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Libro opera: RHUMA Eritis
testi critici di
L. Vergine, E. Fiorani, L. Giudici, G. Longoni, R. Moratto
e uno scritto dell’artista.
Testo italiano/inglese, pag. 96, Riproduzione di 212
riquadri, con relative informazioni in appendice, cm
22 x 22
Silvana Editoriale Milano 2007. (€ 20,00 + spedizione).
Maybe “RHUMA” is
a nightmare but you cannot wake up. And you are not supposed
Delicate and subdued creature to whom it seems that a way
of concrete way of existence has been denied.
Libera Mazzoleni carries out her experiences with a determination
that reminds us of the violence of the meek. She addresses
everyone, even simple people who have proved their love
of the world of images: especially in this most recent
work “ Rhuma eritis Sicut Dei” (2004/2005)
made from two hundred and sixty squares of different fabrics
across which runs a text in acrylic paint.
Here we have a geography of horror, of the misdeeds of
war, of the crushing and excluding forces. A set of answers
to themes and arguments that are brought to our consciousness
through the field of politics.
Mazzoleni condemns and puts on display clues and proof
of the cruelty of real experience. She unfolds an intelligent
and sorrowful denunciation of human madness, of how horrendous
someone who is dangerous to himself and to others can be.
She does it like a preacher who knows how to use rhetorical
figures to full effect.
On the painting we read the words: “Scorpion – Atlantic
21.5.68, Chernobyl – 26.4.86, Dubrovka Theater -
Moscow 23.10.02, Genpatsu-Gypsies-Mihama Japan 9.8.04”;
all intense references, exemplary in their atrocity.
With great simplicity of means, Mazzoleni strikes out at
false ideologies and, especially, at pharisee-like indignation.
She sees the sign, drawing and color beyond all limitations
and this allows her to reaffirm the natural bond between
painting and civil protest. But it also permits her to
achieve an integration of her visual creativity with the
complexity of historical testimony. Thus she restores to
the painter’s role that density of allusions that
emphasize how his/her vocabulary is important not only
for what it affirms but also for what it denies.
IN THE NAME OF RHUMA: Libera
The broken life of little Rhuma, a four-year-old Afghan girl victim
of organ trafficking, is remembered in the title of Libera Mazzoleni's
most recent work in progress: Rhuma, Eritis sicut Dei 2004-2005.
The artwork is made up of 260 squares of colored fabric on which
she has written the names and dates of the tragic events that marked
the twentieth century.Writing has always been present in Libera
Mazzoleni's art; she uses it in its double quality as drawing and
sign, as form and communication. This choice has to do with the
body; it comes from the making and observation of handprints, from
the moment one leaves a sign of oneself. It doesn't originate from
words themselves but from visual experience. It inhabits the multidimensional
expansive quality of space. At the same time it recalls the rhythmic
verbal motility while it is, in itself, rhythm, a pure pulsing
that settles and becomes incarnate through signs. It is a trace,
no different than the impressions left by the things and bodies
- such as the hand and footprints - that have been found in prehistoric
sanctuary-grottos. Even today these signs fascinate us through
their polysemy and abstraction; they are pure gazes which Man turns
on himself. In Rhuma the typographical lettering and use of capitals
is characterized by an aseptic, cold appearance; thus the writing
underlines the irrevocability and enormity of events which can
only begin to be told in the silence of marks and in the language
of color. The subdued, congealed, concentrated way of saying something
enclosed in a name and a date is all that is left of countless
broken lives, of shattered relations and of the whole set of events
that changed, and are still changing, our life and the life of
the world. Thus Hiroshima and Chernobyl, genocide in Ruwanda and
the collapse of the Twin Towers are placed alongside small lives
like Rhuma's and all the others who have not yet found a name and
a date except in the hearts and memory of those who loved them.
Pure names and dates are given a form via a gesture. For precisely
this reason they spread across the surface giving a deeper significance
to words, once more affirming its own apotropaic value/quality,
interrogating the names and their ability to evoke and narrate.
