A short biographical notice:
- Tomaso Guerino Francesco Carnetto, born in 1961,
- his father, a native Bastard (illegitimate son of V. E. Ferdinando Maria Gennaro di Savoia and the daughter of a landowner), died in 1975,
- at this time Tomaso Carnetto was 13 years old,
- with the death of his father, a logical question was given to him:
whether his father was murdered or died in consequence of a natural cause - a question which he never could answer satisfactorily,
- after he had seen the »Honigpumpe«* at the »Documenta« in 1977, he started his collection of formatives, formative clusters and lineations,
- after school in 1979, he spent a sustainable, impressive time in Canada, mostly engaged with the execution of administrative formalities
(commissioned by his aunt),
- back in Germany he was trained as a carpenter and after he became a craftsman he studied Art and Design,
- since 2007, together with his wife he has headed the Academy of Visual Arts, Frankfurt.
To say it in my words: I was born in 1961.
My father was born in 1907 as a bastard (in the origin meaning of the word). In 1943, in the small slot between the defeat in Stalingrad and Mussolini's fall, he was send to Germany as a so-called „Fremdarbeiter“ (foreign worker). After the Italians had changed sides and fought with the Allies, my father's status was transformed from a „Fremdarbeiter“ to a „Zwangsarbeiter“ (forced labourer). From 1941, he worked for the CIC (Counter Intelligence Corps), later he was involved in the Gladio-Activities. The first time he married was in 1946. The couple had three daughters. He died in March 1975 at the age of 68.
My mother was born in 1922, raised as the first of seven siblings. During World War II, she worked as an assistant teacher. After the War she studied to be a professional teacher. Her marriage to my father was her second. My mother died in November 2011 at the age of 89.
After school, first I took an apprenticeship as a carpenter, then I studied Design and Visual Arts.
Generally speaking, my work relates to the tension between the individual history and the common history. Because of the fact that – on one side – my father never told us anything about his individual history and – on the other side – that he told me everything during a period of approximately eighteen month when I was about two years old, but it was impossible for me to understand it in an intellectual sense, I had to decipher his story and to find an appropriate way to save the deciphering-process.
To obtain his story and with it my history, I had to collect three kinds of content: first what he has told me, second the historical facts in relation to what he had not told, third my own history. All three kinds had to be understood and grasped as concrete experiences. In addition, I needed the appropriate grammatical and artistic tools to do so. Because of the fact that those tools only partly exist, some I had to complete, others I had to create. To get the tools for collecting and evaluating the collected material (concerning its structural identities), I needed many years.
Before the period of collection started, there was a period of pre-collection from 1977 (two years after the death of my father) until 1979. The collection and evaluation of the historical material and the creation of the needed tools lasted 36 years – from 1979 until 2015.
I needed the period of pre-collection to consider (more instinctively than intellectually) an imagination how the collection could be gathered and stored.
The most important impulse for the pre-collection was my identification of the Honigpumpe (as it was installed at the Documenta in 1977) as a potential tool for narrative recoding. The interpretation of the artist Joseph Beuys* had not interested me, because it seemed to me much to far away from the concrete movements of my body in which my father had stored his story as a heritage for his first-born son. For me the Honigpumpe seemed much more related to a Vitruvian Machine, a construction which directly produces an inseparable combination of words and images out of the movements of the author’s body.
To prevent any misunderstanding; my work is not about unveiling any historical or individual secret but to get deeper into the knowledge about how Existential Notations can be grasped and saved. If we are setting the Existential Notations of ourselves and of those we are related to a structural relation, we will find the origin of any individual and common history.
My motivation for working as a lecturer (I started in 1990 with courses in computer based design) was, from the beginning, the definition and creation of the needed grammatical, artistic and technical tools for the collecting and storing of Existential Notations.
With the elaboration of the tools during the following years, we saw that they are outstandingly useful for the teaching of knowledge about design, art or visual communication and for its practical use.
Since 2007, we (Seyyal and I) have led the Academy of Visual Arts, Frankfurt.