“When I love thee not, Chaos is come again, says Othello. And it is true. If I make (not ‘create’) a park or a garden I don’t expect the choices I make or the effort of organization to bring me joy, for my action is merely propitiatory. It comes instead from the life that suddenly finds expression in plants as the seasons run their course, from the way they thrive and grow, which has to do with the gods, not with me – I am just a spectator, a witness. At most I am a catalyzer. When I write, whatever I write and whatever the result, my words, once the enthusiasm and the passion of the creative moment have passed, seem to have been written on water. And for me and my words to regain a sense of living, they demand, they must generate, other thoughts, other words, other feelings: if I stop it is as if my heart stopped beating or the light of day could no longer overcome the night”, Ippolito Pizzetti.
“Ippolito Pizzetti was an absolute benchmarkfor all of us – for his critical acumen, the breadth of his interests, his way of life. From 1988, in countless journeys, in numerous intense and rewarding discussions and in the many battles we fought together, we unfailingly assimilated his relish for weighing up contrasting ideas and proposals. He donated his library to the Fondazione Benetton Studi Ricerche, a gesture of profound generosity and rare disinterest. His precisely focused opinions and sedulously concrete advice, shunning all intellectualism, were of the utmost value in situations when the Foundation was wrestling with problems to do with the management or design of landscapes or gardens. […] He wrote of the remarkable human, artistic and intellectual evolution that took him from the literary world to being a charismatic authority in the sphere of nature and landscape in his preface to Pollice verde”, Domenico Luciani.
This piece by Ippolito Pizzetti (Milan, 30th January 1926-Rome, 16th August 2007), published for the first time with an English translation, in the ‘Memorie’/‘Minima’ series, was written in Rome between December 1981 and 21st March 1982 as the Introduction to his Pollice verde (Green fingers), published by Rizzoli in Milan in 1982 as part of the “Biblioteca universale Rizzoli” series (392 pp., pp. 7-39). We always considered it much more than an ‘introduction’, and made it available online in pdf format on the website of the Fondazione Benetton Studi Ricerche in August 2007. Then in 2011, edited by Domenico Luciani, it was printed in the dossier that the Foundation produced for the first Naturale inclinazione, the annual series of public events curated by Simonetta Zanon. Luciani’s brief introductory note to that dossier appears again here (pp. 5-6 in Italian, 65-66 in English).
The cover drawing, Richelieu (6th July 1985), is by another key figure for landscape design and for the Foundation, Sven-Ingvar Andersson (22nd August 1927, Södra Sandby, Sweden-27th July 2007, Copenhagen, Denmark). It comes from the catalogue for the exhibition Sven-Ingvar Andersson 2002, garden art and beyond, Arkitektens Forlag, Copenhagen 2002. All the photographs of Ippolito Pizzetti are by Ippolita Paolucci (© Ippolita Paolucci, July 1996), and were kindly donated to the Fondazione Benetton Studi Ricerche in 2008.