the original founder of the Community of International Artists,
now International Artists Village, first moved to San Remo in
1959 looking around the area he discovered the abandoned village
of Bussana Vecchia in ruins and overgrown. The deserted village
intrigued him and for six months he visited it regularly before
deciding to try to live there in 1960.
was there that the idea come to him to create a community of
artists in the village. He contacted local artists and Vanni
Giuffré, a painter who was exibiting in 1961 in the Casino
in San Remo, accepted the idea and he in turn contacted a friend
of his,, the poet Giovanni Fronte. The three of them thus forming
the base or foundations of the International Artists Village.
spirit of the organization was somewhat idealistic : to be able
to live simply and to work artistically within the village. Clizia
tried to organize this community through a statute. His original
idea was that all the buildings should remain for the use of the
group as a whole. This idea, later, was rejected as people, having
put time and energy into restoring a space, were not willing to
let it stay for the use of others, although they did agree that
some spaces should be used communally.
village during this
period attracted many people by the way of word of mouth. It also
became known that it was possible, for travelling artists, to sleep
in a hostel run by Clizia, where they had access to cooking facilities
for little or no charge. The water had to be carried into the village
as did any other building materials which were not salvageable from
the rubble. There was no sanitation or drainage.
houses being restored on minimal budgets structurally not altering
the outward appearance of the buildings, but making the basic changes
to render habitable the least damaged spaces. At this time the new
inhabitants needed to have a strong commitment and belief in the idea
of the village as its future was uncertain. Most houses were used
as alternative homes and studio' s, where people would stay and work
for limited periods of time and not as permanent accomodation
In 1963 Clizia decided
to leave the village. The new community of inhabitants grew from
the small original nucleus to around twenty-thirty people by 1968.
The majority of this group being composed of artists including
painters, sculptors, ceramists, writers, musicians, actors and
actresses, poets, jewellers and designers.
water tap, still situated at the front of the village, being the
only source of water, naturally became a meeting place where ideas
were exchanged and a strong community spirit was maintained. At
community meetings and generally throughout the village the main
languages spoken were French and English. Most of the houses in
this period were still only used as temporary dwellings. The type
of energy this environment created in Bussana Vecchia operated well
for a time through the one communal gallery.
the outside, tension from the old inhabitants of the village in Bussana
Nuova and their view on Bussana Vecchia started to become a costant
pressure. The fear of eviction, which had always been an uncertainty
in the village, came to a head in 1968 on the 15th of July with the
eviction order giving the villagers ten days to move out of Bussana
police, when arriving outside Bussana Vecchia on July 25rd 1968,
were faced by the villagers behind their barricades refusing to
leave and by a large group of international news reporters. The
police decided to avoid confrontation.
- 1968 : LINES OF DEVELOPMENT
The inhabitants spent
generally on restoring their houses and for creative work of their
own, but the distrust developing in the running of the community
galleries and the village create a movement towards the opening
of one' s own private workshop gallery. The amount of time dedicated
to house restoration and creative work stayed more or less on
the same level, but two new factors were introduced : find and
clear a space to use as a gallery and then the managing of it.
in the 60' s with growing doubt about the management of the village
and the gallery, the community began to separate forming two different
groups. Infact, in 1967-68, with the opening of two more communal
galleries and the first private galleryshop, one could see how the
original idea of the village through necessity had begun to be challenged
- 1979 : LINES OF DEVELOPMENT
needs of the group of more permanent residents - numbering from
five to ten people - were fifferent from those of the temporary
residents - around thirty - The temporary residents often felt that
they could manage without the latter, using candles for light and
taking their water from the communal tap which in 1969 had been
moved to inside the village.
consequence of wanting these services, it became necessary for the
more permanents inhabitants to seek legal recognition, including
residency and possession of the spaces they had occupied.
began working along
legal paths thus beginning to steer the development of the village
towards that of conforming to legal normality, through this, the
questions of ownership and property arose and there was a reation
from those who still saw Bussana Vecchia as the home of their
ancestors and therefore their property through family rights,
to form the group " Amici di Bussana " ( Friends of
Bussana ). In 1968 a number of members of this group fenced off
the whole section called Le Rocche then completely uninhabited
and claimed it as their own.
lower part of the village, free spaces had become scarce and the rights
to these spaces were sometimes contested by individuals selling them
to one another at a price connected only to the cost of restoration
work. These changes appear to have had an effect on the production
of the village? The majority of the residents had other forms of income
from outside the village, either through fixed employment related
to their work, either contacts or outlets in other parts of the world.
followed that the visible production in Bussana Vecchia also tended
tomove towards craft based activities exploiting this new marketin
1974 it became possible for everybody in Bussana Vecchia to be connected
to the main water supply and residancy was finally recognized in the
winter of 1976, electicity was firstly supplied to a few properties,
then in November 1977 permission was finally granted to everybody.
the early 70' s, the International Artists Village as an organization
became weaker and less active to such a point that at a meeting
called by the new inhabitants of the village in September 1976,
they talked of reforming it. From this the Comitato del Borgo of
Bussana Vecchia was formed. The existence of this commitee was recognized
by both the San Remo Council and the Comitato di Quartiere of Bussana
Nuova, who accepted it as an official voice of Bussana Vecchia.
they did not have to rely to the same extent, as the new permanent
people, on the touristic flow from San Remo and the italian riviera.
Also during this time there was a slow change taking place from a
more exclusive type of tourism to the mass tourism one find today
during the summer months. .
an italian law court pronounced a verdict which, for the first time,
clarifies and enforces a legal right to possession in the village.
In this case in favour of a foreign artist whose house had been occupied
by an italian family in during his absence.
TEXT AND PHOTO N.
2000 - LABORATORIO APERTO - BUSSANA VECCHIA - ITALY
PHOTO N. 1 / 2
WILLY DAHMEN - N. 3 ©
- N. 4 ©
- N. 5 / 7 ©
CLIZIA - N.
- N. 8 ©