Per la Vita, Sempre! / For Life, Always!, 1977

Clemen Parrocchetti, Per la vita, sempre! / For life, always!, 1977, Embroidered juta tapestry, 195 × 126 cm

Per la vita, sempre/ For life, always! is a tapestry work by Italian artist Clemen Parrocchetti, a dark cloth punctured with a wide, ruffle-lined hole in its center. Underneath this feature spills an embroidered trail of gathered threads leading towards the bottom of the tapestry, where a row of colorful imprints of lips lines its edge. Stitching, embroidery and quilting with “items of female culture,” as Parrocchetti once described, refers to the artist’s critique of the female domestic sphere, which she saw as a prison of sexual and familial servitude. The repetition of this style emphasizes the unceasing tasks enforced upon women in the household as well as the bedroom, accentuated with motifs of female body parts such as lips and genitalia. In this work, the symbol of wide-open lips alludes simultaneously to the objectification of women as well as the more hopeful potential to escape from this mold: a tear in the fabric of society towards freedom.