I met Livio Borghi about four years ago, then lost track of him. I remembered him because he'd had such a good idea for artworks, and I'd seen one of his official public works recently. I managed to find out his phone number and address and went to see him.
Many years ago Livio was painting on the shores of Lake Como (where George Clooney lives now and then). He noticed that a mountain on the other side of the lake was slowly being covered (from bottom to top) by the shadow of a mountain behind him. The sun was setting at his back and obscuring the mountain at his front. He did not have a camera with him so at the same time the following day he returned to the same spot with camera and tripod and took photos. Here are just four of them, the whole sequence is longer:
Livio told me that though this was probably the start of the idea of painting the moving shadows of nature, he did not become concious of it till much later. Then he started painting, on walls and bridges of autostrada, and other public places, the outlines of the shadows of trees as they moved with the sun. Normally he did three outlines at three different times in three different colors. Here is a recent work that Livio created in his garden on a normal canvas:
Not only are the works lovely to look at, but if you go to see the outdoor ones at the same time (and roughly on the same day of the year) as when they have been painted, you'll gradually see the shadow of the tree covere exactly the painted copy which Livio made. And you'll see the shadow move from one colored outline to the next colored outline!
At the start of his career Livio had to choose between music and art, as well as having a normal job to keep body and sould together. Here he is in his 1950s music phase:
And in the 1970s he promoted street art for the public to take part in:
He told me that he has been lucky in one crucial way, he has a chemist friend who actually creates the paints for him. So if Livio needs a certain color to go on a certain material the enthusiastic chemist who actuially likes these colorful challenges!
And here is Livio in his studio, you can clearly see that even at 73 years old he is as active as ever:
Livio Borghi was born in Rescaldina near Milan in 1937. He studied the Brera Art School in Milano (Scuola Superiore Degli Artefici di Brera di Milano) and his first personal exhibition was in 1961
Owen Ransen, January 2010