Each of my embroideries is enclosed in a box made by assembling vintage objects from everyday life, which help explain the message I want to convey. The embroidery is the soul, enclosed, intimate, protected, introverted. The box is the mind, walking in the world, looking outward, exchanging with each other, exuberant joy.
Peep show – March 2023
The work shows a breast, embroidered on a woman’s percale handkerchief, stuffed with wool enclosed by gauze, made more shapely by a prosthesis made from a silk pillow made from a petticoat. The prosthesis is painfully fastened with safety pins that pierce the flesh.
The breast, a synecdoche of the woman’s body that becomes a concept of the female archetype, is enclosed and constrained in a metal cage, which is not meant to protect it but rather serves to exhibit it and put it on display, similar to the bodices that fashion imposed as a canon of beauty.
The cage is as colorful as that of an exotic bird, full of frills and lacework that highlight the female as the man desires her to show off for his pleasure. The nipple is turgid, the areola is evident, and the breast forms are abundant, to suggest fertility no longer in the service of continuity of the species but only of vanity and sexual play.
The woman, dressed as a doll, is stripped of the power of creation to be relegated to ornament and amusement.
The lid of the cage, a sort of crown looming over her like a spider, seems almost to mock her in the role imposed on her, while the central jewel, made of a spherical lead bullet from a muzzle-loading rifle, set with silver wire, stares at her almost as if it were a lustful eye grazing her nipple like a sword of Damocles.
Iboclemea – August 2022
The word that gives the work its title does not exist; it emerged in the morning in the intermediate zone between dreaming and waking as an elsewhere, a nonplace that does not belong to the physical world, in which the higher self exists, the primordial essence of each of us connected to the universal energy. From this place it observes the path of each incarnation and preserves its memory.
The embroidery case is a precious crystal and silver vase, which like Pandora’s contains something inscrutable: the same the metal label that hangs on the front is empty, suggesting that the contents cannot be known.
Lifting the lid one stands before a scrutinizing eye, surrounded by rays of light; the subject of the embroidery. Inside the vase rotates in an infinite orbit a milky glass sphere, the eyeball that sees all.
The position of the embroidery transforms the square doily into a rhombus, transforming it from a stable, balanced and solid figure into something transforming, changing, flexible and adaptable, vital, moving, as a self-respecting higher entity should be.
Un altro giorno sulla terra – March 2022
This work draws inspiration from Čechov’s short story “Good People”, in which brother and sister discuss non-resistance to evil from two antithetical points of view, until they irreparably drift apart.
As in the story, the work is structured on two parallel and opposing planes. Both embroidery and custody are mirrored and equivalent; neither belief prevails over the other but they interpenetrate, as in the Chinese concept of yin and yang, merging and giving rise to a continuous cycle in which they coexist.
In a conflict, it is not possible to judge whether the decision to rebel or the decision to submit is more ethically right because reality is not dual but is a continuous flux, the energies that compose it are in constant transformation into each other, and it is wrong to see existence divided into radically distinct and separate fundamental principles.
Chi nascerà pesciano – February 2022
The work chronicles the conflicting and complex relationship between mother and daughter.
The mother is an archetypal figure who carries with her many contradictions: she is nourishment, roots, memory, belonging, and at the same time something to be distanced from in order to find one’s own identity.
It is the first intimate relationship we know, and perhaps the most intense; only through a lifelong journey of separation is it possible to see the person who fathered us for who she really is.
Reconstructing the mother figure as an adult is not unlike trying to grasp elusive memories like fish, to be stored and catalogued inside test tubes.
The 21 fish in the embroideries represent the many facets of her personality: an innate survival instinct, the need to escape all constraints while conforming to the pack, an almost autistic stubbornness to be worn like armor to protect her extreme fragility.
The box is composed of only seemingly random or contrasting elements: sharp objects to be guarded against, fragile materials to be handled with care, animal remains as ritual ingredients to exorcise its mystery, everyday objects as amulets to seize its essence.
