Clemen Parrocchetti, Untitled (Boh!), 1977; Embroidered jute tapestry; 200 × 125 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 for the fight for women’s suffrage. Reflected in her practice, Parrocchetti would weave these messages into her art, as with her handmade tapestries which cry for liberation.
Mainly built from raw jute, the tapestry belongs to a seminal body of work that spans over forty years, during which the artist established a visual grammar in the materials of domestic labor – needles, spools, bobbins, cooking utensils, medicaments, textiles – repurposed into the subversive tools of denunciation and protest. Like protest banners, the tapestries march on Parrocchetti’s call to resist submission and to affirm a new kind of subjectivity untangled from patriarchal and capitalist structures of control. Integrated into this piece is an anti-aging cream from Germany, referencing the weaponization of gendered beauty standards, followed at the bottom with the embroidered exclamation: “Boh!”