Under the patronage of the Municipality of Como and as part of the Plinian Bimillenary Celebrations
6 August – 3 September 2023
Como, San Pietro in Atrio
Opening Saturday 5 August at 5 pm
“The art of unravelling cocoons in order to weave them was devised by a woman from the island of Cos, Panfile, daughter of Platea, who should not be defrauded of the glory of having devised the way of denuding women by dressing them” (Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, XI, 26).
The inspiration for the title of the Miniartexil ’32 exhibition, Denudare feminas vestis (Denuding women by dressing them), derives from Pliny the Elder’s words extrapolated from his monumental work Naturalis Historia, indicated and expanded upon by the poet and writer Vincenzo Guarracino.
The 2023 edition to be held in Como, Ex Chiesa di San Pietro in Atrio and other venues, from 6 August to 3 September and organised as part of the Bimillenary Celebrations of Pliny – will be dedicated to and form part of the programme of the Bimillenary Celebrations of the birth of Pliny, a Como pillar of classical culture.
As per tradition, alongside the mini-textiles (54 works) created by artists from all over the world, there will be several large-scale works by both emerging and established internation
Miniartextil ’32 will propose a material, emotional reflection on silk – an excellence of the Como textile district also testified to by Pliny the Elder – and on the possible interpretations of the female universe.
In the course of his endless naturalistic investigations, Pliny also devoted himself to the study of silk, going so far as to refute the belief that the yarn was produced and harvested directly from fairy trees, covered with soft leaves and long filaments, cultivated by the rich people of the Seres (hence the origin of the term “serico”) at the eastern ends of the then known world.
In Book XI of the Naturalis Historia, dedicated to insects, Pliny wrote: ‘From a rather large worm comes first a caterpillar, which pushes out two horns typical of its kind, then comes what is called a worm, from it the chrysalis, whence after six months the actual worm is born. In the manner of spiders, cloth is woven for luxurious women’s garments, which are called bombicinas’. Finally, ‘The art of unravelling the cocoons to weave them was devised by a woman from the island of Cos, Panfile, daughter of Platea, who should not be defrauded of the glory of having devised the way of denuding women by dressing them’ (Pliny, N.H., XI, 26)
The oxymoronic phrase ‘Denudare feminas vestis’ is linked to the consideration of how, already in the first century AD, the precious silk garments that enveloped the female body further emphasised their forms, rendering them naked to the eye. As we read again in the Naturalis Historia, ‘Man is the only one of all living beings who obtains his clothes from the outside (…). (Nature) alone casts man naked upon the bare earth on the day of his birth’. Clothing is thus a characteristic of mankind. Beyond the biblical significance linked to the myth of Adam and Eve, clothing originated as a need for protection and adornment. Over the centuries, art and fashion have negotiated and declined the concept of covering and revealing the female body in its multiple aesthetic, ethical, cultural and political valences.
CURATELY AND ARTWORKS
The curatorship of the exhibition is entrusted to art critic and filmmaker Clarita Di Giovanni, who lives in Rome and has taught at the G.M. Volontè School of Cinematographic Art since 2011. She will be joined by Sergio Gaddi, a nationally renowned art critic and curator from Como with great professional and organisational skills. Gaddi is also the head of the selection committee for small-format works.
Like every year, Miniartextil ’32 will be an exhibition divided into two parallel proposals: on the one hand, the 54 small works (mini-textiles, cm.20x20x20) that will be exhibited in the Ex Chiesa di San Pietro in Atrio, and on the other hand, the large installations that will be present in the same place and in different parts of the city. The dialogue that will arise between the small and large works and the ancient architecture of San Pietro in Atrio will create a unique and engaging symbiosis. Here, in a dedicated space, didactic workshops will also be held to bring the younger public closer to Art in the form of play.
With regard to the ‘diffuse exhibition’ aspect, Miniartextil ’32 envisages the involvement of artists working with performances and installations outdoors and in public and private venues. The works installed in institutional and private venues will enhance the spaces and increase the flow, interest and attention of citizens and tourists.
Among the emerging artists and new talents who will participate in the exhibition by creating large-scale installations: the Serbian artist Brankica Zilovic, the Japanese architect Kato Kimiyasu, the Italian-Egyptian Medhat Shafik, the Italians Antonella De Nisco and Alessandro Lupi. Zimbabwean artist Moffat Takadiwa, who will also exhibit his works at the 60th Venice Biennale in the Zimbabwe Pavilion in 2024, will also be a guest.
The 54 mini-textiles coming from all over the world and selected through the annual Call for Artists, promoted to collect nominations from international artists, were chosen – out of over 250 works received – by the jury coordinated by Mimmo Totaro, – artist, president of Arte&Arte and founder of Miniartextil together with Nazzarena Bortolaso, and composed of Kimiyasu Kato, architect, photographer and artist, in Italy for 30 years; Giuseppe Menta, designer, expert in colour techniques, fabric creator, entrepreneur; Sergio Gaddi, art critic and curator of art exhibitions and head of the works evaluation committee.
