Handmade Militancy


Handmade Militancy


Chertlüdde Gallery
presents  Handmade Militancy curated by  Sofia Gotti and Caterina Iaquinta, Berlin

28 april - 26 august 2023

Handmade Militancy presents largely unseen works by Clemen Parrocchetti
(1923-2016, Milan) made during the most heated years of 1970s Italian feminism.
Parrocchetti found her visual grammar in the materials of domestic labor – needles,
spools, bobbins, cooking utensils, medicaments, textiles – repurposed into the
subversive tools of denunciation and protest. Parrocchetti’s work speaks to women’s
fights for equal pay, divorce bills and the right to abortion, issues that after almost
half a century remain at the center of political debate. Handmade Militancy, the
first exhibition of Parrocchetti’s work outside of Italy since her death, includes
tapestries, assemblages, sewn drawings, a video and archival documentation the
artist collected during her militant years.
Parrocchetti trained at Milan’s Brera Fine Arts Academy while she was
already a mother of five. From the early 1970s, Parrocchetti’s nascent feminist
voice found expression 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 of Varese, pioneering in conjugating art and feminist militancy,
and showed with them at the 1978 Venice Biennale. While the group disbanded
in the mid-1980s, Parrocchetti carried a feminist ethos in her artmaking for over
five decades.
Forsaking the conventional picture frame, the works on display critique
and contest female subjugation and objectification, from within the confines of
domesticity. The manifesto Memorandum for an Object of Female Culture (1973)
presents inflammatory words of red thread painstakingly sutured onto an aluminum
sheet for the “still sub-proletarian” woman “pin cushion/mattress/object.” With
handmade tapestries, Parrocchetti marches on her call to resist submission and
invoke women’s liberation. The title of each work (insistently resonant to this
day) is a protest slogan: “Chastity Belt (Watch out for commodification),” “Under
custody and repressed,” “Dreaming gender equality” and “Hope for Liberation
after Resistance.”



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