A.I.A.S. Exhibition and Congress - 2017 Edition


October, 7th - 8th 2017

National Suiseki Exhibition

Arese Borromeo Palace - Cesano Maderno
XX A.I.A.S. National Convention 2017 Edition


Article by Mrs.Daniela Schifano - Photos by Mr. Carlo Laghi - English translation by Miss. Claudia Alberghini

Photo Gallery Awarded Stones(requires Flash Player)                
Photo Gallery Other Stones(requires Flash Player)                

This year, the A.I.A.S. has celebrated an important goal: twenty years together, made of meetings, friendships, stones and, unfortunately, goodbyes too. It is probably for this reason, that our president Mrs. Luciana Queirolo, one of the nine Founding Shareholders, felt the burden of these twenty years together, while recalling with great emotion those who are not with us anymore: the founding shareholder Mr. Angelo Attinà and those who have been friends and honor guests, Mr. Willi Benz and Mr. Felix Rivera. Thus, the presence of Mrs. Gudrun Benz as honor guest, relator and judge is not casual at all, being she the wife of our dear departed Willi Benz, who often presided over our Conventions. Mrs. Gudrun’s is an important presence, not only for her undisputed competence in the art of suiseki and her international participation as ESA, BCI and NSA member, but above all as a message to "go ahead remembering and being remembered" too.

It could seem casual, however, listening to Luciana reading Felix Rivera’s 2013 letter about his ALS diagnosis during the Shareholders Meeting, we can find words underlining this concept and conveying the meaning of our twenty year anniversary: “I do not concentrate on the future but on the present, and I love looking at the suisekis that bond me to you, do not be sad but look forward”. Behind, not to forget the covered path as it is our passion’s value added; but above all ahead, because “walking implies that with each step both the world changes in some of its aspects, and something inside us changes too”. This year, the renovation request manifested itself also during two salient moments: the corporate bodies’ elections and the Shareholders Meeting, the body in which the social will takes shape and expresses itself.


This year, the venue hosting our stones was particularly prestigious: the Arese Borromeo Palace in Cesano Maderno, is an ancient seventeenth-century dwell, which received a new lease on life following many years of neglect, thanks to the Municipal Administration’s acquisition, which opened it to the public to host exhibitions and to provide spaces to the San Raffaele University.
The hosting club Bonsai do Groane has done all the rest, providing us with great impact set-ups, both for dimensions and quantity, strong hospitality, kindness and availability. A special thank goes to its president, Mr. Claudio Triacchini, to the Shareholders and all the people who have worked to the set-ups, and to the Municipal Administration members, who have supported this project and brought suisekis inside the wonderful baroque halls of the Palace.
Furthermore, we would like to thank our shareholder Mr. Ezio Piovanelli, member of the organizing club, who was the promotor of this project.

 The Palace’s facade, simple and rigorous, characterized by an articulated volume distribution on different levels, and by the presence of the octagonal plant tower.   The elegant and light Loggia at the first floor, unique in Lombardia

The Italian Garden


Some pictures of the noble floor with its wonderful frescoed halls.
  On the left, one of the frescos of the so-called "Stanza del Castello" located on the noble floor, named after one of the four paintings. The 1660 painting represents Milan’s Castello Sforzesco aspect during the Spanish domination.
Some of the exhibition’s rooms: the man’s greatness houses nature’s greatness.
    The welcoming tokonoma, set up by the Suiseki do Groane School    
Some figures: 68 exposed stones by 45 shareholders, of which 29 Landscape Stones, 17 Object Stones, 7 Shelves, 8 Stones to Admire and 7 Biseki Stones/Pattern Stones. Each single exhibition space was long 180 cm and it gave the possibility to the participants to choose whether to expose only one stone, maybe with the appropriate kakejiku, or two of them.
Out of the 68 displayed stones, 6 of them were out of competition: the Shareholders can choose this possibility to be able to re-present and show again some previously A.I.A.S. awarded stones, which, per regulation, cannot take part to the subsequent Conventions. The out of competition exhibition permits to include the stone in the prestigious Catalogue. Thus, from the past, there were two out of competitions pieces by Mr. Carlo Laghi.
"Canne al vento" (“Canes in the wind”), drawn stone awarded in the Biseki category in 2004 in Parabiago.
"La via dell'acqua" (“Water’s path”), multiple exposition awarded in 2008 in Alberobello.

