Torturata e repressa / Tortured and repressed, 1975

Clemen Parrocchetti, Torturata e repressa / Tortured and repressed, 1975; Embroidery, shuttle and syringe on metal; 51 × 51 × 7 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. Within a plexiglass case, which represents for the artist the restrictions women often faced at home, a pink foam-stuffed fabric cloud is pierced with syringes, here a symbol of patriarchal violence.