Here the names of the artists and the titles of the artworks:
|1 Paivi Vaarula||CORE|
|2 Olga Teksheva||HIDDEN TREASURES : FLOWER|
|3 Maria Grazia Medda||LIBERTÀ É VITA|
|4 Marisa Iotti||FIORE NUDO|
|5 Roberto Zanello||SOTTOSOPRA|
|6 Zane Shumeiko||UTERO|
|7 Luce Resinanti||PER PROTEGGERSI DAGLI EVENTI È PREFERIBILE UN ABBIGLIAMENTO A STRATI|
|8 Anna Wieckowska-Kowalska||J, WOMAN|
|9 Stephanie Geiger||senza titolo|
|10 Jorgelina Alessandrelli||IL PESO DEI SUOI OCCHI|
|11 Sirpa Hannele||HIDE AND SEEK|
|12 MIchiyo Igarashi||PROTECTION|
|13 Maruta Koncevica||KEEP UN WITH THE TIMES|
|14 Ryoji Maeda||HUMAN – 008|
|15 Florence Jaquet||THREE GRACES|
|16 Chiara Aldeghi||IL VELO DA SPOSA|
|17 Céline Ramio||DÉVOILEMENT (UNVEILING)|
|18 Mirjam Pet-Jacobs||MA DONNA 1|
|19 Nina Ulrichs||LA MUE / SLAUGHING / LA MUDA|
|20 Antonio Bernardo||LA SIRENA VESTE|
|21 Christine Laeubli||SENSITIVE DATA|
|22 Maria Barbara De Marco||INTUS ED IN CUTE|
|23 Svatoslav Krotký||ARACHNE|
|24 Anny Ferrario||TRASPARENZE|
|25 Beatrice||LOT EVE’S LEAF|
|26 Chiaki Dosho||SPIRAL OF TIME|
|27 Giovanna Del Grande||IL SOGNO DI ELIOGABALO|
|28 Guerra e Paolo||TOUCH ME|
|29 Marzia Devoto||LA PELLE CHE ABITO|
|30 Rieko Yashiro||WOMAN IN THE DEEP SEE|
|31 Tiziana Contu||VELATA MULIER|
|32 Silvia Cibaldi||LA VESTE DELLA REGINA DI CUORI|
|33 Cinzia Li Volsi||DIAFANO|
|34 Daniela Evangelisti||SVELATA|
|35 Elisabetta Cameli||HYSTERAI N. 4|
|36 Lara Zappa||ORIGINAL|
|37 Lucia Bochow||AVEIL OF TIME / GRANDMOTHER|
|38 Silvia Bellu||FEMME|
|39 Ursula Gerber||SENGER 2 REVEALED AND ENVELOPED|
|40 Doquesne Pascale||BOMBYX MORI|
|41 Zsofia Zamori||SONG OF PANFILE|
|42 Alberto Borellini||LA REALTA’ SVELATA|
|43 Alice Szeqedi||EVE’SNATURE|
|44 Gabriela Brugger||OMAGGIO A VENERE DI WILLENDORF|
|45 Jennifer Robertson||CRINOLINE VIEWING|
|46 Lea Thiele||AN DIE VERBORGENEN POTENTIALE|
|47 Loretta Cappanera||RISVEGLIO|
|48 Luisa De Matteis||SVELATA MENTE|
|49 Martyna Plioplyte-Zujiene||BITE YOUR TONGUE|
|50 Valeria Melodia Boisco||VESTE INVISIBILE|
|51 Victoria Diaz||CONSTRUCCIÒN TEXTIL N.21|
|52 Virginija Kirveliene||DONNA COME POESIA|
|53 Young Soon Cha||WOMAN IN TULLE|
|54 Maria Matyja-Rozpara||THE BLOSSOMING|
Plinio il Vecchio
Through Plinio, generations of men of letters, scientists and artists have dreamt, imagined, known their world and helped to shape the present age. For them, the emphasis is always on the unity of culture as conceived by Pliny, who was a ‘complete scientist and humanist at a time when there was not yet a divide between Science and Letters’ (Luigi Alfonsi).
The Naturalis Historia is not only the oldest ‘encyclopaedia’ that has come down to us, it is also one of the most significant works of Antiquity, and reading it has been and continues to be extremely useful not only as a study of the past, but also as a tool for investigation and a generator of questions for the present. Indeed, although Pliny does not so much investigate the causes of phenomena, being primarily concerned with gathering as much data and information on a given subject as possible, one of the most relevant legacies of the Naturalis Historia is the exhortation to inhabit doubt, never ceasing to probe the unknown.
Miniartextil was founded in 1991 by Nazzarena Bortolaso and Mimmo Totaro with the idea of bringing an exhibition dedicated to fibre art to Como, the cradle of the textile tradition.
In 1994, the cultural association ARTE&ARTE was established, which still promotes the exhibition and continues the research to select the best fibre art production worldwide.
Over the last thirty years, Miniartextil has visited places and cities all over Europe, starting from Como, which today is the main exhibition venue – we can mention the installations at the Chiostrino di Santa Eufemia, at Villa Olmo, at the former Ticosa, at the former churches of San Francesco and San Pietro in Atrio, at Palazzo del Broletto, at the Pinacoteca Civica, at Museo Giovio, at the former Wholesalers’ Pavilion of the Covered Market, at the Como Silk Museum, as well as in squares and public places.
The international tour of the exhibition over the years has been interesting: Montrouge – Paris, Mulhouse, Kaunas, Caudry, Lille, Gif-Sur-Yvette, Busto Arsizio, some of the cities that have hosted the works in the exhibition.