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BIBLIOGRAPHY > Twice Crucified
una notte io sono nato

Abstract from " Twice Crucified "

"Look at me! I describe myself without false modesty, but you have to look at me without hypocritical compassion. Look at me and get angry with me and if you are seriously angry because of my two crucifixions, then you will be able to love me."
This what Daniele Scaglioni seems to be saying to us, with his canvases and autobiographical flashes that have the same style, the same violent or dark colours, the same descriptive force and pathos as a painting.
Guido is the friend who becomes the instrument of his incisive verbal brushstrokes since Daniele cannot write for himself because of his handicap. Guido as if in a play on words, ‘guides’ us through the attention-seeking outbursts of rage of this explosive personality, linking them and harnessing them into a narrative structure with more serene but no less deeply felt explanatory passages.[...]

My mother was as harsh as a corporal and I was the most abject of soldiers. She was as arid as the dry earth on mountain ridges and stubborn like a prickly pear.
Unconsciously she never accepted me. She accepted me and my body only when I became financially independent even if she never gave me a penny. I think it must be normal for a mother to reject a handicapped baby she is carrying. A mother hates the sexual act that brought it into being. […]
At the age of seventy she was freed of burden of living. I followed the coffin to the cemetery and waited lucidly until they had bricked her in the locus. I did not go until the sexton’s trowel had smoothed the last bit of plaster on the four death bricks and then I left in silence thinking that now finally she was in peace. It was a liberation.

Thanks to a friend of my mother’s who often came to the house I had my first experience of sex.
Thinking about it now I am grateful to her. She had a young daughter, a pretty girl, and both of them were prostitutes. One day I was at Maria’s house and her daughter was in bed. With a knowing wink Maria said to me, “Daniele, go and keep Bruna company a bit”. Bruna was lying naked under the bedclothes. The room was warm and smelt of her breath. I sat down lightly on the edge of the bed, feeling embarrassed. My heart was beating like a drum. I thought to myself, “Go on Daniele, be bold. She’s a pretty girl, give her a kiss”.
But it was not necessary. She took the initiative and she kissed me with open mouth and her tongue inside mine. […]
At the age of eighteen I died with the desire to fuck. Always hard, always ready. In my dreams there was sex and fear. But even then, rather then go with a mentally handicapped person I would have a wank. The priest used to whisper that it was a mortal sin to masturbate, or rather to touch yourself, you must not do it… they know it is a sin that gives pleasure. When you masturbate you feel better. Masturbation is therapeutical. Sometimes thinking about what the priest has said and his judgment I would stop masturbating half way through, and I would feel the shivers running down my back and my testicles as hard as stones.

Whe were in the mountains, at Moena. We stopped in a little church off the beaten track. “Anna”, I said quietly, “You know we can’t get married because we would lose our pensions, but I really want to”.
Her eyes quivered. Emotion possessed her body. Those words whispered in the darkness of the church, out of respect for the place, were as intense as a wedding before the altar. That moment is impressed in my heart. The day before I had bought two gold wedding rings with our names engraved on them. I held them in the palm of my hand immerged them in the holywater stoup. I put one on her finger still dripping.
“What are you doing?”
“We are getting married”. United by a thin circle of gold. There is no stronger bond for two lovers. She wept and wept, poor thing! We stayed together for nine years, until she died. […]

Every time I began a picture it was an adventure that took me into the mysterious world of the imagination. The colours fascinated me: their consistency, their substance became flesh and blood. I usually painted several pictures at the same time, also for reason of “economy and organisation”, that is to say, in order not to waste the paint, which was costly. For a spastic it is more difficult to open a tube of paint than for a surgeon to cut open a stomach. I unscrewed the cap as best I could with my teeth and then I ahd to concentrate to squeeze the lead tube with my hands. My hands move jerkily and uncontrollably and so it often happened that pain squirted out all of a sudden in a wave like a fish and, amidst my imprecation, went all over the place. I would take the paint dripping off my shirt or on the palette and throw it with decision onto the canvas with a spatula, with a brush held between my teeth or simply with my fingers. I did a lot of pictures with my fingers, with my hands open, and my palms spreading the pure colour over the soft canvas. At the end of a painting session I was a living palette, my lips were encrusted with paint, my hands decorated and oilstained, my face transformed with the effort and the sweat that stung my eyes, my shirt and trousers covered in splashes and squirts. On this devasted battlefield the finished pictures shone luminous and I felt proud. I loved them straight away. We always love what makes us suffer.

