From October 24, 2020 to March 14, 2021, the Centro per l’arte contemporanea Luigi Pecci in Prato presents Protext! When fabric becomes a manifesto, an exhibition curated by Camilla Mozzato and Marta Papini exploring fabric's role not only in critical debate on authorship, work, identity, production and environmental change, but also as a medium par excellence in the representation of dissent. Banners, pennants, t-shirts, hand-crafted tapestries and quilting are tools that have given voice to spontaneous protests in the world, and Protext! investigates how the most recent generation of artists considers the use of fabric and its different formal settings as a transgressive artistic practice.
Through works by Pia Camil, Otobong Nkanga, Tschabalala Self, Marinella Senatore, Serapis Maritime Corporation, Vladislav Shapovalov, Güneş Terkol, Protext! gives voice to an artistic practice that uses fabric as an instrument capable of channelling and expressing instances of protest, identity and belonging.
The exhibition path alternates between installations, sculptures, pennants, tapestries, drawings and embroideries and opens with the site-specific area created by the Greek collective Serapis Maritime Corporation (Athens, 2014) made up of a large mural painted on a curtain, which also protrudes on to the wall, and a series of large cushions created with recycled materials resting on the ground.
It continues with Bara, Bara, Bara and Vicky's Blue Jeans Hammock, a textile sculpture created by Pia Camil (Mexico City, 1980) with second hand t-shirts and jeans: garments produced in Latin America for the United States, which return to their places of origin following the unjust routes of migration and global commerce.
Otobong Nkanga (Kano, Nigeria, 1974) presents the tapestries The Leftovers, Infinite Yield, In Pursuit of Bling and Steel to Rust – Meltdown together with an installation of the same name, in a set designed with the artist for the exhibition.
The work by Vladislav Shapovalov (Rostov on Don, Russia, 1981), Flags, stems from the artist's research at the Documentation Centre of the Chamber of Labour in Biella, a city with a rich industrial history linked to wool manufacturing, in many ways similar to that of Prato.
In the exhibition we find some of Güneş Terkol (Ankara, 1981) embroideries on gauze in a light and floating installation, together with Dreams on the River and Desire Passed by Land, flags created during a participatory workshop. During the exhibition, the artist will produce a new flag together with a group of women involved with the "La Nara" Anti-Violence Centre.
The exhibition continues with the works of Marinella Senatore (Cava de' Tirreni, Italy, 1977): highly colourful hand-embroidered banners from the series Forms of protest: memory and celebration and 50 drawings from the series It's Time to Go Back to Street, in part produced for the Centro Pecci.
Tschabalala Self (New York City, 1990) constructs deliberately exaggerated representations linked to images of black female bodies using a combination of highly colourful materials that are sewn, printed and painted, making reference to artisan artistic traditions.
The exhibition concludes with a room dedicated to workshops, residences and events, which, during the exhibition, will foster the investigation into the use of fabrics to express dissent. The first workshop is by About A Worker, in collaboration with Lottozero Textile Laboratories and Istituto Marangoni Firenze, with the support of Manteco. This will be followed by Canedicoda, created in collaboration with Dynamo Camp.
For the full duration of the exhibition there will be an accompanying rich public programme with workshops, talks and residences carried out in collaboration with the artists and local organisations.
Protext! When fabric becomes a manifesto is accompanied by a Nero Editions publication in two volumes: the exhibition catalogue with a critical text by the curators Camilla Mozzato and Marta Papini, interviews with the artists, biographies and photographs of the works, and a second volume, an artist's book by Marinella Senatore, introduced by Cristiana Perrella, Director of the Centro Pecci.
Thanks to Manteco and Pecci Filati for the art bonus contribution to the exhibition.
Protext! When fabric becomes a manifesto
Sponsored by Centro Porsche Firenze
On cover: Güneş Terkol preparatory flag for workshop at Centro per l'arte contemporanea Luigi Pecci, 2020. Courtesy of the artist
October 24, 2020 – March 14, 2020