About Livio de Marchi

     Livio de Marchi was born in the 1940s and grew up in Venice. As a small boy, long before he had any serious artistic ambitions, he worked at a restoration workshop for antiques - a period which proved to be even more decisive conclusive for his preference for wood as a material than his later years as an art academy student.

It is the very simplicity of Livio de Marchi's concept to which his work owes part of its overwhelming beauty. Imagine if you will that remnants of articles we use in everyday life, clothing in particular, are dug up a thousand years from now. Everyone will be totally excited about such a miraculous find and wonder what the implements were for, in what situations particular garments were worn, what social status they reflected, and so on. Getting back to the here and now, an 11th-century shoe was recently found in one of Amsterdam's many construction pits. Excitement knew no bounds, for leather will fairly easily decay, especially if it's left in the soil long enough. There are plenty of pottery shards left in the ground to keep a small army of archaeologists happily occupied for some considerable time to come, but shoes are a different matter entirely...

We ourselves have wardrobes full of clothes and items for every use at our disposal. The sense of alienation which Livio de Marchi conjures up by recreating these objects enables us to empathise in advance with the excitement that is bound to grip our descendants a thousand years from now when they stumble upon the remains. Or perhaps things will turn out differently in that our everyday stuff will receive much better care once it has been recreated in wood, so that our descendants will find more wooden sculptures by Livio de Marchi than original items. This is one of the reasons why the artist has the ambition of recreating in wood a range of garments which could be characteristic of a specific group of professionals or age category.


Livio de Marchi, one year old

But this is not the only life's work Livio de Marchi intends to accomplish. The artist has resolved to build ten houses throughout the world, to be made from wooden books with interiors which are also made from wood, right down to the curtains and the bed linen. Three of them have already been completed, in Germany, Italy and Japan. These houses also characterise Livio de Marchi as an archaeologist avant la lettre.


Livio de Marchi, end of 20th century

Livio de Marchi - 2004