*Featured photo: Gina Morandini, La fine e l’inizio
Lydia Predominato (b. 1938) in 1962 moved to Rome from her native Trieste and graduated in Decoration from the Academy of Fine Arts; in 1979 she gave up her work as a parliamentary interpreter to devote herself to artistic research and began her artistic career by becoming passionate about engraving, with which she created graphic works based on the construction of textures and weaves, which were a prelude to her subsequent textile development.
She took Graziella Guidotti’s weaving courses in Florence and became a file maker and weaving teacher, then collaborated for fifteen years with the National Museum of Popular Arts and Traditions in Rome.
In the late 1990s she was appointed a member of the Scientific Council of the Association Le Arti Tessili and taught at the San Giacomo School of Ornamental Arts, the Central Institute of Restoration and the Koefia International Academy of High Fashion.
In 1992 she founded the group Tapisserie Jeune. She is the creator of the Amelia La Fiber Art Biennial at the Center and, together with Bianca Cimiotta Lami, of the exhibition Off-Loom, art outside the loom (two editions), as well as numerous other Fiber art exhibitions, becoming a point of aggregation and a national reference. Lydia herself has a very rich exhibition activity, in Italy and abroad.
In 1976 she is invited by Enrico Crispolti to the Biennial of Ceramics, Metals, Wood, Textiles and Other Materials in Gubbio (Perugia), where she presents a cycle of works using typical elements of the territory, including a rope mat in which she weaves striped wool fleece, dyed in the colors of the contrade. His procedure immediately emerges strongly conceptual, embedded in the social reality and material culture of the present.
Her artistic production is technically and aesthetically varied and eclectic, based on a strong sensitivity to social and environmental issues and expressive textile techniques. In 1978 he presents in Città di Castello (Perugia) Tessuti televisivi, an installation in which he connects the copper warp of an ancient loom to the antenna of a television set that shows on the monitor the movements of the weaving as screen interferences, which are then photographed and printed on an emulsified cloth or rewoven on a loom with the knotted technique, linking manual technique, media technology, reproducibility and performance.
In 1982, she made a series of textile books-Textile Texts, Xeros and Textile Findings-composed of variously enlarged photocopies of some loom-made textiles, on which he intervened by weaving. Says Lydia Predominato: “I performed metalinguistic operations, transporting the primary datum of warp and weft into the graphic sphere.”
The reuse of the image across media is also present in Solid-Speech Puzzle. Keyword: Tessitura (1985), exhibited at the 12th Lausanne Biennial, which reproduces on an emulsified canvas, applied to a felt shaped like a puzzle, the graphic of the sound of the word “weaving” recorded by the artist; in 2020 the work was donated to the Revoltella Museum in Trieste. In 1988 he made Citation. Juvénal des Ursins, printing on emulsified canvas the black-and-white digital image of the famous Flemish tapestry, then weaving parts of it and coloring the rest in pastel: the operation is filmed from a television set, so as to create a continuous cycle between loom, media intervention and return to the loom. John O’Brien writes that: “Her focus is on the linguistic articulation of textile procedures, which she breaks down into individual stages and recomposes, by a conceptual path, into new meanings.”
The denouncing of the ecological disaster we are heading toward is expressed in Will We Still Have Trees? (1995), an installation consisting of a man-sized path through a twisted and dying nature, made from the skeleton of charred trees made by wrapping yarn around a metal core, at the end of which a video projects images of forests and woodlands not yet extinct.
Toward the end of the 1990s, he became interested in the process of infrared image capture and recorded with a thermography machine the colors produced by the imprint of his own body, printing the image on canvas and reworking it with inserts of colored woolen yarn. The series Anime, or technological research of the self and Self-portrait, was born.
In 2000, she presented Remember Anita: a conceptual black-and-white video in which the gesture of weaving is transformed into the abstract dance of two female characters: the artist herself holding the canapo and a woman who moves it by constructing a white net, a metaphor for the artistic process and, as she writes: “Representation of the materialization of creative energy in the dimension of circular time.”
In the following years she developed research around the archaic symbol of female fecundity symbolized by the letter V, with which she produced several works, including: Seduction (2002), in red iron wrapped in a weave of fibers and Konstellation Nahtselle (2003) in which she scatters on a black background a galaxy of white circular shapes that accommodate red Vs.
A reflection on achieving awareness in the labyrinthine path of existence, at the center of which he places a red, tormented and torn heart, is the subject of Way out for a constrained heart (2014).
In 2017 she presents Combusted Catalog of Textile Materials, which symbolizes the remnants of the history of the workers who died in the 1911 fire at the Triangle Shirtwaist Company in New York, due to the closing of the doors, accompanied by a short story by one of the dead weavers.
Finally, in 2020 she presented Seven Pages of Chaos, a vertical work in which she arranged seven asemantic books, made of paper collages interspersed with textile inserts, inspired by the confusion of the socio-political-economic situation of our times.
An artistic journey, that of Lydia Predominato, that reflects and questions human, social and artistic issues; she works with the word, the visual symbol, matter and technology, mixing weaving, video and digital, in a continuous and passionate experimentation that is always avant-garde and ahead of its time.