The nursery rhyme from which the title originates, heard uttered by the artist’s mother countless times since childhood, encapsulates the full force of the magical thinking of a woman who had to cling to the will to get on in life by raising three children alone, yet failed to achieve what she desired.
”Chi nascerà pesciano / ha la fortuna in mano / con molta forza e ardire / conquista posti e lire / riflette ed intuisce / ma guai se l’atterrisce / l’accumulo dei beni / sorvegli sangue e reni” (he who will be born under the sign of Pisces / has good fortune in his hand / with much strength and boldness / he conquers places and money / he reflects and intuits / but woe if it terrifies him / the accumulation of goods / he oversees blood and kidneys).
Mostruosità dell’eccesso – September 2021
This third work inspired by reading Borges’ short story “Funes the Memorious” again explores one of the last inviolate territories, in many ways still an unfathomable mystery: the human mind and its meanderings.
Specifically, the embroidery and its wrapping focus on memory and its countless facets. Taking its cue from the scripture, the work imagines the mind as a large palace whose rooms overflow with memories that evoke emotions, episodes, traumas and hopes.
In this sense, each of us is the warehouse keeper of a serial accumulator who cannot get rid of all kinds of junk sprung from the sum of a life’s moments, seemingly without logical meaning.
How to decide which memories are most important? Which ones to keep and which ones to discard? For each of us, a candy wrapper, a key, a broken toy soldier become authentic treasures because they are doors that open worlds.
With this mysterious logic, the candid simplicity of the cloth is juxtaposed, in obvious contrast, with the baroque ensemble of the paper wrapper full of colors, drawings and drawers from which to extract objects that seem to be picked up by a child after a stormy sea, to represent the mind of the protagonist, at once disconnected and punctilious in its attempt to control the uncontrollable.
Invece di aspettare che qualcuno ti porti fiori – March 2021
The title of this work, created a year after the 2020 lockdown, as new restrictions were threatened against the common desire to start living freely again, is taken from the line of a poem by Veronica Shoffstall, “After a while”.
Like the poem, the embroidery and the box describe the willingness to embark on a rebirth, springing from the conquest of a recently acquired awareness that compels one to blossom again, after a painful period of hibernation, to cover oneself with light and color.
It is a hymn to spring, to a pagan easter, to the glorification of the cyclical nature of life, which after each phase of closure bursts forth with an innate load of still virgin potential.
Everything here is sprouting, opulence, starting from the embroidery flower that explodes like a firework, to the swarming of life that seems to pay homage to the winged figure, which towers over the lid of the box like a totem, announcing with its rattle the arrival of a resurrection, while at the bottom industrious insects remove the remnants of the past.
Saffron – March 2021
This embroidery depicts a flowering saffron bulb. Its colorful flower climbs over a tall, narrow cutout made from an old shroud, inspired by a botanical engraving from a 1500s herbarium.
The esoteric symbolism of the crocus, ever since the Arabic word sa’fran, meaning “splendor of the sun”, recalls material and spiritual wealth; but also well-being, joy and happiness. Giving saffron since ancient times was a wish for a long and prosperous life.
This meaning is reinforced by the elongated shape of the design that unfurls from the bulb along the full height of the plant to the petals, in the tension of ascending toward the sunlight. From the depths of the earth the need to become light seems to reach upward: a promise of personal growth both earthly and heavenly.
The box, too, reiterates this concept in its bright colors and metallic applications, which make it look like the casket of a precious gift. The plaque pasted on one of its sides, salvaged from an old elevator, is a further reminder of the compulsion to elevate oneself.
Giochi ogni giorno – February 2021
This work owes its name to the incipit of a poem by Neruda, much better known for its final line, in which the poet tells his beloved that he wants to do to her what spring does to the cherry trees.
Unlike the poem, here everything is centered on the love of life itself, on the celebration of moments lived cheerfully, evoked by the floral embroidery and the objects that make up the box; the safety pins that run along the lower edge of the embroidery jingle and shimmer as if to call attention to the passing moments.
The bright colors of the layers of oil paint, the coins, leaves, seeds, wood, and the mirror on the red satin pillow, resembling a full moon, recall the different aspects of existence, from the deepest to the most futile, that make it worth living.
