Clemen Parrocchetti, Fuori dal ghetto accerchiato / Out of the encircled ghetto, 1974; Assemblage, embroidery, spools and pins; 50.9 × 50.8 × 5.5 cm
The Italian artist Clemen Parrocchetti (1923-2016) was an active participant in the feminist liberation movement in Italy in the 1960s and 1970s, a period that is still considered one of the most heated moments in the country’s history in the fight for women’s suffrage. This translated into a strong visual grammar in the materials of domestic labor – needles, spools, bobbins, cooking utensils, medicaments, textiles – repurposed into the subversive tools of denunciation and protest.
By using such “modest materials”, drawn from the confines of feminine domesticity, Parrocchetti critiqued and contested female subjugation and objectification. Forsaking the conventional picture frame, traditional to what she terms “male culture,” this work is encased in plexiglass and belongs to a core body of work within the artist’s oeuvre. Titled Fuori dal ghetto accerchiato / Out of the encircled ghetto, the work depicts the exclusion many female artists and artisans faced at the time in the arts, often at the hands of institutions. A later example of this was the 1978 Venice Biennale, which included for the first time an all-women’s exhibition, which was located far away from the primary exhibition locations. Among the participants was Parrocchetti with the feminist collective Gruppo Immagine.