It’s a bit of a cliche that feminism has particularly struggled along in Italy, perhaps due to the unusual sociology of family, in a country that is notable for both innovation, as well as holding fast to tradition.
A new exhibition presented by Dior at the FM Center for Contemporary Art in Milan, however, makes good work of pinpointing a pivotal moment in Italia’s history of women’s advancement. Edifyingly titled The Unexpected Subject.1978 Art and Feminism in Italy, it examines how artistic boldness contributed to the feminist cause, specifically, of course, 1978. Specifically that year, eighty female artists – among them Tomaso Binga, Irma Blank, Maria Lai, Lucia Marcucci, Giulia Niccolai and Patrizia Vicinelli -were invited by curator Mirella Bentivoglio to the exalted Venice Biennale, where their unfettered experimentalism, as well as sedition and dissent, notably captured the cultural imagination of the time.
Forty years on, their wild spirit is being honored by Marco Scotini and Raffaella Perna, the artistic director of the Frigoriferi Milanesi and the art historian, respectively, bring together women artists this time numbering more than a hundred, and including such contemporary icons as Marina Abramović and Rebecca Horn. Not to be missed is Tomaso Binga’s striking sceneography for the first female Dior Creative Director Maria Grazia Chiuri’s A/W 2019/20 Fashion Week presentation, specifically reassembled for this show.
The Unexpected Subject.1978 Art and Feminism in Italy exhibition was assembled in cooperation with the MART Museum of Contemporary Art or Trento and Rovereto, and runs through May 26.