They crucified me twice: when I was born and when they shot me in the heart with their slander. What gave them the right? They pushed me off the horse of my youth rather than teaching me to gallop free and wild in the open fields. With good legs I would have done other things, with good hands I would have done other things, with a machine gun in my hands I would have conquered the wolrd. If I had had money I could have corrupted politicians and their hangers-on and I would not be here tormenting myself now. I was persecuted and condemned but I have no blame.

Once a year, together with my deaf and dumb friends, I go to the Institute for the deaf and dumb that is next door to where I live. A young black nun from Nigeria who had known me for a few months looked at me severely and said, “Daniele, you are a pagan. You swear too mach. If you don’t go to Mass like the others and take the Holy Communion, then you cannot eat here”. Those words take me bask to the past. I see myself as a child trying to protect my face from the hands of the nuns; hard hands like wood hit at me because I am guilty of not praying properly, and they punish me by putting me in the corner face to the wall. Now I am fifty and I can allow myself to hate them and answer back.
“You are right sister. With all your Christian goodness, did nobody ever teach you that even the pagans have to eat? I promise not to swear during lunch, but as for Holy Communion I have taken it thousand of times… what is there to eat today?”
As a child my heart grew small, and hardned.

For six month I tried to track down Guttuso and meet him. I wanted to do this because he was the greatest Italian artist of the times and it was his magic moment. I was in Rome for an exhibition. I began going to the restaurant where I knew he usually had lunch in the hope of getting to know him. The owner of the restaurant noticed me and saw that I was eating only a sandwich all alone at an empty table. I did not have a penny in my pocket, I was embittered and disappointed. “What’s the matter? Who are you waiting for?” He asked.
“I’m an artist and I am here to meet Guttuso, but I have lost hope now and I have finished my money”. “Is that all?” exclaimed that good man. “Come with me”. Turning to Guttuso who was eating at the table over in the corner he said confidentially, ”Guttuso, there’s a young man here who wants to meet you”.
We introduced ourself. Guttuso said, “Come to my house. Come and see my studio”. […]

As soon as I was pretty well financially established I thought, “Now I do not have to worry and I can get on with the hotel-home for the handicapped”. Enough of words. Deeds….” . Fifteen years ago I bought ten thousand square metres of land at Riva Ligure. I sold my properties in Via Belle Arti in order to buy a piece of land in the sun with 100 metres of sea front. A paradise on earth lapped by the transparent waves of the Ligurian Sea. I gave up all I had. I was certain that in two or three years I would have all the necessary permits to built the hotel. I was not asking any public institution for any money. Nearly fifteen years have gone by. Nothing. The town-planning scheme keeps moving backwards and forwards like a rubber band. Now here, then here. The only place it does not move to Is my land and the project is slowly dying. And together with it, my dream is dying. […]

Have I been illuding myself? They should have told me these things fifteen years ago. Today my land has the value of a field of artichokes. I will die of a broken heart at this rate. Who is it that does not want me to build the hotel? If I had applied to build a luxury tourist residence for fat tanned American millionaires, would there have been the same problems? For Scaglioni’s handicapped friends… don’t insist… what a sight it would be… all those cripples going round Riva Ligure in wheelchairs… with their deformed bodies exposed to the sun… and the shouts and cries… in front of the shops… they would get in the way… we have to think of the image, of decorum…. We must be reasonable. […]

Since my partner died I go to sleep with the television on just so that I can hear a voice in the empty room. In my house there are only ghosts tapping me on the back. I switch the TV off in the morning after listening to the stupidities of the day. […]

To contact Mr.Daniele Scaglioni:
Cellulare: 338 6662250 - Studio: +39 059 225357
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