It is an exhortation to play, to lightness, to the importance of remembering to live by letting the current rock you confidently.
I miei sogni sono come la vostra veglia – February 2021
Second work inspired by Borges’ short story “Funes the memorious.” Right from the title, which recalls a phrase uttered by the main character, this work explores the complexity of mental pathways that obsessively jumble together, never letting go.
Every element contributes to reiterating this concept: the choice of a particularly elaborate shirt shoot as a base; the threads that branch outward from the lettering like tentacles, almost as if they were synaptic links that unite thoughts and associations of ideas; the modular repetitiveness of the chickpeas at the bottom of the box, equal to each other but not identical; the tinkling sound of the test tubes that mark time; even the embroidery of the passion flower, an intricate labyrinth of petals and stamens, with a penetrating scent that leaves one almost dazed.
Il memorioso – February 2021
First work of the triptych inspired by Borges’ short story “Funes the Memorious”.
The sentence, embroidered on a thick webbing made from the edge of a vintage cotton bed sheet, is taken from the passage in the passage in which the narrator’s voice is struck by the knowledge that every word of her conversation with the protagonist will remain forever etched in her memory, as if carved in stone.
The act of embroidering also transforms the words into something immanent, almost eternal, and the presence of mother-of-pearl buttons of different shapes and sizes, sewn in rows along the length of the webbing, reiterates with manic cadence the permanence and uniqueness of the letters over time.
This work also represents an early experiment in making embroidery that could be worn around the wrist or wrapped around a stand, like a secular prayer as a reminder to carefully select the words to be used and to weigh their meaning.
Nel fosso – Settembre 2020
Third work in the archipelago series, in which the theme of travel as a relief from the obsession with control is explored.
Unlike Sottocosta, which portrays a calm and idle foreshortening, such as that of a sailboat moored a short distance from land, and Naufragare, which suggests reliance on the forces of nature, the spontaneous gathering of resources in an unexpected situation, this work reconstructs the sensory experience of crossing on an old ferry, and in particular the suggestions of the engine room, which is referred to as the ditch in the vernacular.
The embroidery map becomes a tool for achieving set goals, for precisely plotting the established course; the box and objects evoke the thrust of the engines, the stench of naphtha and lubricant, the noises of the machines, the saltiness corroding the metal.
It is still voyage as meditation; in this case it is no longer wandering, but collaboration between man and sea to reach a destination. The abandonment of mental control is achieved through manual labor that allows one to enter a state of presence in the present moment. Physical involvement and focused attention on action reconnect us with our roots restoring mental clarity and a sense of continuity and belonging to a larger human tradition.
Naufragare – August 2020
Second work of the archipelago triptych (along with Sottocosta e Nel fosso), also made on fabric stained with iron granules.
Shipwreck is not understood here as a violent and dramatic experience, but as an unexpected turning point that becomes a reassuring refuge where one can find asylum from life’s adversities.
The storm, which seemed a destructive force, becomes instead an ally, helping to discover the beauty of being alive. The sea is a mother that sustains and welcomes, cradling the castaway lying on a makeshift boat with its wave-like breath.
Adrift on a raft, surrounded by objects recovered from the sea that become precious amulets, lonely sailing becomes an experience of beauty and self-discovery, in which man finds shelter and salvation in the power of nature.
The embroidery map is not the route to be found to return to the previous life, but the record of the accumulated experiences and discoveries noted in the course of the new journey undertaken.
Sottocosta – July 2020
First of three embroideries that make up the archipelago series (along with Naufragare and Nel fosso), depicting imaginary maps made by embroidering fabrics previously stained with water and iron granules.
The archipelagos are parallel worlds, all three centered on the theme of the sea, landscapes of the imagination in which to lose oneself in order to find one’s way back.
This archipelago already from its name evokes letting the current carry you away on an old boat; everything here is tranquility, serene flow, and the slow unwinding of time. The shells, stones, seeds, even woods collected on the beach tell us of a pleasant break from reality, where the worries, stress, and hectic pace of modern life can be put on hold and postponed to an unspecified tomorrow.
