Galleria Extra Moenia – Arte Moderna
May 4 – June 14, 1997
Giuliana Dorazio, Director
Ken Noland, Contact
OBJECTS OF MAGIC AND ENCHANTMENT
Women Beyond Borders narrates in a succession of expressions, the most interesting aspects of female art produced today in Europe and beyond.
– Martina Corgnati, Art historian
Gallery Extra Moenia – Arte Moderna, located in a 15th C villa overlooking the hills of Umbria, was the site of the WBB exhibition in Italy. The exhibition brought together WBB participants from Rome, Perugia, and Florence. Anthropologist Dr. Cecilia Gatto Trocchi spoke in the gallery on her impressions of the exhibition. In Dr. Trocchi’s words, “A simple and extraordinary point of departure, fascinating and complex: give a little box to an artist in order to free her fantasy, creativity, the impulse to meet and talk.”
“WBB is an initiative of planetary dimensions, involving many varied cultures, bringing forth discussions over a cube of unfinished wood of reduced dimensions. The creations are dressed in images, desires, expectations, dreams, and illusions. The omens and symbolic content of the creations are revealed by each artist in an unambiguous way. The boxes encompass conceptual concerns, crafted objects, nostalgic thoughts, including jewel cases or safety boxes containing treasures or secrets which every woman jealously keeps. These powerful objects represent the spectrum of human experience, love, birth, relationship, courage, violence, power, and death– objects of magic and enchantment.”
Martina Corgnati, art historian from Milan, explains, “WBB narrates, in a succession of expressions, the most interesting aspects of feminine art produced today in different countries, Europe and beyond. Perhaps, to this day, only Cesare Zavattini has conceived of building an exhaustive and exacting collection in “small format,” obliging all the artists, therein, to remain within the measurements of 10×10 cm.”
In reality the challenge of WBB is full of psychological and poetic interest, pertaining to women, such as refinement, intimacy, care for detail, sensibility. It is not surprising to notice these qualities in all the participants selected for this show. The fact that each succeeded in achieving a personal, unmistakable stylistic imprint, even though working within a limited format, is surely remarkable. For example, Carla Accardi, has created a tiny chamber symphony in blues and reds for the exterior and interior surfaces of the support including marks and traces over all that are typically, undeniably Accardian, filling the space that, although minute, seems to open up to an unexpected and unpredictable vastness.
In antithesis to this is the work of another Italian artist who, must be mentioned immediately because of historical precedence. For Dadamaino, actually, the box is not an indifferent support. It is not simply a way like any other to scrawl marks on a concave and a convex surface. On the contrary, it is literally a container in which to place, at least nominally as the title reveals, The Ashes of the Occident, reflecting a strong ideological tinge, yet one that is not without poetry. That there then should be an actual meaning is not so important; what counts is the naming and defining of meaning, and in this Dadamaino recalls the procedure conceived by her friend Piero Manzoni. The container, however, the symbolic urn, is closed. Is there really someone who would touch the ashes?
The Gossip Box by Claudine Lapique and Al Cuore del Cuor by Lise Apatoff are realistic miniaturizations of imaginable full-scale stages- A theater in the real sense of the word, which brings to mind the intimate and glittering choreography of Fausto Melotti. Rich with narrative values, magical boxes from which a story might issue, resulting from the meaningful contrast between internal and external: the sober decoration or almost subdued banality outside; and the extremely detached, colorful, even glittering descriptive treatment inside.
With playful curiosity, a taste for discovery, and the preciousness of fragments, Angela Dorazio (Num Num), Ilse Girona (Fancy), and Maril Eustachio (L’occhio) were chosen to represent our country on this long journey. An unbearable pleasure in painting appears, especially in the works by Dorazio and Girona. A sensitivity to images, overlapping and entwining in multicolored knots, transforms the container in to an unexpected visual carillon. In general, a certain discrete and intelligent concern for painting emerges in the work of the Italian artists. A brief and very general look at this exhibition, which is truly beyond borders, offers an overall view of the creativity of women artists, and of their expressions of imagination and freedom.