EVERY LETTER IS A LOVE LETTER is a collective intergenerational exhibition that focuses on intimate writing, the off-topic marginal texts that exist outside official narratives.
The exhibition opens with the work of one of the leading figures in the Italian verbo-visual scene: Anna Oberto (Ajaccio, Italy, 1934), who focused her artistic and literary research on language and writing. Already in the Anacultural Feminist Manifesto, written in December 1971, Oberto posed the idea of “female writing” – less in terms of literary forms but rather private manifestations:
“Let us free the language and we will free the woman! Together with the possibility of experimenting with a form of writing inhabited by “the female”
For Oberto, it is not just a question of visual poetry, but of a discursive act challenging common grammar and the alphabet: by feminizing language, the “monologue of patriarchal culture” is interrupted. In her tables and collages, Oberto’s writing is strictly by hand, calligraphic, to give corporality to the text.
The artistic practice of Clarissa Falco (Genoa, Italy, 1995) also deals with the concept of giving substance to the word. The young artist presents a series of works based around the body—bodies as “machines of desire”, beyond the distinction between subject and object, their appearance reduced to gears and other mechanical parts.
“Everywhere are machines, not at all metaphorically: machines of machines, with their matching, with their connections. An organ machine is grafted onto a source machine: one emits a flow, the other interrupts. The breast is a machine that produces milk, and the mouth is a machine coupled to that.” (Deleuze and Guattari, Anti Edipo, 1972)
Falco translates the female body into industrial parts, creating a new grammar that links strength to desire and femininity.
The same quality of female subjectivity is found in the Andean fabrics created by Marcela Moraga (San Fernando, Chile, 1975), which serve as an important means of transmitting and preserving the essential features of a society. The weaving tradition sits at the very center of the entire Andean community. The fabrics are the surface onto which women transfer data relating to their local economy, historical incidents, and aesthetic values. The Chilean artist works with different fabrics, using felt and embroidery to illustrate yet another story: the processes of mineral extraction in the Andean mountain range that cause contamination and droughts, and the resulting social and economic problems that affect the natives Andeans. For the first time, the complete series is presented, including two new works created in Tuscany.
[…] “handmade” […] is emblematic of a new way of proposing artistic work as linguistic research, collective advancement and the manifestation of ideological content, of how this unique approach can be enacted and circulated in order to spread awareness of the function of the artist and to advance a new quality of social life. […]. (Anna Oberto)
The title of the exhibition—EVERY LETTER IS A LOVE LETTER—is taken from the novel I Love Dick by Chris Kraus, published by Semiotext(e) in 1997. In it, with the complicity of her husband, the protagonist gives voice to her feelings and frustrations by sending vast numbers of personal letters to another man. This yields “a new type of literary form”, which Kraus herself has defined as a new feminist genre: “Phenomenology of the Lonely Girl”.
The project is funded by Cantiere Toscana, territorial network for contemporary art research, production and training.
Exhibition: November 16th – January 26th 2020
The exhibition can be visited by calling +39 3487252628 to make a reservation
More info is available at firstname.lastname@example.org