The inauguration took place in the presence of the Major Mr. Maurilio Ildefonso Longhin, of the City Councillor for Culture Mrs. Silvia Boldrini and of the Bonsai Club do Groane's President Mr. Claudio Triacchini. The speech of the judge Mrs. Gudrun Benz was meant to underline the joy of meeting again with A.I.A.S. members and to anticipate the judgement parameters she always uses: great exposition attention, and suiseki’s quality.

From the left, the City Councillor for Culture Mrs. Silvia Boldrini, the Bonsai Club do Groane President Mr.Claudio Triacchini and the Major Mr. Maurilio Ildefonso Longhin.
With Mrs. Luciana Queirolo
and Mrs. Gudrun Benz


The Shareholders listening to


Following, there has been the meeting with Mr. Massimo Bandera dedicated to the in-depth analysis of the Japanese aesthetic values. The first step is to build up the aesthetic sensibility. The Keido school is the most famous and refined school in Japan. It has theorized not only the classical tokonoma exposition, but also a more creative one, as the one set up by Massimo, in which a stone found in our Po river is paired with a very long Chinese scroll of profound meaning, which could not be hanged in the traditional way due to its measures. On the contrary, if laid out on the table, it is possible to better appreciate its characteristics, while lessening its optical weight. At the same time, leaving the stone background clear increases the sensation of emptiness. The scroll represents the history of the Eight Immortals, the Chinese mythology legendary creatures. The path always originates from the study, starting from the rules up to a freer personal artistic expression, until we will reach the point in which we will be ready to express our personal aesthetic taste in an exhibition.

The scroll begins from the right with the welcoming sentence "Immortals greet you" which represents a good wish for the Convention participants.

On Saturday afternoon, Mrs. Gudrun Benz’s lecture took place. She showed the images of numerous Chinese and Japanese stones, giving space to two of the most important 2017 events: the Nippon Suiseki Association exhibition in Tokyo and the World Bonsai Convention that took place last April in Saitama, Japan.

The projection showed two worlds only apparently distant, as they are connected by the wonderful and infinite variety of forms and materials that Nature provides us with.

During the gala dinner, took place the award ceremony and the amusing lottery, in which the Shareholders raffle some object from their collections for the luckiest ones. In addition to the prestigious Trophy and the A.I.A.S. chategory prizes, we have appointed also the I.B.S. prize, the Patronage U.B.I. plate and the B.C.I. Excellence Award for Suiseki, according to the judgement of the I.B.S. instructor Mr. Ezio Piovanelli, of the delegate U.B.I. instructor Mrs.Luciana Queirolo and of the B.C.I. Directors Mrs.Gudrun Benz and Mr. Massimo Bandera.  Here below some pictures of the undoubtedly pleased awarded participants.

 Mrs. Gudrun Benz awards Claudio Villa for his A.I.A.S. Trophy winning stone.

  Mr. Carlo Laghi receives the Best Lanscape Stone Award on behalf of Mr. Attilio Valdifiori

  Mr. Renzo Perfumo receives the Best Object Stone Award
The Best Multiple Expositor Award goes
to Mr. Claudio Nuti

  Mr. Sergio Bassi receives the Prize
for the Best Stone to Admire
  The First Biseki Stones/Pattern Stones Prize goes to Mr. Giuseppe De Vita

Mr. Cesare Fumagalli goes back for seconds: his landscape stone receives the U.B.I. Plate from the judge Mrs. Luciana Queirolo and the Excellence Award for Suiseki
from judges Mrs.Gudrun Benz and Mr.Massimo Bandera.

  Mr. Ulisse Maccaferri receives the IBS Award, judge Mr. Ezio Piovanelli


On Sunday morning, we listened to Gudrun Benz’s comments, as she wanted to motivate her judgement about the awarded stones. Furthermore, she has also offered to share her opinion with the participants who asked her a feedback on their stones. In fact, in order to improve, it is very important to learn too.
  Thanks to Mr. Vito Di Venere’s simultaneous translation, Mrs. Gudrun has commented in detail the quality of the stone and, in particular, of the exposition, which is very important to her. The appropriate painting has to be in harmony with the season, its position has to be correct: there has to be a right use of the accompanying element and one must pay attention to its proportions respect to the stone and the exhibition space.
To this regard, she specified: "it must not be too far away from the table, to give continuity to the story they tell together".


