The tea gardens of Dazhangshan
Wuyuan, Jiangxi, People’s Republic of China
The Scientific Committee of Fondazione Benetton Studi Ricerche has decided to dedicate the thirtieth edition of the International Carlo Scarpa Prize for Gardens to The tea gardens of Dazhangshan, situated in Wuyuan County, in the northeast of Jiangxi Province, in southeast China.
Tea cultivation is carried out in a vast system of hills at the foot of Mount Dazhangshan in undulating plantations with distinctive rows of neat hedges that lie beween the forests above and the rice paddies in the valleys below. The tea plant or Camellia sinensis, which originates in this corner of China, has shaped a contemporary landscape cultivated according to strict agroecological criteria capable of conveying a sense of history and of projecting into the future the values of a rural environment where humans have established a harmonious relationship with nature.
The Scientific Committee has identified in this place the values sought every year by the International Carlo Scarpa Prize for Gardens, which is one of the most important and original projects carried out by the Foundation in the context of its scientific activities in the field of landscape and care of places, and promotion of research, documentation, publishing, and cultural dissemination.
The Prize, named in honour of Carlo Scarpa (1906-1978), architect and designer of gardens, involves a campaign of studies and attention dedicated to a specific place in the world that is chosen by the group of experts making up the Scientific Committee because it is particularly rich in natural values, memory, and invention, following a process of dialogue, specific research studies, reconnaissance and in-depth study.
The Carlo Scarpa Prize campaign involves a series of activities considered useful for the knowledge, saveguarding, and promotion of the designated place. It involves a series of actions including the preparation and publication of a book in Italian and English, the production of documentary film, the organization of an exhibition and of a public ceremony during the course of which the person or entity responsible for the site will be presented with a symbolic award consisting of the “seal” designed by Carlo Scarpa.
To mark this thirtieth edition the Foundation has decided to turn to art to describe the Prize’s core values and to look back at various episodes in its history. The Gallerie delle Prigioni, Treviso, a contemporary art venue, exhibition space and learning centre, and laboratory for contemporary art projects promoted by Luciano Benetton with the patronage of Fondazione Benetton seemed like the ideal setting for this new approach. The outcome will be an exhibition combining research in the field of landscape studies with an artistic search, and exploring a key area of interest for the Foundation and for many editions of the Prize: that of “care of the land”, which will be seen through the gaze of a select group of artists.
The main public events planned in the context of the 2019 International Carlo Scarpa Prize for Gardens will take place in May, in Treviso.
Friday 10 May at 6 pm in the Gallerie delle Prigioni: exhibition opening of The Ground We Have in Common, jointly curated by Patrizia Boschiero, Fondazione Benetton, and Nicolas Vamvouklis, Gallerie delle Prigioni.
Saturday 11 May: international conference at the Benetton Foundation headquarters (9.30 am – 1.30 pm) and public award ceremony in the Teatro Comunale di Treviso (5 pm), including the presentation of a documentary film produced by the Foundation and directed by Davide Gambino in collaboration with Gabriele Gismondi, and of a collective dossier edited by Patrizia Boschiero, Luigi Latini and Maurizio Paolillo, both of which dedicated to The Tea Gardens of Dazhangshan, and the handing-over of the seal designed by Carlo Scarpa and symbolizing the Prize to Hong Peng, who is in charge of Dazhangshan Organic Tea Farmer Association and its cultivations. The Prize placed in his hands is an expression of closeness to the people working in this place where the many complex aspects defining landscape –economic, ecological, ethical, and aesthetic – come together so harmoniously. Above all, it recognizes the role played by their work in underlining the need to develop a more mindful relationship with the earth and its fruits, both in the context of these “gardens” rooted in their immediate surroundings and in the wider mobile reality of the contemporary “tea routes” that take leaves expressing profound cultural and ecological values from this corner of China to the rest of the world.
Sunday 12 May at 6 pm in the Church of San Teonisto, a concert of Chinese music will be held to pay homage to the award-winning place.
Cultural initiative with the patronage of:
Italian Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Forestry Policies and Tourism, Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities, Veneto Region, City of Treviso.
Scientific and Coordinating Committee
Luigi Latini, architect, Università Iuav di Venezia (Chair);
Maria Teresa Andresen, landscape architect, Universidade do Porto;
Giuseppe Barbera, agronomist, Università degli Studi, Palermo;
Hervé Brunon, garden historian, CNRS, Centre André Chastel, Paris;
Anna Lambertini, landscape architect, Università di Firenze;
Monique Mosser, art historian, École nationale supérieure d’architecture de Versailles;
Joan Nogué, geographer, Universitat de Girona, Observatori del Paisatge de Catalunya;
José Tito Rojo, botanist, Universidad de Granada.
Carmen Añón, landscape architect, Universidad de Madrid;
Domenico Luciani, architect, director of Fondazione Benetton Studi Ricerche from 1987
al 2009, deviser of the Prize and its chief executive from 1990 to 2014 (honorary member from 2015).
Other participants in the work of the committee include the Director of the Foundation
Marco Tamaro, and the heads of the various sectors Patrizia Boschiero, Francesca Ghersetti, Massimo Rossi, and Simonetta Zanon.
The activities of the Carlo Scarpa Prize are coordinated by Patrizia Boschiero and by the chair of the Scientific Committee Luigi Latini.