The names are written in acrylic paint on squares of fabric that
the artist has collected on her travels or found in her home. She
has carefully cut the canvas, cotton, silk, and linen to make them
into material, a skin on which to inscribe her work. Poor and precious
textiles are placed one next to the other, each one with its different
colors and patterns, with its history and culture concentrated
in its own being. With the writings they become a kind of loculus,
to form a wall that recalls the Wall of Tears in Jerusalem or the
Holocaust Memorial in Libeskind's Hebrew Museum in Berlin. But
they are also banners and signs which do not possess the presumption
of stone but rather the grace of the ephemeral and the feminine.
In fact fabrics are the "most human" materials, the ones
most similar to the female side of Mankind, because they share
the fragility and character of beings in their own time which aren't
made to last. They are the materials that are closest, bodily,
to Man who dresses in them as if they were a second colored, patterned
and decorated skin with many tactile values. They are the first
dress that greets the child into his community and they are the
shroud that accompanies us after death. They divide daily life
from the time of celebrations, the rituality of the sacred from
the representation of reality. They belong to the female realm
while also being the visible aspect of the values and dreams of
In this way Rhuma recounts the last century, pointing out its wounds
(all open) as well as the atrocities to which it has never been
called to account; the artwork catalogues the stories not only
to keep them alive but also to open another gaze on us and on the
world. An unveiling, it calls each one of us personally to face
our responsibilities/ to act. It outlines a new geography, one
that has slipped through the holes in the net, beyond the enticing
curtain of mass-media communications.In the intricate contemporary
view of things Rhuma is also a way of rethinking artistic creativity;
the relationship between artwork and reality has changed through
operations conceived to interact with a certain context (sometimes
even involving the public, building narrations through dialogue)
and through art’s critical position - or inner ethical need
- to speak out. (Duchamp introduced this with his deconstructions
in which the ready-made, rather than build art, pointed its finger
at the ever closer and unmediated relationship between art and
reality or life). In Libera Mazzoleni's work this rethinking re-posits
the value of art as a civic passion, as a "poiesis",
a doing-speaking that recovers the being and the meaning of things.
A subdued speech, made more of silence than of cries, that testifies
in the first person; a speech of pietas (pity) for the pain, the
nearness and sensitivity to the victims' world. Thus the pinks,
reds, greens, yellows and light blues which recur throughout the
squares to the west progressively leave space to the browns and
blacks to the east of violence towards women, underlining the darker
and more twisted side of history and the human soul.
HAVE A DREAM…
218 squares of fabric -- each one different in color and content,
and yet so damned similar in shape and meaning – recite their
long and melancholy rosary: Shuttle, Cape Canaveral 28.2.1986;
Sarno, Avellino 5.5.1998; Pluto, Cuba 17.4.1961; Pepe, Argentina
29.1.1979; Sharm El Sheik, Egypt 22.7.2005….
In an endless litany they string together, one after another, the
names of cities, countries and places in the world only to be followed,
in an imperative and irrevocable manner, by a tragic divinatory
cabala, cold series of numbers: the days of a time past whose traces,
in spite of the terrible events that occurred, wind up getting
lost in the meanders of memory.
Each one of these textile squares is a group epitaph of men and
women who are no longer. Thousands of lives swept away, not so
much and not only, by sudden natural catastrophes, by unforeseeable
and unfortunate accidents, but especially by human stupidity and
cruelty: the primary motives responsible for all this ruination.
Each one of these cloth pieces which we imagine have caught, metaphorically,
the hot tears of mourning, has become a sign on an oppressive calendar,
on a bulletin which, for Libera Mazzoleni, is the representation
of Rhuma, of the true face of the Western World.
In any case it is as if the pieces possessed a dual nature. On
one hand, the stiff lettering, set down with characters used in
military dispatches, list – and thus coldly and unbearably
summarize one after another – events which sometimes no longer
have limitations or names that inevitably remain without faces.
