10 Nov                     17 Dec 2021

Life and Herstories (Autobiography as Dialogue)

Helen Cammock and Ottonella Mocellin /Nicola Pellegrini

A cycle of exhibitions, actions and meetings curated by Daria Filardo

You and your friends are cordially invited to the opening of the exhibition on 10 November at 5 pm.

11 Nov, 4 pm
Helen Cammock, Ottonella Mocellin and Nicola Pellegrini, moderated by Daria Filardo

13 Nov, 6 pm
Villa Bardini, Costa S. Giorgio, 2 - 4, 50125 Florence
Rachel Cusk, UK based writer
in collaboration with Talk a Villa Bardini, (a Fondazione CR Firenze project) and La città dei lettori (Literary Festival, Florence)

30 Nov, 6 pm

Natalia Cangi, Director of the Fondazione Archivio Diaristico Nazionale, Pieve Santo Stefano, Arezzo.

Opening hours: Tuesday to Friday 2 to 6 pm and on appointment.
Limited number of visitors to the exhibition with mask; green pass is mandatory.

rosa murales

exhibition view, Helen Cammock, There's a Hole In The Sky Part I, 2016, 19'6'', video

rosa murales

exhibition view, Helen Cammock, Changing Room, 2014, 14', video

rosa murales

exhibition view, Ottonella Mocellin /Nicola Pellegrini, Generalmente le buone famiglie sono peggiori delle altre, 2010, 21'11'', video

rosa murales

exhibition view, Ottonella Mocellin /Nicola Pellegrini, The Wall Between Us, 2021, 29'3'', video

photos: Ela Bialkowska /OKNOstudio

Life and Herstories (Autobiography as Dialogue) is a series of shows, activities, and events prompting a meditation on the autobiographical approach as a pre-eminently feminine activity aimed at establishing a dialogue and an essentially antiheroic narrative; at creating communities large and small; at rewriting official History.

The presence of the Subject and the strategies through which it becomes manifest have been an object of enquiry at least since the establishment of modernity. The inside, located point of view – both artistic and literary – has been at this point entirely assimilated, especially since in Western countries the events of 1989 brought out the narratives of those who had not been included (both inside and outside of the culture that had until then been dominant). The autobiographical slant is not an exclusively feminine prerogative. The project's purpose is not to recount a story of differences, but rather to offer a lens through which to observe and explore recurring methodologies. Lonzi's exploration of the Unexpected Subject and female, feminist research from the Sixties onwards, have reflected at length upon the construction of another subjectivity in the context of a dominant patriarchal culture – a subject built in opposition to the notion of an abstract, universal male subject inherited from the modernist tradition and modern philosophical thought. These considerations have led to many consequences, even outside of self-managed feminist circles, of the concept of difference, of the different feminisms in general, one of which was the shaping of a fair amount of contemporary artistic research.
The second show of the series (inaugurated with Chiara Camoni and Stefania Galegati's exhibition, 25 Sep ‒ 25 Oct 2021), presents works by Ottonella Mocellin /Nicola Pellegrini and Helen Cammock and investigates the manner in which autobiographical narratives become intertwined with other human experiences, dismantling and rewriting official history. Complex narratives recreate personal and collective memories offering a different account that redefines our view of the world. In the artists' work, familiar and personal narratives resonate with a greater humanity, as may be found in all life experiences. The dialogue format and the construction of the narrative, which may also be produced through a montage of different sources, are essential elements in the works of the artists participating in the exhibition. They are the expression of an inside point of view, but at the same time they bear witness to the urgency of an upward-driven tension. Recounted personal or social incidents offer the chance for a new reflection upon the tensions between time present and its roots buried deep in time past. These shed a new light on the geopolitical dynamics that are profoundly rooted in the territory, but are, at the same time, bearers of a global dimension. In Mocellin /Pellegrini's works as well as in Cammock's, the autobiographical point of view is expressed in a narrative that is mindful of the everyday quality of events and bears an antiheroic slant that makes it possible to make History by telling the stories.
Life and Herstories (Autobiography as Dialogue) also includes two events that will explore the themes around which the show revolves through different types of autobiographical writing. In collaboration with La città dei lettori (Literary Festival, Florence) and Talk a Villa Bardini (a Fondazione CR Firenze project) will be held a lecture by Rachel Cusk, a writer and essayist and one of the most relevant voices on the contemporary literary scene, who will explore the themes of the project through her literary works (novels and essays); in collaboration with the Fondazione Archivio Diaristico Nazionale (Pieve Santo Stefano, Arezzo) a lecture by its director Natalia Cangi,will discuss the importance of the diary as a medium in the context of the autobiographical narrative.

Helen Cammock was born in 1970. She works with a variety of media, among which engraving, film, photography, poetry, words, and song. Her work explores the roles we take on in moments of crisis, both as individuals and collectively. She uses real life experiences to speak of vaster structural issues; she studies how the cyclical nature of history and its power structures are at the root of our way of life. Using different voices, styles, and dialogues, her work creates fragmented, non-linear narratives that set the grounds for a different type of thought. Cammock was awarded the Turner Prize in 2019 and the 7th Max Mara Art Prize for Women.

Natalia Cangi, director of the Fondazione Archivio Diaristico Nazionale, was a member of the Foundation's Board from 1995 to 2010 and vice-president from 2005 to 2009. Along with her several managerial and executive responsibilities in multiple areas, Natalia Cangi also holds various roles at a scientific and editorial level. In particular, she is: a member of the Editorial Committee of the Archive, a member of the editorial staff of the magazine Primapersona-percorsi autobiografici, a member of the Scientific Committee of the DIMMI Diari Multimediali Migranti project, a member of the artistic directorship of the Premio Pieve, and a curator of the Piccolo museo del diario.

Rachel Cusk, writer and essayist born in Canada in 1967, lives and works in the United Kingdom. She has published several books of fiction and non-fiction. In 2014 she began publishing a three-volume opus that confirmed her as one of the most innovative and important voices in the international literary landscape. Outline, the first novel in the trilogy, was published by Faber and Faber in 2014 and was named one of the New York Times Top Ten books of 2015. The second volume, Transit, came out in 2017, while the third, Kudos, was published in 2020. These works were published in Italy by Einaudi, who also published her non-fiction book A Life's Work: On Becoming a Mother (2021).

Ottonella Mocellin and Nicola Pellegrini were born in Milan in 1966 and 1962, respectively. From 1984 to 1993 they lived in London, where they studied Public Art and Architecture at the Chelsea School of Art and at the Architectural Association. Since 2012 they have lived in Berlin with their two children Rosa Dao and Tito. Centered around the theme of identity, their research studies the emotional and conflictual nature of relationships. Using photography, video, voice, sound, text, embroidery, drawing, and performance as mediums, their production includes a series of shared projects that investigate the boundaries between narrative and identity, memory and history, the personal and the collective, biography and autobiography. In 2020 they were selected for funding through the eighth Italian Council International call.

In collaboration with Talk a Villa Bardini und La città dei lettori