The polls took place in the early afternoon followed by the votes count performed by the Electoral Commission constituted by Prudentino, Del Fico and Vanni. The voting Shareholders (40 present plus 9 proxies) have re-elected almost unanimously Mrs. Luciana Queirolo as President.  The A.I.A.S. Directive Council has been elected too: let us welcome the two new Counselors, Mrs. Laura Monni and Mr. Lorenzo Sonzini, who, together with, Maccaferri, Schifano and Scafuri compose the new Directive Council. At the same time, the A.I.A.S. would like to thank the outgoing Counselor Mr. Marino Nikpal, for his long contribution at the Association’s service. Last but not least, the newly-appointed Directive Council, chaired by Luciana Queirolo has assigned the following social offices: Lorenzo Sonzini Vice-president, Ulisse Maccaferri Treasury e Daniela Schifano Secretary. To all of you we wish good luck with your job!

The polls
The Shareholders Assemly has reaffirmed the will of the majority to diminish the prizes. After an intense debate, the Assembly has voted to maintain the A.I.A.S. Trophy and the Category First Prize, adding three Honorable Mentions, to be chosen among all the stones.

The 2018 Convention will be very important because we will face an important maturity proof. The location will be in Florence, the friends of the ATABS Club in Florence will be the hosts, the venue… a glass and cast iron lace - the wonderful Tepidarium Roster. The dates will be the 13th and the 14th of October and the judge our friend Thomas Elias: we are already looking forward to improving and growing wiser together.

 Mrs. Daniela Schifano

I do conclude with a right and proper bow... the classical recognition to the A.I.A.S. 2017 Trophy awarded stone, assigned to an Italian landscape presented by the shareholder Mr. Claudio Villa.

A.I.A.S. 2017 Trophy

"The dark side of the mountain"

Landscape Stone

of  Mr. Claudio Villa

 The suiseki who obtained the prizes for Category and UBI and IBS awards were:
"Landscape Stones" Category

1° prize to

Mr. Attilio Valdifiori

"Clear night"

Italy (Liguria)

2° prize to

Mr. Primangelo Pondini


Italy (Liguria)

3° prize to

Mrs.  Luciana Queirolo

"Help me to tackle the climb.
Dedicated to a friend"

Italy (Liguria)

"Shelves" Category

prize to

Mr. Claudio Nuti

"From the creek to the ocean"

Itay (Tuscany, Liguria)

prize to

Mrs. Daniela Schifano
"On Biwa Lake, in the autumn"

3° prize to

Mrs. Laura Segna

 Without name


"Object Stones" Category

prize to

Mr. Renzo Perfumo

Without name


prize to

Mr. Marino Nikpal
"I listen to you"


3° prize to

Mr. Umberto Ziniti

"Passing the pathway of the truth"


"Biseki, Pattern Stones, Color Stones" Category

prize to

Mr. Giuseppe De Vita

"La magia della pietra insolita"

Italy (Tuscany)

prize to

Mr. Amedeo Ducoli
"Black hole"

Italy (Liguria)

3° prize to
Mr. Ettore Gardini

"I colori profumano l'autunno"


"Stones to admire" Category

prize to

Mr. Sergio Bassi
"L'urlo del vento"

Unknown origin

prize to

Mr. Carlo Vanni

 Without name
Italy (Tuscany)

 3° prize to
Mrs. Daniela Schifano
Japan (Hokkaido)
Judges : BCI Directors Mrs. Gudrun Benz and Mr. Massimo Bandera

 Mr. Cesare Fumagalli

"Landscape Stones" Category

Italy (Lombardia)

"I.B.S. Plaque" Award
Judge : I.B.S. Istructor Mr. Ezio Piovanelli

 Mr. Ulisse Maccaferri

"Landscape Stones" Category


"U.B.I. Plaque" Award
Judge : U.B.I. Istructor Mrs. Luciana Queirolo

Mr. Cesare Fumagalli

"Landscape Stones" Category

Italy (Lombardia)