Rebecca Brodskis, Elena El Asmar, Silvia Giambrone, Martine Gutierrez, Loredana Longo, Helina Metaferia
curated by Donatella Mezzotero
opening Wednesday, November 22nd, 2023
on view until January 20th, 2024
Galleria Anna Marra is pleased to present MIRRORING, a group show curated by Donatella Mezzotero that offers an overview of the contemporary feminist art scene.
Featured artists are Rebecca Brodskis, Elena El Asmar, Silvia Giambrone, Martine Gutierrez, Loredana Longo and Helina Metaferia, in a dialogue among different generations, areas of research and practices, but all the artworks have been inspired by pressing questions of social justice.
The works are as different as ways of being can be, the exhibition explores delicate questions, such as sexuality, race, class and gender, questioning conventional ideals of beauty and identity. Its intention is to widen our perception of the variegated universe of femininity, with its multiple interpretations, showing that contemporary feminism as a movement has become more and more inclusive and facetted. It has taken a stand against sexism, but also against all types of discrimination, racism, classism, violence, denial of rights, even embracing environmentalists and anti-speciesism struggles.
The artists in the exhibition reflect in particular on what it means to be a woman today, among consuetudes, clichés, idealizations and gender stereotypes.
The transformation of an individual’s traditional form can be seen by everybody. The systems of digital culture, the affirmation of fluid identities, the desire to be a performative subject even while consuming, the processes of hybridization among fragments of different cultures, all of this delineates an ongoing transition toward something that is still unknown.
This transformation is based on a multiplication of information and the possibility of a new subject transiting into the realities that open up and there “playing” with her own identities.
In fact, the continuously evolving images to which we are exposed and through which we tell our stories (media, advertising, TV, Internet, social networks) influence the way in which we construct, express and perceive our identity.
Rebecca Brodskis (France, 1988) instills in her paintings the experiences of her nomadic life. Her roots are between France and Morocco, where she spent her youth, but since then she has lived in London, Berlin, Paris, Tel Aviv, New York, and currently Marseilles. The protagonists of her portraits, which often appear androgenous with ambivalent expressions, reflect the diversity of the cultures to which they belong. Even though they are shown immersed in neutral chromatic fields, offering the observers no reference as these latter are asked to use their own imagination to reconstruct the identity of the subjects of the paintings.
Elena El Asmar (Italy, 1978), her mother Italian and her father Lebanese, works with everyday objects in a continual exercise of memory and representation. The exhibition presents an installation created from the sculptures from the series L’esercizio del lontano (An exercise from afar), in which vases, bottles and other objects in glass are ‘dressed’ in nylon stockings and placed together to recreate an architectonic landscape inspired by the urban realities in southern Lebanon. Pantyhose, a garment typically limited to the feminine sphere, whose use in the West became widespread starting in the 1960s, here appears as a protective element which both hides and constrains.
Silvia Giambrone (Italy, 1981), using performances, installations, sculptures and videos, has always investigated themes connected to feminism, denouncing the patriarchal culture, the rape culture and domestic violence. Her works in this exhibition come from her series Collar, in which embroidered collars symbolise domination, and from Mirrors and Frames series, in which the surfaces of mirrors and frames, symbols of vanitas, are covered in thick layers of wax through which we see acacia thorns. The observers’ pleasure is destroyed and substituted by contemplation of an image that can only remind us of suffering and pain.
Martine Gutierrez (California, 1989), a transgender artist with family roots from Guatemala, attempts to subvert racial and gender stereotypes. Her work is a search for what makes up her own identity. She is always the protagonist in her works, giving life to innumerable versions of herself, as she presents her image in photographs, advertising campaigns, fashion magazines, music videos and performances in which she plays with her own identity and on how it is perceived. The exhibition includes photographs from her series Plastics, in which the artist’s face is wrapped and transformed by a transparent plastic film. Wearing bright lipstick, blue contact lenses and a blonde wig, the artist embodies the most classic gender stereotypes as she invites us to reflect on the standards of beauty our society imposes on women.
Loredana Longo’s (Italy, 1967) works are inspired by the theme of increasingly frequent violence against women, racism and forced migration provoked by persecution and war. Her practice is based on a build/destroy logic, which the artist herself has defined as the “esthetics of destruction”. For the exhibition she has created a performance that will be presented during the evening of the opening. The exhibition also includes works from her series Carpets in which she has burned certain parts of the fabric of oriental carpets, in a controlled way, leaving on their surface populist slogans linked to western subculture.
Helina Metaferia (Washington D.C., USA, 1983) is an Ethiopian-American artist strongly inspired by African artistic tradition. Her work is politically engaged denouncing America’s current system of institutionalised oppression of women and the black community. The exhibition contains collages from the series By Way of Revolution, an interdisciplinary artistic project highlighting the work of the activists of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Colour), a resource which has been overlooked, but which plays a fundamental role in the political aid environment, for social justice and for acquiring civil rights.
The exhibition, accompanied by a booklet published by Gangemi Editore, may be visited until January 20th, 2024.