But in their humble and concise enunciation these become a heavy
weight, they are the heralds of lugubrious tidings. On the other
hand their Harlequin-like checkered pattern speaks of life, not
death, and leads to dreams, to searching for a way out, to hoping
for a better world. This is not a wall of tears but a collage of
emotions, not an end but a beginning. “I have a dream,” writes
Libera, on the book flap.
It is neither rhetoric nor nihilism, but rather a lucid investigation
that has always led Libera Mazzoleni to pay particular attention
to a certain education via art, to believe in a work that relays
messages and values to the collectivity; her work takes upon itself
the complexity of real experience, the wealth of thought that comes
from the certainty that life is not prevarication but dialogue,
not violence but freedom (a destiny marked also in its name!).
Those 2209 square centimeters of cloth (this is the dimension of
each panel) want to make us more aware of the world’s evils
but also strive to weave a conversation with our consciences. Especially
that brightly colored puzzle of memories aspires to render a new
level of respect for life, through death. It is from the recognition
of the importance of existence that good is born and, as Foscolo
teaches, from the memory and devotion to the dead that one understands
the maturity, the greatness and the future of a civilization.
MEETING RHUMA IN THE EMPATHETIC SILENCE OF LISTENING
“The Hell is empty, all the devils
are up in the world.”
W. Shakespeare, The Tempest
“What is much more worrying is that
we are not yet
capable of arriving, through meditative thought,
at an adequate comparison with what is in reality
emerging in our era.”
M. Heidegger, L’abbandono
“Rhuma”: painful mosaic, fragile in the lightness of
the fabrics that compose it; a tragic map of devastated places, of
terrible times, of existences among ruins; topography of a world
where death ceaselessly repeats its cold annihilating gesture….
An essential language, almost miserly, made up of only names and
dates, marks the individual inlay tiles; it arranges them like the
titles of a long and difficult story evoking the folly of hubris
of those who, wanting to “live beyond the proper time and measure,
lose their minds” (Sophocles) and fall into the most ruinous
“Rhuma” breaks down the wall of indifference which keeps
us insensible in the face of the infinite pain which is brought into
the world by devilish temptations of omnipotence. It denounces the
paralyzing apathy derived from a thought pattern of conformism, incapable
of empathy, which condemns whole populations to the condition of “superfluous
beings”, denying their belonging to human society.
“Rhuma” tells the unspeakable about the nihilistic passion
which ravages the earth, making it into a threatening and unlivable
place; it speaks of the absurdity of wars, of bodies dissolved by
the phosphorous of “intelligent bombs”, bodies offended
and deformed by torture, devastated by rape, contaminated by radiation
and condemned to slow throes of death, living bodies reduced to assemblages
of organs to be extracted and sold; it tells of the crimes against
humanity carried out in the name of whoever has the most power as
well as of genocides repeated but always denied, of mass graves,
ethnic cleansing, hatred that divides people in the name of blood,
identity, values, religions, cultures.
Libera Mazzoleni remembers and writes a history that brings the offended
human subject back to a central position; a history that captures
mute suffering as seen in the gaze of the dying other, vulnerability
as it is cried out from the wounds inflicted on the flesh of her
living body as well as in the mind which vacillates under such desperation.
A woman’s eyes opened wide on the world, a nomad gaze that
doesn’t linger on the shining surface of things destined to
be consumed but is always on the move, traversing the darkness that
envelops calculation and creates a “world-machine” to
infinitely manipulate mankind.
Libera Mazzoleni, a woman, an artist,
composes her mosaic within a circle of empathy, that is she allows
herself to see and to hear the other, to take the other upon herself,
restoring a voice and dignity, participating emotionally in history,
in the awareness that living means “being in relation.”
Her work gives visibility to the dark side of Cartesian reasoning
which takes bodies to be without anima, thereby an anonymous set
of organs and apparatuses; she recalls the fragility and vulnerability
of the body which, as a “living body”, is always with
us, presenting us to the world as incarnate subjects which are traversed
by strong emotions and deep passions.
This is the rediscovery which suggests gestures of empathy such as
solicitude, care, respect for the fragility that characterizes human
beings as well as for what has been entrusted to us, living.
