The Sign and the Voice
21 January 1989
FAR – Lungo Lario Trento
The Sign and the Voice
In the lesson held during the Corso Superiore di Disegno, Roberto Sanesi addresses the ambiguous relationship between sign and voice. If the code-sign - whether it be the stable one of writing or the freer one of the visual arts - marks its support in an immutable way, the voice that emerges is as multiple and different as the individualities to which that voice belongs: the readers of a book, the public of a painting. The whole body of literature, poetry, and art are entangled in the gap between the collective and the individual, between the outlined and the intangible. Starting from his experience as a translator of the great Anglo-Saxon literature of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, alternating personal reflections with the reading of his own works, Sanesi sketches the contours of this ephemeral body, cornered by the question: what do you translate when you translate?
Roberto Sanesi (Milan 1930 - Milan 2001) was an Italian art critic, art historian, poet, and essayist. His multifaceted activity was characterized from the beginning by an interest in the translation of American and Anglo-Saxon literature, literary criticism, and contemporary art. In 1957, his attention to the symbiotic relationship between words and art led him to found the Edizioni del Triangolo, a publishing house dedicated to the publication of poems and drawings by contemporary artists. He collaborates with several magazines, among which aut aut (magazine founded by Enzo Paci on which Sanesi publishes the first essays of his career), Inventario, La Fiera Letteraria, L'Approdo, Il Verri, Poesia e critica, and Origini. He translated poems and works by Dylan Thomas, Thomas Stearns Eliot, William Butler Yeats, Conrad Aiken, Christopher Marlowe, Hart Crane, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Archibald MacLeish, William Blake, John Milton, Lewis Carroll, William Shakespeare, Séamus Heaney, Harold Pinter, James Joyce, Vernon Watkins, Walt Whitman. From 1970 to 1975, he was the artistic director of the "International Center of Arts and Costume" of Palazzo Grassi in Venice. He was the author of numerous works in prose and poetry and several essays. Among the many: Il feroce equilibrio (1967), Alterego & altre ipotesi (1974), La cosa scritta (1981), La differenza (1988), Visible (1991) for poetry, La polvere e il giaguaro (1972), Lettera seconda (1980) and Carte di Transito (1989) for prose and the essays and Dylan Thomas (1960), T. S. Eliot (1966), Byron (1966), Saggi sul linguaggio organico di Henry Moore (1977), Annotazioni sul linguaggio di Hans Richter (1978), La trasparenza dell'ombra (1995).