Artissima 2023, Turin
Booth BTTF9
3 – 5 November 2023

For the 10th annual Back to the Future section at Artissima, ChertLüdde is delighted to present a solo presentation by Clemen Parrocchetti. Reflecting a key point in the Feminist movement in Italy around the 1970s, Parrocchetti’s historical position embodies an eruptive artistic presence that unravels the politics behind common objects of artisanship. 

Needles, spools, bobbins, and textiles are some of the many materials repurposed in Clemen Parrocchetti’s (1923-2016, Milan) tapestries and sculptures from the mid-1970s onwards. Considered domestic items, Parrocchetti’s choice of media fiercely subvert conventions around art production and the subjugation of women, which was developed from her earlier research into the representation of women through the medium of paint, a tradition she abandoned at the end of the 1960s as a political gesture to distance herself from and to challenge the male-dominated field of painting at the time.

Largely unseen, her paintings on display from 1969 captured the struggle for liberation and self-definition through various disassembled and distorted figures. Bearing titles anticipatory of feminist critique, these paintings include facial features like mouths and eyes – motifs she continued to use well into the 1970s as a synecdoche for the female body. Lips in particular appear often, becoming a symbol for the unleashing of women’s protest in the face of oppression.

In rediscovering Parrocchetti’s decade-spanning body of work, symbolism becomes an important tool for understanding her feminist message.  The artworks on display and their slogan-like titles still cover topics of great importance today, leaving behind a staunch legacy advocating for equality.


Born into a family of the Lombard aristocracy, Clemen Parrocchetti (1923-2016, Milan) trained in painting at the Brera Academy, which she graduated from in 1956. Across the 1960s, her painterly style shifted from an existentialist realism to an abstract and surreal language. While partaking in the feminist momentum of the early 1970s, her artistic practice underwent a radical change when she started to use textiles and small household objects in her early assemblages, but above all with the introduction of embroidery. In 1978 she joined the Gruppo Immagine of Varese, with which she participated in the 1978 Venice Biennale – a collaboration that lasted for almost all of the 1980s. Going further in her exploration of textiles and embroidery, the 1980s see her explore the themes of classical mythology with a sensitivity towards the metamorphosing body. In her final decade, Parrocchetti focused on the animal world and her relationship to it, formalized in numerous drawings and paintings.

Clemen Parrocchetti solo exhibition history includes: Istituto Italiano di Cultura, Stockholm (2008); Museo di Storia Naturale, Milan (2003); Gallerie Montcalm, Quebec-Ottawa (1987); Galleria Di Porta Ticinese, Milan (1985); Galleria Di Porta Ticinese, Milan (1979) Galleria dello Scudo, Verona (1973); Galleria Delle Ore, Milan (1958). 

Her group exhibition history includes: Archivi Ribelli / Rebel Archives, Villa Era, Vigliano Biellese (2021); Il Soggetto Imprevisto: 1978 Arte e Femminismo in Italia / The Unexpected Subject. 1978 Art and Feminism in Italy, FM Centro per L’Arte Contemporanea, Milan (2018); Femmes Artistes, Grand Palais, Paris (1982); Muestra Internacional de arte Grafica, Bilbao (1978); Clemen Parrocchetti – Maria Grazia Sironi, Palazzo dei Diamanti, Ferrara (1978); Dalla creatività femminile come maternità-natura. Al controllo (controruolo) della natura, La Biennale di Venezia, Venice (1978); Primo Premio Pirandello, Agrigento (1977); 500 artisti per la Innocenti e le altre fabbriche in lotta, Museo della Permanente di Milano (1976); Rassegna San Fedele 2, 1971/1972, Centro Culturale San Fedele, Milano (1971); Mostra della resistenza, Galleria d’Arte Moderna di Milano, (1964); Le donne e l’arte, Galleria Brera di Milano (1959-1960).

Photos by Andrea Rossetti / Tiziano Ercoli