Edith Stein said: ”The world in which I live is not only a
world of physical bodies: in it there are, apart from me, subjects
that live and I know about this life (...A) psychophysical individual
(...) is clearly different from a physical thing: it doesn’t
present itself as a physical body but as a living, sensitive being
that possesses an ego, an ego that receives, feels, wants; its living
body is not only a part of my phenomenological world but is the very
orientation center of some phenomenological world, it stands in front
of it and enters with me in a relationship of reciprocity.”
Aesthetics and empathy share their mutual roots in “feeling” and
this reminds us of the “perceptive body”, of the “living
body”, always in contact with others who announce themselves
in the expression of a face which always bears signs of the life
Libera Mazzoleni, following this sense of aesthetics, takes her artistic
creation into the heart of the world inhabited by men and women “in
flesh and blood”; she deconstructs the mad narrations told
by those who call war “humanitarian responsibility”,
civilian dead “collateral effects”, environmental disasters “the
price of progress”; she shows up the cracks, the scraps, the
fractures and she does so without rhetoric.
She uses the essential vocabulary of colors, brightening or darkening;
she exposes the nudity of names and dates drawn in the fragments
of simple textiles, juxtaposed to form a different syntax able to
suggest new connections of meaning between events.
In the absorbed silence of someone who is listening, in that silence
which belongs to meditating thought, the artist, “re-remembers” the
vulnerability and precarious quality of human existence; she dreams
of and asks for a new beginning when men and women, who walk together
on the same earth and share the same fragile destiny, can reciprocally
recognize each other and learn to take care of everything that has
been placed in their care, living.
AMONG THE WRINKLES OF REPRESSED
Two-hundred and eighty colored cloths cover a wall, like a composite
and variegated tapestry: Harlequin-type combinations of different
kinds of fabric, from precious brocades to jute sackcloth, displayed
like the textiles in an Eastern market.
The apparent sense of reassuring lightness that one receives at first
glance is contradicted by the reading of the names, numbers, and
dates printed on each fabric border. An extremely long sequence that
recalls the horrors of our recent past. Thus the cloths become tombstones
and the polychrome wall a cemetery: as bare, precarious and rotten
as the cloth making up the samples.
Human poverty and violence flow before our eyes, a long list that
evokes necropoli and celebratory monuments but without any of that
impressive sacrality that sets these mournful places apart: Rhuma
is an ephemeral and nomadic memento mori, unfortunately undergoing
constant revision. It is an historical inventory in which the facts
are rigorously represented by a name and date and by a number that
allows us to look up an explanatory caption that succinctly describes
Rhuma is a troublesome work: the multicolored whole seems at first
sight to delight us but then leaves us faint, to contemplate either
collective or individual disaster, it matters little. Every formal
element is essential and functional to the expression of content.
The inscriptions were stenciled on and one can sometimes find traces
of this on the cloth. The lack of a search for perfection in the
artwork’s realization is hardly casual but formally translates
into the absence of value attributed by our society to everything
that cannot be transformed into immediate profit.
It is a simple iconography, a sign left on an abandoned place that
bears witness to an event or commemorates a person: memories that
are as fragile and perishable as the existences named in the epigraphs;
names that are cut and dry and, for this reason, are all the more
In the inflation of images in our world where daily transmitted violence
is by now almost invisible, filtered out by our bombarded perception,
Libera Mazzoleni chooses not to show but simply to write the abuses
of power, the brutality and exploitation perpetrated on men, women,
children, society, environment. A direct denunciation, with no punches
pulled, using these pieces of cloth. Cloth is an ordinary, domestic
material, tied to the female domain as it is tied to daily life:
clothing, sheets, kerchiefs, flags, shrouds but also tents, refuges,
homes and also involucra, sacks, suitcases. These are not textiles
that have been woven and decorated for the occasion but rather recycled
samples: the waste produced by a society (of which we are a part
and of which we are co-responsible) which, with its insane practice
of conquest and exploitation, leaves only garbage in its wake.
