARPA: BY WAY OF A BIOGRAPHY
Maria Comazzi and Sergio Scarpa in Novara, Piemonte, Italy, in the foothills
of the Italian Alps. Not long after, Siglinda’s parents became founding
members of the partisan movement against fascism. Sergio Scarpa was one
of the principal authors of the new Italian constitution, was elected
to the first Chamber of Deputies, and now holds the title of Senator for
||Introduced by her father
to the beauties of the surrounding mountains and took the first of many
walks, often alone, in the rarefied air of the Alps that instilled in
her a life-long sense, not only of independence, but of oneness with the
||Met Romano, who owned
a motorcycle and never kissed her, as well as Nino Caruso, who introduced
Siglinda to her other great love: clay.
||Seduced by the romantic
fairy tale of marriage, which almost paralyzed the artist she was to become.
||Bore two children, the
eldest of whom, Elena, is still alive and lives in Rome with her son—Siglinda’s much loved grandson—Tomasso,
who also rides a motorcycle.
||Became part of the art
movement associated with Carte Segrete. The group of painters, writers,
musicians that included Ugo Attardi, one of Siglinda’s first mentors,
Burri, Lucio Fontana, Guttoso, Carlo Levi, Dacia Maraini, Moravia, Pino
Pascali, Pier Paolo Pasolini.
||Prepared to go to America
with Pino Pascali, who impulsively spent all his money for the trip on
scrap metal in Rome, and thus Siglinda went alone. The scrap metal is
now a sculpture in the Museum of Modern Art in Rome.
||Studied art informally
in San Francisco, worked in the free-speech and anti-war movement with
Mario Savio, talked philosophy with Jim Morrison, and decorated Allen
Ginzberg’s ample belly with a Rapidograph pen, to Allen’s
great delight, at the beach one day.
||Returned to Italy determined
to work in film.
||Studied film and sound
editing by looking over the shoulders of the best in Italy, worked
with Fellini and Antonioni (edited “Amarcord” and “Zabriskie
Point”), and learned how hard it is for a woman to get her name
on the crawl—the only credit a film editor can hope to get.
||Founded the Siglinda
Scuola di Ceramica, which was associated with the Accademia di Belle Arti,
and watched the mafia destroy it with sledge hammers when she refused
to lend herself and her students to their purposes.
||Hired by George Pitt
to edit films for his film company, Spectrum Associated, in Manhattan.
||Met and married her
present husband, a mascalzone if ever there was one.
||Hired as Studio Manager
of the Greenwich House Pottery.
|| Established a studio
in Cold Spring, NY, exhibited her work widely, and made a modest beginning
to her family of animals with just two cats, a couple of pushy geese,
and one very mean rooster.
|| Has lived and worked
in Chatham County, NC, has had her ups and downs (including watching her
studio and Goat House Gallery burn to the ground that awful January morning),
and has added goats, chickens, guinea hens, new geese, dogs, a totally
beautiful bull, and cats, cats, cats to her family and to her great joy.