“Histoire d’E” is about stories of women, friendships, relationships and separations. It illustrates how female artists in the 70’s began to create their own independent narrative and how the total disinterest in the art market gave them the chance to experiment with complete freedom.
As Francesca Cataldi, a sculptor of the time, testifies: “looking back, the deep injustice that we had to put up with at that time actually turned out to be a huge opportunity, and was in fact our big moment”.
In Italy, Mirella Bentivoglio turned the spotlight on this widespread discrimination, and gathered more than 80 artists working on language and image from all over the world in an exhibition for the 1978 Venice Biennale.
Bentivoglio explains in the catalogue: “dematerialized in the past behind the subliminal abstraction of her public image, in parallel with her public absence; privately entirely confined to daily contact with objects, today’s woman projects herself into a world devoured by repetitive mechanisms. These new forms of poetry are the repossession of what she and he have both been elaborating since the beginning of existence: language”.
“Materialisation of language”, the memorable exhibition in 1978, was not the only one of its kind. Mirella started her exhibitions in the 70’s and continued to dedicate them to women for a further 30 years.
The title “Histoire d’E” is borrowed from her 1988 solo show in London and aims to pay homage, thirty years on, to this great Italian artist and curator, by introducing the Athenian public to many of the artists she was close to.
The project is divided into two exhibitions. The first “Between language and image”, presents works of Concrete Poetry and Visual Poetry as well as documenting the exploration and visualization of sounds. The second, “Between language and object”, focusses on research and the three-dimensional and sculptural experimentation that these women achieved through a cathartic process of breaking away from the domestic context “that had been their realm and their prison for centuries” (M.Bentivoglio)