In this way, by picking up the leftovers, Libera Mazzoleni leaves
a sign, a discrete testimony that declares the need to take a critical
position with regards to what is existing now, as well as the will
to give a social and political value back to art. A choice that the
artist has been carrying forward for years, together with her active
militancy in the association “Donne in Nero” (Women in
Black), an international network against wars.
Rhuma is a work-in-progress that began in 2004, a survey from the
last century down to our current time and beyond: wars, massacres,
ecological disasters , violence against people, thefts and pillage,
mass repressions, deportations, avoidable accidents and ridiculous
projects that herald imminent, future catastrophes. The artwork’s
title refers to one among many episodes, but a particularly hateful
one, and for this reason it has been chosen as the emblem of this
tragic catalogue of events. It is the name of an Afghan girl, only
four years old, who fell victim to the black market trading of organs;
she was killed to provide body parts for other humans.
Any other comment is superfluous, all that is left is space for thought
and this is what makes Rhuma an example of a social art, with neither
rhetoric nor self-congratulation, urgent and relevant now more than
Uneasiness that originates from
pressing questions that have no answers.
Once the purely formal elements of artistic language fascinated
me, the course of a line, the tension of a development, its relationship
to color. It seemed to me that, in some way, these elements expressed
something about the unexplainable happening of existence. I was moved
by works which, with poetic simplicity and instinctive immediacy,
revealed their relationship with their author’s inner life.
I have always feared my own inner life and never dared gaze into
the abyss where dreams are submerged. I preferred to look outside
myself, in the outer space, cadenced by the happening of events and
lit by the brilliant light of day.
Then that “outside”, so invasive and noisy, became recollection,
memory, intimate space; it wound up moving together with dreams into
the boundless territory of inner life. Thus images, forms, colors,
dreams became a pause in the uneasiness that originates from pressing
questions that have no answers. Perhaps because modern man doesn’t
want to have anything more to do with wonder, with the depth of secrets
which throng along the thin line separating light from shadow, good
from evil …to construct his identity he no longer needs to
look to the stars, he prefers to amuse himself with infernal toys
dominated by numbers and is seemingly content with exercising his
power to destroy.
“…we sleep, indeed we sleep for fear of having to perceive
the world around us … on one hand, inner life without conscience,
dream …on the other, functionality, utilitarianism, pat phrases,
so much violence.” (1)
War is not only the natural consequence of a market economy, it is
also the most well-suited tool for carrying out the obliteration
And so, what does art have to do with this? What for?
“By now, in this current state of affairs, we have, by dint
of pressing consent, reached the point that Hermann Broch stigmatized
with an irate phrase. No matter how you consider it, we have come
to this point. ‘Morality is moral, business is business, war
is war and art is art.’ ”
If we tolerate this, if we accept – pars pro toto – the
formula : “Art is art” and its derisory tone … then
that means we are declaring our failure …”(1)
(Ingeborg Bachmann: Domande e pseudodomande in “Letteratura
come utopia” Lezioni di Francoforte, Questions and pseudoquestions
in Literature as Utopia, Adelphi 1993)
To Gaia Cianfanelli and Silvia
Litardi in Reply to their Questionnaire
Gaia Cianfanelli and Silvia Litardi (Associazione Start), curators
of the collective exhibition Dissertare/Disertare Write:
So... "Turn every
meaning upside down, back to front. Radically shake up meaning, take
it back, put back into it those convulsions suffered by her 'body'
which remains powerless to say what disturbs it. Moreover insist,
and deliberately, on those voids of discourse that recall the places
of her exclusion, white spaces which with their silent plasticity
ensure the cohesion, the articulation and the coherent expansion
of established forms.[...] Upset the syntax."
This passage is taken from "Speculum L'altra Donna" (Speculum.
The Other Woman) by Luce Irigaray, a book which early on became a
classic text for feminist thought. In 1974 the volume led to its
author’s dismissal from her professorship at the University
of Vincennes. Many years have passed since then and generations of
artists have been formed, forged and have found identity in the theories
put forth in the writings of Irigaray and other women scholars. What
effect do these words have today? Have the voids of discourse and
the white spaces been filled? And if so, in what way?