Anche se non voglio – June 2020
This work is named after a well-known line from a Lucio Battisti song.
Embroidery and box depict the dual nature of birds, torn between the safety of the nest and the instinctive need to soar, and are meant to describe those moments in life when one is overwhelmed by an uncontrollable impulse, in this case the need to make art.
This irresistible call, like the whistles used to flush out animals in the undergrowth, urges one to come out into the open to follow one’s instincts.
The bird-shaped wooden branch watches over the egg enclosed inside the box: a symbol of a new beginning with all its unrealized potential.
The crack on the lid of the box, repaired with a pour of beeswax to imitate the Japanese art of Kintsugi, warns us that neglecting our vocation opens a dangerous rift in the soul, which can only be healed by listening to the inner voice.
Materna – August 2019
Materna focuses on one of the fundamental themes, death as the end of earthly existence, and takes its name, and the embroidery design, from the tunnels dug by the bark beetle under the bark of trees where its larvae hatch and grow.
In nature’s cycle of transformation birth and death are intimately linked: the end of the tree determines the beginning of new lives and its substance is transformed to generate more matter. A perpetual circle, in which nothing is created and nothing is lost, but everything becomes something new.
The metal box covered with moss and bark is reminiscent in its appearance and smells of a dry tree, and vaguely evokes the skeleton of a bird, like a messenger announcing the decomposition, decay, and degradation of matter returning to earth.
El siempre mar – November 2018
This work, one of the first made, explores the theme of the sea, which would later be taken up in the triptych of archipelagos.
Its name is inspired by a line by Borges, and as in poetry, the sea is a primordial deity, an ancestral force that transcends man’s existence and eludes his attempts to understand it.
The dermaskeleton of a sea urchin, which is also the subject of the embroidery, is wrapped by the fabric like a host or a sacred object of a pagan religion.
All the materials that cover the box evoke the sea, like treasures carried by the waves gathered in an Andean despacho ceremony, exorcising its fury and invoking its thaumaturgic power.
Reinforcing the concept are the salt encrusted on the lid, the embroidery fabric reminiscent of fishermen’s nets, and the interior of the box covered with shells that look like the eyes of an abyssal creature.
Soffia vento, vieni naufragio – October 2018
This work conveys the message that only those who are unafraid can experience existence in all its grandeur.
The title quotes an invocation uttered by the character of Macbeth, who loses everything by trying to force fate; only when he finally relinquishes control, accepting the consequences, does he discover the true essence of life.
The violence of the needlework on the impalpable fabric, pulled and wrinkled by the threads, the tearing of its torn edges, represent the fury of the elements, from which the flowers of embroidery do not escape, even at the cost of their own safety. Even the box pierced by branches, as if crossed by life itself, and the feathery seeds carried by the wind, symbolize surrendering to the course of events by trusting in the natural flow of things.
The crown, a symbol of royalty, becomes the consecration of those who have the courage to live life with the lightness of play.
Scivola – August 2018
This work focuses on the ability to adapt and find solutions without forcing situations.
The title of the work is excerpted from the film Fight Club, in which the main character identifies himself as a penguin gliding away from trouble along an expanse of ice to highlight “the ability to let what does not matter slide by”.
Water, while meekly allowing itself to flow through and acquiring the shape of that which contains it, is nonetheless relentless in its free flow, bypassing and crossing every obstacle, and is capable of changing the shape of even the stone or riverbed in which it flows.
The presence of so many glass objects interacting with each other symbolizes transparency, the search for truth, authenticity and clarity, but also fragility and vulnerability in the face of adversity and the challenges of life, the ability to take on any form without giving up its essence, the characteristic of letting light through and reflecting it or even increasing it.
Koi carps, resilient and adaptable fishes, symbols of wisdom and luck in Japanese culture, represent perseverance in the face of difficulties. With their ability to glide and dart within currents, they are the embodiment of the skill to accomplish great feats without fear.