From 6/03/2022 To 20/03/2022
Villa Pisani – Riviera Giovanni Battista Belzoni, 22, 35043 Monselice PD
Reinforced Green Pass required
In collaboration with the Municipality of Monselice, Monselice municipality’s Department of Culture, and Villa Pisani
Recommended to: Contemporary art lovers; those who are enthusiasts about discovering new artists, especially female artists; those how are curious to see the female reality through Selene Bozzato’s art.
March 10, 2022
The exhibition, which opened on March 6 with a presentation by the artist on the main themes she has addressed in this display, will be open until March 20 at Villa Pisani in Monselice. This exhibition was held in collaboration with the Municipality of Monselice, Monselice municipality’s Department of Culture and Villa Pisani.
Villa Pisani, built around 1556, is located in the historic centre of Monselice. It was commissioned by Francesco Pisani di Zuanne, a noble Venetian aristocrat, as a residence to facilitate his travels to and from Montagnana, where his family resided. The building has a Venetian-style, rectangular and tripartite plan, with simple walls and rectangular openings. The family owned the villa until the end of the 18th century. In 1807 it passed to the knight of the Italic Order Iseppo Treves and in the early twentieth century to Dr Morrà. Towards the 1950s, it was acquired by Monselice‘s Municipal Administration to build a school, and later the surrounding areas were also purchased. During this period, the layout was modified with the demolition of some structure parts. In 1983, the villa underwent a thorough restoration campaign involving the architectural structure and interior decoration. In 2012, the latest restoration work was completed, restoring the villa to its current beauty. It is currently managed by the Euganea Movie Movement, a cultural association that works in the Veneto region to promote film culture by organising events, courses, exhibitions and festivals. The villa’s rooms are prestigious venues for cultural events.
Selene Bozzato is an all-around artist: painter, writer and theatre author. She was born in Padova in October 1976 and graduated from the “Pietro Selvatico” Art Institute in Padova in applied art. She then graduated in History of Modern Art at the University of Padova. She founded the social promotion organisation “Punto e Virgola-Lo scrigno” (Semicolon – the casket) to support those suffering directly or indirectly from mood disorders, which aims to raise awareness and support for mood disorders and mental illnesses. She can deal effectively with complex and challenging issues, as demonstrated by “Luna nel bosco” (Moon in the woods), the book she wrote on psychological discomfort from which she adapted a play.
THE OPPOSITE SIGN. Feminine art and the feminine in art presents a deepening of the research that Selene has been focusing on for twenty years: the feminine. This artist has reflected on the feminine and on the situation of women today and has created an exhibition that talks about women and with women. The works are accompanied by verses of poems by Alda Merini, Vinicio Capossela, Marta Medeiros, Cristina Vasocon and signed by the artist herself, a piece by Virginia Woolf, one by Anna Burgio and a letter by Camille Claudel. The exhibition itinerary unfolds in the three rooms on the main floor of Villa Pisani and begins in the central room. Continuing on, the two side rooms house her research that recounts her exploration of femininity and female expression in art and the everyday world. Selene Bozzato has constructed an itinerary in the central room that revolves around four exponents of 20th-century art: Camille Claudel, Jaenne Hèbuterne, Dora Maar and Niki de Saint Phalle. Important artists yet little is said about them in this feature. They are mainly remembered as lovers, companions or inspirational muses of some of the greatest figures in art.
The leitmotif of this section, central to the solo exhibition, is “madness“. A condition to which these women were condemned and for which they were locked up by their families in sanatoriums, precisely because of their being artists and their way of life, outside the standards reserved for women at the time. The artist reinterprets the biographies and artistic history of the protagonists, highlighting their common fate and, at the same time, paying tribute to them.
«Remembered as muses, lovers, companions of great 20th century artists such as Rodin, Modigliani, Picasso but not as the women and great artists they were.»Selene Bozzato
In this part of the exhibition, Selene highlights the theme of the role of women artists in art and art history, a theme that is not exactly recent but still little addressed. This theme emerged around the 1980s through the Guerrila Girls’ activist group. Their protest, which took the form of a poster outside the Met Museum, denounced the poor representation of women artists in the New York museum and in many other major institutions. For years now, in spite of negative trends, attempts have been made to give women artists their rightful place and here, in this particular exhibition, we encounter the interpretations of the lives of these women, created by an artist who has had the sensitivity not only to enter into their lives and propose a reinterpretation through her paintings but also to present them for what they were: women and artists.
THE OPPOSITE SIGN, hosted in this peaceful town in Padua, can easily be counted among the cornerstones of the construction of gender equality. The complex and multifaceted story of the search for and expression of femininity finds a rich and well-documented source of inspiration and insight in this exhibition. Through the cross-references between the texts and the works created, it highlights with an incisive finesse the problems that gender stereotypes create and the particularity and strength of the female vision within art.
The setting of the frescoes in Villa Pisani itself creates an active dialogue with the exhibition hosted here. The pictorial cycle, attributable to Lattanzio Gambara, is qualitatively higher than the one on the lower floor and develops in an interweaving of architecture and views of rural settings and mythical tales. Whether thought or unconscious, references between the walls and the works on display are easily created in the visitor’s mind already from the four figures above the doors leading to the side rooms. On the right, Reverence in God, pointing to the sky with her finger as a warning to respect and fear God, faces Tarlo. The reference to spiritual meanings that is triggered brings further value to Selene Bozzato‘s work, inspired by the figure of Dora Maar after she crossed paths with Picasso and was then abandoned by him. Displaying its symbolic meaning, Temperance, which expresses the control of things through the symbol of the overturned vase under her foot, indicates with her hand the beginning of the path in the right-hand room that leads directly to the painting At the Mirror, placed in line with the opening of the door. On the left, on the other hand, a female figure touching her stomach and looking at the sky opens the way to the painting The Gift. Above the next door is Prudence, looking over her shoulder with a mirror, introducing the charcoal drawing The Moon in the Woods.
The interplay of references, once identified, becomes more and more intense, especially if one begins to consider all the written material proposed and perfectly placed within the exhibition itinerary with the intention, not only of explaining the artist’s vision, but also helping the visitor to enter more deeply into the theme on display.
Indeed, THE OPPOSITE SIGN stirs the visitor’s curiosity and prompts him to question himself. This is perhaps because the most prominent frescoed figure in this vision, probably due to its lack of colour amid the rural landscape, is that of one of the two caryatids on the right-hand wall of the central room. The caryatid almost grimly towards the room and in this way crosses her gaze with Lilith, the figure inspired by the life of Nikki de Saint Phalle, the only one of the four artists that Selene Bozzato has revisited who has managed to use her art and her experience to make a violent and powerful redemption of the patriarchal vision of the role of women in society. A thought that is still common to many people today, as shown by the events that occur daily.
In this work, the demon figure is shunned and surpassed by Selene’s vision of Lilith as a goddess, finally aware of her strength, power and femininity. The continuous reference between history and myth, modern and contemporary, frescoes on the villa’s walls and works on display, creates a tension that further stimulates discovery.
There are many cross-references between the figures on the walls and the works on display. If you want to discover more, all you have to do is go to Villa Pisani and listen to the free audio guides available to the public via your phone.
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