bis 26.08. | #3864ARTatBerlin | ChertLüdde presents from 28. April 2023 the exhibition Handmade Militancy by artist Clemen Parrocchetti.
Handmade Militancy presents largely unknown works by Clemen Parrocchetti (1923-2016, Milan), created during the hottest years of Italian feminism in the 1970s. Parrocchetti found her visual grammar in the materials of domestic labour – needles, bobbins, lace, cooking utensils, medicines, textiles – which were transformed into subversive tools of denunciation and protest. Parrocchetti’s work speaks to women’s struggles for equal pay, divorce laws and the right to abortion, issues that remain at the heart of political debate after almost half a century. Handmade Militancy, the first exhibition of Parrocchetti’s work outside Italy since her death, includes tapestries, assemblages, sewn drawings, a video and archival material collected by the artist during her militant years.
Parrocchetti was educated at Milan’s Brera Academy of Art while she was already the mother of five children. From the early 1970s, Parrocchetti expressed her burgeoning feminist voice in works she called “objects of feminine culture”, which she exhibited in alternative art spaces in Milan. In 1978, she joined the feminist Gruppo Immagine in Varese, which pioneered the combination of art and feminist militancy, and participated with them in the 1978 Venice Biennale. While the group disbanded in the mid-1980s, Parrocchetti pursued a feminist ethos in her artistic work for over five decades.
The works on display dispense with the conventional picture frame and criticise and contest the subjugation and objectification of women within the confines of domesticity. The manifesto Memorandum for an Object of Female Culture (1973) shows rebellious words made of red thread painstakingly sewn onto a sheet of aluminium, for the “still sub-proletarian” woman “pincushion/mattress/object”. With the handmade tapestries, Parrocchetti follows her call to resist subjugation and invoke women’s liberation. The title of each work (which still resonates today) is a protest slogan: “Chastity Belt (Beware of Commercialisation)”, “Arrested and Oppressed”, “Dreaming of Gender Equality” and “Hope for Liberation after Resistance”.
The exhibition is curated by Sofia Gotti and Caterina Iaquinta and could be realised thanks to the collaboration with the Clemen Parrocchetti Archive.
Born into a noble Lombard family, Clemen Parrocchetti (1923-2016, Milan) received her training in painting at the Brera Academy, from which she graduated in 1956. In the 1960s, her painting style changed from an existentialist realism to an abstract and surreal language. While participating in the feminist dynamic of the early 1970s, her artistic practice underwent a radical change when she began to use textiles and small household objects in her early assemblages, but especially with the introduction of embroidery. In 1978 she joined Gruppo Immagine in Varese, with whom she participated in the 1978 Venice Biennale – a collaboration that lasted for most of the 1980s. In the 1980s she deepened her exploration of textiles and embroidery, exploring the themes of classical mythology with a sensitivity to the changing body. In her final decade, Parrocchetti focused on the animal world and her relationship with it, which she captured in numerous drawings and paintings.
Dr Sofia Gotti is a Newton Trust/Leverhulme Early Career Fellow in the Department of Art History and a Teaching Assistant at the Centre for Latin American Studies at the University of Cambridge. She also works as a curator specialising in modern and contemporary art with a focus on politics, feminism and decoloniality in Latin America and the Global South.
Dr Caterina Iaquinta holds a PhD in contemporary art history from the Catholic University of Milan, with a focus on the analysis of time-based art practices within feminist and gender studies. Her work has been published in numerous journals and books. She has been a professor of modern and contemporary art history at NABA since 2012.
Opening: Friday 28 April 2023, from 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Exhibition dates: Friday, 28 April 2023 until Monday, 26 August 2023Zur Galerie
Bildunterschrift Titel: Clemen Parrocchetti,Per la vita, sempre/ For life, always!, 1977; Embroidered Juta tapestry; 195 × 126 cm
Exhibition Clemen Parrocchetti – ChertLüdde | Zeitgenössische Kunst in Berlin | Contemporary Art | Ausstellungen Berlin Galerien | ART at Berlin