Tarma / Moth, 1999

Tarma / Moth, 1999, Ink and watercolor on paper, 24 × 33 cm, 42.5 × 51.5 × 2.8 cm (framed)

In the 1990s – inspired by the moths festering in her own closet and consuming her textile artworks – Parrocchetti began depicting common moths as intricate and resilient creatures. These studies, which also included lice, grasshoppers, scorpions, cockroaches, spiders and bugs, challenged her subjects’ ordinariness and presented these creatures as potent lifeforms.

Parrocchetti’s interest became deeply methodic once she began visiting the Sormani Library in Milan to retrieve natural history manuals and zoology texts. She would photocopy sections of them (especially those with anatomical reproductions of insects), and often jotted down or transcribed definitions of the different species she came across. After meeting with the entomologist at the Museum of Natural History, she drew her first artwork titled In picchiata nei panni (Nosediving in the cloths) (1997) following scientific illustrations.

This drawing shows a moth flying down upon a piece of torn and tattered fabric. Similar depictions can also be seen in her sculptural depictions that she began in 1998, in which the moths are also holding torn fabric. While interested in the moths’ perception as “ugly, grey, tiny, invisible” creatures, she began to see their lives parallel lives to humans, even cohabitating in the same home. Moreover, she saw her own practice as a textile artist in opposition to the moths, as clothes moths were a real threat to preserving her artworks. While it was a complex relationship, Parrocchetti handled her subjects with deeply compassionate, and humor, to shed light on their vitality while also preserving and enlarging their presence and proximity to her own life.