Last week Wanda Berasi, known to everyone as Muky, passed away at the age of 95, after having dedicated her entire life to art. She originally came from Trento, lived in Bolzano and then later in Rome, where she studied at the German Academy of Villa Massimo, coming into contact, in particular, with Marino Mazzacurati, Leonardo Leoncillo and Renato Guttuso. She arrived in Faenza in 1955 and immediately immersed herself in the city starting to make friends with potters, artists and intellectuals. Following this however, it was clear to her that, even in Faenza, tradition often turns out to be more of a burden than a springboard. She is an artist with a multifaceted personality, poet, painter, sculptress, ceramist, she counted hundreds of exhibitions and many prestigious awards both in Italy and abroad.

In her house, a mythical place as if time had no place but personal possessions were happily placed, she was surrounded by objects, memories and decorated mannequins, sometimes even disturbing. In her company, time flew by, amidst anecdotes and tales of her artistic, poetic and worldly life. Her stories, never nostalgically blocked on the past, but always projected onto today and tomorrow. Even friends confirm how perfectly lucid they found her, able, from the initial argument, to range in every direction with apparently insignificant connections which then turned out to be quite pertinent, from a point of view that she immediately identified, while often whoever listened to her had to be led slowly to focus on them.

Sculpture was the expressive means that more than any other allowed her sensibility to take full shape

Very sensitive to the problems of the people and the world, deeply pacifist, animal rights activist, ecologist, vegetarian, teetotaler, more than sparing in eating, very thin, very lively eyes, hands made strong by a life spent kneading clay, very ethereal and delicate on the outside while equally energetic and determined inside, she had a beautiful smile, sweet and yet proud. An eclectic artist, Muky was creative in all respects, with an inner charge, an enthusiasm, a curiosity and an interest in the world, as well as a working capacity, more unique than rare.

Her «Presepi Contro», donated to Maria Dolens, portray hope in war scenarios

In Muky’s multifaceted activity, sculpture was certainly the expressive means that more than any other allowed her sensitivity to take full form, Specifically, the ceramic sculpture, created with that magical material, the product of earth and water which then dries in the air and comes into contact with the indomitable fire. It is a medium that is anything but neutral, as indeed no communicative medium is: in a continuous dialogue between chemical-physical aspects and ideal, poetic, philosophical aspects, ceramic gives space to ideas and sensibilities in the most fantastic way. As an all-embracing representative of the informal art movement, Muky had for a long time dedicated herself, among other things, to the creation of multi-material installations.

Of her works, scattered throughout Italy and all over the world, there are several in Trentino dated between 1960 and last year. The most important and articulated is undoubtedly the beautiful and rich series of Presepi Contro (Anti-Conformist Nativity scenes) donated to Maria Dolens and always exhibited here during the Christmas period. This donation, promoted by Iva Berasi (her distant cousin) and by Silvio Cattani, her friend since he was dean of the Higher Institute for Artistic Industries of Faenza, while continuing among other things to be dean of the Art Institute of Rovereto, is explicit in its common ethical values shared by that artist and this Foundation. The Presepi Contro Scenes portray hope, through the birth of the Child, Saviour of the world and Prince of Peace, in the scenarios of wars and the many tragedies and dramas that span across the contemporary world. Certainly not the result of a specific commission or the need to participate in a competition, they arise directly, like all her works, from a profound human sensitivity.

Towards the end of the year, many, if not all, spontaneously take stock, to think carefully on the most significant moments of the period that is about to end. This is Presepi Contro: a reflection; a critical reflection, often even bitter. To give just a few examples, in 1989 Muky wanted to stigmatize the humanitarian disaster that Cambodia was experiencing; in 1990 her Child was born in Kuwait where «the sand is the place of the wind»; the following year he was born among the roses of the desert, yes, but above all among the bullets of southern Morocco, «a scream among the chrysanthemums»; in 1993, in Somalia, she highlights that «The memory of war is war»; in 1994 a particularly significant and dramatic place was identified with Sarajevo; in 2001, like everyone else, she was shocked by the attack in New York and Washington on September 11, which caused numerous deaths, directly and indirectly, immediately and remotely. In the midst of so much grief and suffering, however, the Child continues to be born, to give hope, to show us that life is still to be lived.


Pietro Marsilli

Muky portrayed by Maurizio Galimberti

Muky, «Anti-Conformist Nativity Scenes: Christmas 1995/1996 - Peace Process»

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