Will the women artists to whom we pose these questions dissertate
or desert the field? How will this piece of our writing be accepted?
What answers will it receive? (...) (Gaia Cianfanelli, Silvia Litardi)
Looking these Italian words up in the dictionary we find: dis (orderly)
sertare (dispose) ‘treat issues reflecting on
them at length with great engagement and seriousness’, generally
on philosophical problems since philosophy is the science where reason
best finds a fitting environment. It is no chance that the term is
also tied to : disertare (desert) désertare (destroy, devastate).
A fine contradiction. Is
the theme proposed essential or non-essential?
and other texts have de-constructed,
from within, the system which upheld psychoanalysis, philosophy,
and science, bringing to light the misogyny of our patriarchal
society which is based on the absolute dismissal of the female's
otherness. The 1960s and ‘70s
offered my generation an unprecedented critical and democratic stimulus,
an impact that was reinforced by the issues present in the feminist
I personally did not participate in the feminist movement but, thanks
to this stimulus, in those years I was able to question what my life
in the World meant, what was my relationship to other people and
to things, what caused my unease in being a woman and being an artist.
Thanks to the chance of reading significant texts, I was able to
find the words and the ways to bring
together the two aspects of who I am, being a woman and being an
artist, which might otherwise
have remained separate or deadened inside a Single male Universe.
Thus in the dynamic line of my sculptures I was expressing my refusal
of the abstract geometric view which was dominant at the time. A
view which seemed to me to be a metaphor for a metaphysical conception
of the World; the words and gestures of my performances allowed me
to translate my opposition to the androcentric vision that permeated
An Ancient Tradition
We are heirs to the Greek world which recognized gender difference
but with the sole aim of affirming male superiority over the female
and condemning women to silence.
It confined female features to the closed, private space of the house,
the Oikos, where every day women lived in contact with bodies and
took care of others. Meanwhile men's space was the open Polis, the
place of discourse and reason which define man's power.
In Euripides' tragedy,
there is a page of superb and dramatic beauty in which Medea the
of woman's condition in the Greek world. I find her speech to be
greatly emblematic. It is discomforting to think her words still
regard over 2/3 of the women in our world today. In Afghanistan,
in recent months, ninety young women have set themselves on fire
to escape the fate of slavery to which they are condemned under patriarchal
Patriarchal Law, sanctified by religion, is the tradition which gives
rise to metaphysical thought; the scission of sky and earth, soul
and body, rational and irrational, is the most complete metaphor
of that ancient separation. From Plato's "World of Ideas" down
to Descartes' "cogito", Western culture has promulgated
a sunny, Apollonian rationality. This, in turn, has established
the abstract realm of the Universal as separate from concrete,
lively and living detail; it has vilified bodily existence, identifying
it as a shadowy realm of female qualities, of maternity, passion
It is exactly this original separation -- which carries within
it the cancellation of the female, the body, the detail, the sense
of limits, of life in its concrete manifestation, the model --
which has generated a violent society; a sick society because it
is incapable of hearing the Other's arguments, of living alongside
diversity and of seeing in it the normal expression of existence.
Carol Patmann has said, "The first aggression is the one between
the sexes, next comes the one between roles."
In “dissertate/desert" the question is posed, "Have
the voids of discourse and the white spaces been filled? And if so,
in what way?"
I read in an interview, "Gender difference is no longer an
issue for thought and we can no longer talk about sexist emargination
since we are living, for the first time in the history of art, in
a period of equal representation, on the Western artistic scene,
of men and women…” (L.Barreca)
If I am not mistaken, the "official investiture" of an
artist occurs just before she/he breathes his last (and here the
exception does not make the rule).
One should also ask why, in Italy, a law is needed to impose a twenty
percent quota of female political candidates. Perhaps something isn't
working right in the heads of the "democratic" Italian
males? In any case one cannot deny that, today, women have acquired
civil rights together with a debatable equality inherent in that
ambiguous term of "equal opportunity".
