ATTILIANA ARGENTIERI

Characters, 1980,1999, multi-material textile sculpture, from 160 cm to 220 cm in height

Italiano (Italian)

Translation by Marina Dlacic

Between ancient and modern weave

Attiliana Argentieri was born in Viareggio in 1932, but lived for a long time in Venice. Her weaving teacher is Anna Akerdhal Balsamo Stella, an artist and design of Swedish origins, teacher at the State Institute of Art at the Carmini in Venice where Argentieri graduated in 1950. Venetian by adoption, as soon as she completed her studies she designs and weaves her  first tapestries at the Balsamo studio, owned by her teacher, who in addition to being a weaving expert was a designer of the artistic glassworks SAIAR Ferro Toso from Murano.

She exhibits her works at Ca ‘Pesaro and participates in group exhibitions promoted by the Bevilacqua La Masa Foundation (BLM). Enthusiastic and proud of being a Tuscan, together with Titta Luporini, in 1951 she opened a weaving workshop in the historic center of Lucca. Shortly after, she organized the “Art of fabric” section at the State Institute of Art of Castelmassa (Rovigo). In 1956 she exhibited at the Venice International Art Biennale, where she was also present in subsequent editions (1960-68-70). In the seventies she became a member of the Center International d’Etude des Textiles Anciens (CIETA, Lyon, France) and deepened her studies on the techniques of ancient fabrics (plain and textured).

The images of Attiliana Argentieri Zanetti’s works are taken from the catalog of the Attiliana Argentieri Zanetti exhibition, between Lucca and Venice, 1950-2008, building with fibers and “fiber art”, edited by Domenica Digilio, Lucca 2008.

From 1971 to 1985 she taught “Textile Design” at the “Giovanni Sello” State Institute of Art in Udine, where she worked in synergy with Gina Morandini and Carmen Romeo, both teachers of “Laboratory of the Art of Weaving, Tapestry and Carpet”. Her presence is crucial and gives new and vigorous impetus to the “Weaving Section” of the Udine Institute. From the end of the seventies, for her knowledge of historical textiles she was chosen to hold the courses of “Weaving techniques” and “History of manufactures”, promoted by the Regional Center for Cataloging and Restoration of Friuli-Venezia Giulia (Villa Manin, Passariano , Udine).In 1979 she was one of the founding members of the Italian Center for the Study of the History of Textile (CISST) and devoted herself with commitment to historical research, studying the traditional textile production of Friuli. Argentieri not only keeps her knowledge for herself, but passes it on to students and colleagues, shares and carries out new educational projects. [1]. She publishes the Technical Dictionary of Weaving [2], articles and essays, with particular emphasis on the maintenance and conservation of ancient textiles and their construction technique: the latter as important as it is unknown and little investigated. She collaborates with the exhibition Treasures of Art in Carnia: Sacred vestments and textile tradition (Tolmezzo-Udine, Palazzo Frisacco, from 9 October 1987 to 9 January 1988) [3]. Argentieri was the first to study the manuscript books / notebooks of Carnic weavers (books of “tacamenti”) [4], in particular that of Jacopo Linussio (1764)[5], the founder of the famous 18th century Carnia manufacture.

From 1996 to 2001, Attiliana Argentieri intensified her artistic activity, often together with her husband Gianfranco Zanetti, who was also a teacher and artist, and exhibited in group and personal exhibitions. Her works are present in museums, public and private collections in Italy and abroad. The experience at a historical and technical level guides Attiliana in the creation of textile works, sometimes mini-textiles, in other cases monumental tapestries, where she expresses all her enthusiasm for research and chromatic and material experimentation. In that period, works of strong fluid force were born, made with natural, undyed yarns and with the most diverse materials (ribbons, laces, leather, wood). Her artistic expression is fully placed in the contemporary artistic current of Fiber Art.

[1] Attiliana Argentieri Zanetti, I TESSILI, in The Sello “carpenters” in Udine, coordinated by Gina Morandini Fenu, State Art Institute of Udine, print “Friulian Graphic Arts”, 1983.

[2] Technical Dictionary of Weaving, edited by Attiliana Argentieri Zanetti, Editions Villa Manin di Passariano, 1987

[3]On the occasion of the exhibition, the Tesori d’Arte in Carnia catalog is published. Sacred vestments and textile tradition, edited by Gilberto Ganzer, with texts by Paolo Bensi, Donata Devoti, Francesco Pertegato and TECHNICAL SHEETS by Attiliana Zanetti Argentieri, Mountain Community Edition of Carnia, print “Grafiche Lema” of Maniago (Pordenone), 1987

[4] ”Tacamenti” are designs for fabric that arise from the intertwining of the warp threads with the weft; the term derives from the verb tacar, to attach heddles and loom pedals together.

[5] Linussio was born in 1691 in Villa di Mezzo, a hamlet of Paularo-UD, and died in 1747 in Tolmezzo-UD; the precious manuscript, owned by the Linussio heirs of Tolmezzo (Udine), is the oldest present in the Friuli-Venezia Giulia Region.

Attiliana Argentieri Zanetti si spegne a Pasian di Prato (Udine) all’età di 86 anni, ma il suo importante insegnamento rimane vivo in tutti quelli che l’hanno conosciuta, di persona oppure attraverso i suoi numerosi scritti, mostre, manifestazioni. Sono grata a Giovanna Zanetti per i materiali che mi ha gentilmente fornito per la stesura di questo breve articolo.

Attiliana Argentieri Zanetti al telaio nel suo laboratorio

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