A children's tree-building workshop with 44flavours
Some trees look like huge ice cream cones with swirls of cream on them, others are pointed, sharp as knives. There is a sort of weeping willow which does not weep, but instead bends over laughing, a spruce ready to be decorated for Christmas, a palm sprigged with baubles as if it actually were Christmas, a tree with mane, a tree without a mane, a tree without a trunk, a tree that looks like Freddy Kruger’s hand, a tree of Magrittean clouds, squat, smiling shrubs with teeth, a tree that really looks like the head of a woman with straight hair who has just been to the hairdresser for a dip dye.
There’s also a tree with a beehive on top, with a crown that reaches for the sky, reflecting its colours. There’s an enormous piece of unripe broccoli, yellow mixed with grey. There’s a tree and a child. There’s another child running away crying, two Siamese palms, a tree that looks like a rabbit’s head, a cubist tree made up of basic shapes, a padlocked door.
There’s a tree shaped like an AK-47 straight off the production line. Van Gogh, Spiderman or one of his friends, Pippi Longstocking in a summer dress, Officer Pete Mitchell (aka Maverick) brought to life. There’s a horizontal tree which is blue, and the freshest, juiciest apricots that no-one ate but everyone wanted to.
There are trees that hang out of the sky, and others that sunbathe on deckchairs. There are also empty spaces, bits that have been scrubbed out, nightmares and dreams, sneaky thefts, odd-looking squares and instruments of torture. There’s a scattering of non-replicable technical concepts, a lot of hard work, a child-made nature made of the nature of childhood and all its merits, defects, colours and infinite possibility. There’s a forest of trees in Valetta Valsecchi. They made it themselves.
Co-Playground is a series of workshops held in the Urban Oasis, a large park in Mantova’s Valetta Valsecchi. The workshops are run by Italian group Ludosofici and Berlin-based artist collective 44flavours, in collaboration with the Goethe Institut Mailand.