New looks of beauty at Palazzo Marliani Cicogna. Geographies of body and soul

New looks of beauty at Palazzo Marliani Cicogna, Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II in Busto Arsizio, the exhibition Geographies of body and soul, curated by Silvia Vacca and Erika Montedoro (for the fiber art section) will be open from June 16 to July 28, 2023.

The idea of this exhibition, which in the intentions of the offices and the administration wants to be an experience to be repeated over the years, was born to show the works that the Civic Art Collections of Palazzo Marliani Cicogna possess, beyond the display in the museum rooms, acquire and “give back” to the community, also through active maintenance and restoration.

An exhibition that is nourished by the suggestions of the places also thanks to new arrivals in the Museum, through donations from collectors and artists, which flank the works chosen by theme kept in storage. A plurality of ‘geographies’, among them some expressed through works of fibre art that have recently entered the permanent collections of Palazzo Marliani Cicogna: geographies of the places of memory, for example with Il giardino poetico di Elio by Lea Contestabile, geographies of the body with L’odore del sangue by Florencia Martinez, and again with the work specially created by Federica Patera and Andrea Sbra Perego, Geografia del corpo.

Lea Contestabile, Il giardino poetico di Elio (Pecora)

Il giardino poetico di Elio (Pecora) by Lea Contestabile is a tapestry dedicated to the poems Rifrazioni (Reflections) by Elio Pecora. ‘The garden,’ writes the artist, ‘is a recurring theme in my work. It is a garden of memory, a hortus conclusus in which I can travel to the depths of my interiority and re-think in order to build an intimate space all to myself, where I can find my thoughts, my dreams, my affections, my fantasies and, why not, even my nightmares to exorcise and translate into positives. My garden can be made of paper, of ceramics, of cloth and embroidery, of coarse and precious stitching; objects of all kinds, domestic animals, fantastic figures and figures from my personal history taken from photos of my family, most often taken by my father and reprinted and reworked by me, coexist in apparent disorder. It is a sort of ‘symbolic alphabet’, a personal writing where signs and images are repeated drawing and organising ever-changing tales that open passages towards home, towards that peasant civilisation of legends told in front of the fireplace during the long winter evenings. It is a ‘garden of delights’, a ‘locus amoenus’, a place for experimentation and play, where one can test oneself to reconnect forgotten parts of oneself, where one can seek harmony through the joy of making and manipulating different materials. It is the space of introspective listening in which to grasp inner resonances and lose oneself through enchantment and, in a kind of miracle, find oneself again. Like Alice, I like to imagine a surreal and magical world, fantastic and real at the same time, where past, present and future can coexist.

In the garden of my heart I sew up moments from my childhood, games, places, memories of the people who loved me and who helped me grow and become who I am. Tile after tile, like in a sort of mosaic, I try to put together the pieces of my memories, which have been pieced together and reknitted with flowers, birds, butterflies, hearts and a few mazzamurello, a frightening character who made our childhood days mysterious and magical. Well-delineated spaces alternate with empty spaces, making my works places in which to move, to stop, to travel far and wide to find something forgotten or something new that makes you reflect, giving you the chance to tell a little story. It is precisely the need for narration that leads me to construct many small stories to be stitched together in a personal universe. Fabric, paper, velvet, net, ribbons, threads alternate in the co-construction of my puzzle. The black-painted tarlatan, a material I have used so much in carving, helps me to create the right screen to veil and hide the underlying figures only in appearance. It is memory that makes one see and not see and that, at times, brings to mind events that never really happened, but were dreamt and/or hoped for.” (quoted from the interview with Barbara Pavan for ArteMorbida).

Florencia Martinez, L'odore del sangue

L’odore del sangue by Florencia Martinez is part of the Argentinean artist’s recent research into the different declinations of love. The large textile sculpture “is at the same time an act of compassion for those who are deprived of their arms by their own lack of affection, a mute and heavy body of flesh and blood that feeds only on itself, incapable of participating in the magic of an embrace, and a hymn to the generous and courageous obstinacy of the most human and permeable part of us that in that embrace, on the contrary, connects to life even those who are deprived of their own resources”. (cit.from the publication of The Soft Revolution).

Florencia Martinez, L'odore del sangue

For Martinez, the fabric from skin becomes body, form, becomes material, occupies three-dimensional space. A physicality indispensable to confer solidity, weight, volume reflections that go beyond the personal horizon: the saving power of art no longer concerns only the artist and his story but is diluted in the sharing of human experience through the work. Over the years, her works start from photography to become more and more assertive, made with fabrics desperately sewn – she says – as a doctor might do on a battlefield: her seams have a voice – they are and must be strong and clearly visible as they are support, embankment, bond, framework.

Geografia del corpo di Federica Patera e Andrea Sbra Perego è parte di Roots, ciclo di lavori che racconta il legame tra linguaggio e cosmogonia. A partire dalla radice verbale √Ker, che ha in sé termini associati alla vibrazione e al ritmo, è stata costruita una mappa di parole, appartenenti a diverse lingue, che guida lungo il percorso che porta alla nascita dell’uomo. Termini come cuore, cervello, cranio, creare, crescere, carne sono le tappe di questo viaggio e sviluppano una collabo-razione semantica che diventa racconto. Il cuore e, dall’altra parte, la testa, vibrando, fanno fluire l’energia nel corpo permettendogli di crescere, di prendere vita.

Geografia del corpo (Geography of the body) by Federica Patera and Andrea Sbra Perego is part of Roots, a cycle of works that recounts the link between language and cosmogony. Starting from the verbal root √Ker, which has terms associated with vibration and rhythm, a map of words, belonging to different languages, has been constructed to guide us along the path leading to the birth of man. Terms such as heart, brain, skull, create, grow, flesh are the stages of this journey and develop a semantic collaboration that becomes a tale. The heart and, on the other hand, the head, vibrating, make energy flow in the body, allowing it to grow, to come to life.

The work is realised with the support of Carvico spa, which has provided 80% of the material produced by regenerating pre- and post-consumer waste materials, such as fishing nets, fabric scraps, used carpeting, industrial plastic, the fluff from nylon carpets that have reached the end of their life cycle, rigid tulle, etc., which, at the end of their life cycle, are recovered and reused instead of being disposed of in landfills.

Arrivals, journeys, explorations that bring us back again and again to the reality of the Museum, which is made and nourished by this kind of relationship with its local reality.