MAMbo - Museum of Modern Art of Bologna


Self-portraits. Inscriptions of the Feminine in Contemporary Italian Art at MAMbo

Maria Lai, I racconti del lenzuolo, 1984. Sewn canvas, 170 x 300 cm. Courtesy Provincia di Sassari. Photo: Marco Ceraglia.

Self-portraits. Inscriptions of the Feminine in Contemporary Italian Art

12 May–1 September 2013

MAMbo – Museo d’Arte Moderna di Bologna
Via Don Minzoni 14
Bologna – Italy

T +39 051 6496611

www.mambo-bologna.org

MAMbo – Museo d’Arte Moderna di Bologna presents Self-portraits. Inscriptions of the Feminine in Contemporary Italian Art, a wide-ranging and multifaceted joint exhibition devoted to the relations between women and art in Italy over the last few decades.

The exhibition presents works by forty-three successful artists, all except one of them female, many of which were created for the occasion and are related to various thematic cores formulated by Emanuela De Cecco, Laura Iamurri, Arabella Natalini, Francesca Pasini, Maria Antonietta Trasforini and a team of members of the museum’s staff coordinated by Uliana Zanetti. These are accompanied by the encomium devoted to Maria Lai by Cristiana Collu and the curatorial intervention of Letizia Ragaglia. The a.titolo collective (Giorgina Bertolino, Francesca Comisso, Lisa Parola and Luisa Perlo) have overseen the realization of a work by Anna Scalfi Eghenter specially commissioned by the MAMbo as part of the Nuovi Committenti programme. The overall formulation of the project has also drawn on theoretical contributions from Federica Timeto.

The show includes works by Alessandra Andrini, Paola Anziché, Marion Baruch, Valentina Berardinone, Enrica Borghi, Anna Valeria Borsari, Chiara Camoni, Alice Cattaneo, Annalisa Cattani, Daniela Comani, Daniela De Lorenzo, Marta Dell’Angelo, Elisabetta Di Maggio, Silvia Giambrone, goldiechiari, Alice Guareschi, Maria Lai, Christiane Löhr, Claudia Losi, Anna Maria Maiolino, Eva Marisaldi, Sabrina Mezzaqui, Marzia Migliora, Ottonella Mocellin and Nicola Pellegrini, Maria Morganti, Margherita Morgantin, Liliana Moro, Chiara Pergola, Letizia Renzini, Moira Ricci, Mili Romano, Anna Rossi, Anna Scalfi Eghenter, Elisa Sighicelli, Alessandra Spranzi, Grazia Toderi, Sabrina Torelli, Traslochi Emotivi, Tatiana Trouvé, Marcella Vanzo and Grazia Varisco.

Self-portraits is a project that has emerged out of a critical review of the MAMbo’s collections of contemporary art aimed at throwing light on the connections between art and politics in Italy over the last few decades. The proposal to focus the reflection on the relations between women and art has brought together a group of members of the museum’s staff (which is made up almost entirely of women) and has led to a series of possible developments. From the point of view of the exhibition the initial idea envisaged material interventions in the museum’s permanent display, with non-invasive intrusions that would serve as inscriptions, that would assert a difference with regard to the scheme of an already established narration. Thanks to the expansion of the project as a result of discussions with female artists, curators, museum directors, critics and scholars, the initial hypothesis was transformed into the possibility of staging a major exhibition, with the aim of calling attention to the need to identify new tools of analysis and narration in order for us to become fully conscious of the richness of the female contributions and positions that nourish the vitality of today’s art, in the awareness that connotations of gender are a far from marginal factor in shaping the social and symbolic dynamics that characterise its presence on the public stage.

Self-portraits does not constitute an exhaustive survey of female art in Italy or a celebration of women’s genius, nor is it an attempt to define any specific characteristic of gender. Rather it sets out to show the difference through a multiplicity of positions and practices.

The constant reference to the culture of difference has left its mark on the methodology of the work group, which has taken from feminism the propensity to carry out a continual self-reflective questioning, assigning importance to women’s mutual recognition, to a collective approach that starts out from the self and to the choice of the notions of desire and care as decisive horizons of political activity.

During the development of the project, for some time left without a title, numerous analogies of method progressively emerged with the reflections of a leading figure in militant Italian feminism (as well as in art criticism, although she chose to move away from it): Carla Lonzi. Her Autoritratto, published in 1969, was to supply the first part of the title. To this was added another quotation, in homage to Griselda Pollock and her Differencing the Canon. Feminist Desire and the Writing of Art’s Histories (1999).

 

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