But are the equal opportunities
the ones that would fill the voids of discourse, the white spaces?
Does equal opportunity, per se, fit with women's emancipation?
If an automatic connection existed between enjoying rights and liberation,
everything would be all set, there wouldn't be any more problems.
Today women have left the private space of the house to enter the
public domain, they can have careers, enroll in the army, torture
prisoners, be artists, fly bomber planes, in brief they can do everything
a man can do, in the West.
But what if women do not possess an awareness of their difference
lived as incarnate subjectivity, a subjective experience which doesn't
allow women to identify themselves with the pervasive nihilism of
male omnipotence and its barbarities? In such a case, do equal opportunities,
per se, fit in automatically with women's liberation or are they
rather a modern form of homologation?
There cannot be liberation without freedom from the violence of the
male stereotype which insists that it is the only way to define the
Slaves, servants and lastly accomplices participating in equal opportunity
but in a world reeling towards chaos that insists on imposing its
The Other Gaze
In their particular historical condition, women found themselves
closely tied to the care for life, for bodies, for health and this
allowed them to develop skills for accepting Others, for empathizing
with the One different from Oneself, for keeping the space of relations
Women had continual contact with bodies within which life expresses
itself as an individual presence, unique in the world; this allowed
her outlook to preserve the unity of mind and body, heaven and earth,
the detail and the universal.
She learned the ‘thought of Ambivalence’ which keeps
One and the Other together; she learned to think with her heart but
this experience of wholeness never became shared knowledge, never
led to a culture capable of changing the male view of the world.
This ‘embodied way of thinking’, which is supposed to
be a distinguishing feature of the female, knows enough to recognize
the Earth as a horizon which cannot be transcended during of our
stay in time; it is our only dwelling in this world. This ‘feminine
knowledge’ is the awareness of limits and the tending towards
the Other who is always defined by his unique features and not in
the abstract quality of essence. This ‘original way of being’,
which is expressed in the need to unite what is separated and distanced
from the self by the pure will to dominate, this culture that stretches
to build a weaving of pluralities is the antithesis of the Single
Thought that freezes the world in its homologation where the Other
can exist only as a replicant or as a pale copy.
But the West has remained blind to
women’s gaze. The white
spaces have not been filled and the World does not yet speak with
No one listened to Hanna Arendt when she said that not man, but men
and women live on the earth and so plurality is our destiny.
We live in difficult times. Totalitarianism today takes on different
guises: in the form of homologation which kills conscience, in
the cult of an alienated subjectivity, all contained in the individualistic
self-centeredness, substantiated by loneliness and fear, covered
by great quantities of useless objects, impoverished by the loss
of ties of solidarity and hence barbarian and racist. Materialized
from concepts, this subjectivity hides, behind the shining mask
of globalization, ‘financial speculation, arms trafficking,
drug dealing, the commerce of organs taken from the living and
the dead, trafficking of waste.’ (2)
“...we sleep, indeed we sleep from fear of having to see the
world around us... on the one hand, interiority without consciousness,
dreams... on the other functionality, utilitarianism, pat phrases,
much violence’. (3)
Art as a remedy for life
Something that contains its own reason for being is not the object
of trends in avantguard periods.
This is the reason why I have continued to use that same outlook
which led me to refuse an abstract and idealistic conception of art
in favor of an expression rooted in my being a woman, painfully aware
of living in a time closed against any imagination of the possible.
I fled from that way of being woman who believes she can find identity
just by soul-searching, without realizing that she is trapped in
a subjectivity alienated and detached from the world.
In myth, in tragedy, in what has been removed from Western culture,
I have constantly sought the words and the actions to tell, in a
woman’s way, of my passion for the world, of my living art
as an unveiling of what is hidden and as a remedy for the ‘pain’ of
8 aprile 2005
(1) Euripide, ‘Medea’, i Classici Feltrinelli (v. 231/259
(2) B. Amoroso, ‘Globalizzazione e criminalità’,
(3) I. Bachmann, ‘Letteratura come utopia.Lezioni di Francoforte’,