The new digital project “A Feminine Lexicon” by Arts Curating students Pia Diamandis and Elena Tortelli opened in May at museo.ferragamo.com.
Their project took inspiration from Museo Salvatore Ferragamo’s “Women in Balance”, an exhibition curated by Stefania Ricci and Elvira Valleri that celebrates the history of Italian women during the economic boom and the rapid changes in their identities. “A Feminine Lexicon” continues this conversation into what is considered feminine today through the works of eleven international contemporary artists and their testimonies.
In the digital exhibition, through audio recordings, all the artists describe their works and how they relate to a larger feminine lexicon in their own words. An excerpt of these reflections is gathered here for I’M Firenze Digest readers as a way to help them dive deeper into the exhibition.
By Pia Diamandis & Elena Tortelli. Cover image: Alice Visentin, Interiority, 2020-2021, plaster, oil, enamel on linen canvas on wooden silhouette. Photo: Sebastiano Pellion di Persano. Courtesy of the artist and Castello di Perno
“A Feminine Lexicon” artists include Turin-based visual artist Alice Visentin (b. 1993, Ciriè, Turin, Italy). Her work navigates oral traditions by collecting pieces of stories that accompany feminine genealogies.
In “A Feminine Lexicon”, Alice Visentin showcases Interiority (2020–2021), a series of wooden profiles of women that are imagined as being filled with stories, whose painted words echo and circulate through hollow bodies, representing their interior lives. Painted on both sides, the profiles are multidimensional portraits and reveal an identity beyond the public appearance of their clothes, bodies, and skin. They open their interior space, where words and relations fill their organs and cavities. These hollowed-out profiles, filled with linen, stories, and pigments, are caves in which those whispered tales can now reverberate.
Alice Visentin’s Interiority is featured in the Kins section of the exhibition “A Feminine Lexicon”, underlining the links, bonds and connections we make, as Donna Haraway suggests, inside and outside our blood ties.
The section Kins features works by Monia Ben Hamouda, Helena Hladilová, Lebohang Kganye, and Alice Visentin.
PD, ET: How would you best describe your series Interiority? Where did the idea to make them come from?
AV: My silhouettes are shapes that embody symbols, metaphors, songs, music and poetry carried within the human body throughout life. Both painting and writing allow me to create evocations of micro-stories that each person brings with them. I view my work as a collection of many microcosms of abandoned, neglected, or forgotten stories. I want to portray bodies as living and dynamic archives.
PD, ET: As we consider your work deeply rooted in the kinships and bonds that you are continuously creating inside and outside your family environment, what is your relationship with traditions, memory and family ties?
AV: One of the aspects I focus on in my work is the ecology of well-being in relationships. I feel that anyone who holds songs, stories, legends, and recollections within is a person capable of insight. If we shared what we know in relationships and connections, we could better understand ourselves and the world we live in.
A Feminine Lexicon is an online exhibition curated by Pia Diamandis and Elena Tortelli, students in Arts Curating at Istituto Marangoni Firenze for Museo Salvatore Ferragamo, available at museo.ferragamo.com.