© Ivan Cangelosi,  2013
107X86 cm
Ink on paper
Technique – Handwriting of the whole novel of Franz Kafka – German
Material – Pens and paper

Private collection

About the novel –  “Metamorphosis” (German, “Die Verwandlung”) is a story written by the Bohemian writer Franz Kafka and published for the first time in 1915.

One morning, upon awakening, the book’s protagonist (Gregor Samsa) finds himself transformed into a sort of cockroach. The rest of the story tells of the attempts made by the young Gregor to try to adjust his life to this new condition, especially in regard to his own family.

Through the filthy condition of the protagonist and the substantial inability of the family to establish a human relationship with him, the author wants to represent the marginalization to which the “different” is tragically condemned by the society. The insect symbolizes nothing else than “the different”. The metaphor of the insect represents the dependence of Kafka from his family and the denial of his artistic freedom in literature.

Description of the painting – In this painting, the beginning of Franz Kafka’s metamorphosis.

The Miserables (Books I and II)
© Ivan Cangelosi, 2013
168X128 cm
Ink on paper
Technique – Handwriting of books I and II of Victor Hugo’s novel – French
Material – Pens and paper


About the novel –  The novel, written by the French writer Victor Hugo and published in 1862, tells the story of several characters in Paris after the Restoration. These characters belong to the lower class of the French society in nineteenth century, the so-called “miserable” people falling into poverty, ex-convicts, prostitutes, street urchins, students in poverty. It is a history of falls and ascents, of sin and redemption. Hugo adds to the story, some chapters of great historical importance (such as the Battle of Waterloo, the structure of the city of Paris, an overview on the clergy and monasteries of that time, the views on the society and its ills , an overview of France post-restoration) that allow the reader to place the characters in a particular socio-historical context.

 Description of the painting –  Description of the picture – The picture is the first of a triptych (still on progress) which, at the completion of the wholeartwork, will depict the entire novel by Victor Hugo composed of 5 volumes: Fantine (Volume I), Cosette (Volume II ), Marius (Volume III), the idyll of the Rue Plumet and the epic of rue Saint-Denis (Volume IV) and Jean Valjean (Volume V). In particular, the present work has been realized by rewriting by hand and with a size of the letters of 1.5 mm, the volumes I and II. The novel has been rewritten in vertical columns (to suggest the idea of a page of a newspaper) on a draw in silver depicting emigrants (the “Miserable” of our time) leaving in search of a better life.

The Baron in the trees
© Ivan Cangelosi,  2013
155X140 cm
Ink on paper
Technique – Handwriting of the whole novel of Italo Calvino – Italian
Material – Pens and paper

About the novel –  written in 1957 by the Italian writer Italo Calvino, this novel is the second chapter of the trilogy “Our ancestors,” along with “The Cloven Viscount” and “The Nonexistent Knight.”

Cosimo Piovasco Rondo is the young protagonist of the story. Son of a noble family of Liguria, at the age of 12, after an argument with their parents for a plate of snails that the boy refuses to eat, he leaves the house and climbs a tree in the garden, swearing that for the rest of his life he would never put a foot on the ground again. And in fact he will keep his promise. He will spend his whole life jumping from tree to tree. He makes several acquaintances, becoming also friend of the gunman “Gian de Brughi”, and he devotes himself to the study of philosophy.

Although he gets old and tired by the years spent on the trees, Cosimo does not give up and does not get down to the ground, respecting his promise to the last. By the passage of a hot-air balloon, he grabs a rope hanging down from the balloon and disappears over the horizon. 

Description of the painting – In this painting, Cosimo sitting on a sturdy branch of a tree, absorbed in reading a book.