Paola Ugolini on The Increasing Visibility of Feminist Art
by Sofiya Golovnya
Woman's role in society has been a topic for plenty of both positive and negative discussions in the recent past. As fashion and art are closely tied with the women and often their misrepresentation. In an episode of DIOR TALKS, art curator and critic Paola Ugolini talks about feminism and how the female part of the population is treated in the world with Katy Hessel, an art historian, writer and curator. The women discuss many subjects related to the topic, ranging from the female body to art and fashion.
Feminism was born in the 18th century in France, and to this day is one of the most important philosophical and revolutionary movements. As art and fashion are the spheres which depict the female most often, yet not always realistically, there is a lot of controversy on the representation of women in such industries. It is important to remember the role of women in the modern world. To highlight the importance of feminism, Ugolini talks about how the claim that women already have everything they want is not true. One of the discussed problems is how it is still necessary for women to adapt to fit in a patriarchal society.
A Rome native, Ugolini had been an activist ever since the 1970s, when she participated in local feminist protests. In the words of Paola, art can be a way to be very political. She talks about how Maria Grazia Chiuri is doing this with the help of fashion, while she herself is usually sending her message through art. In the 1980s, the woman worked in performance and body art and used them as tools for the expression of femininity. Paola also presents some of the best examples of women expressing their sexuality and femininity with the help of art throughout the years. In the exhibition she curated, “Corpo a corpo” (“Body To Body”), Paola explored how artists presented their ideas through multiple art forms. Most of those art forms are not traditional though, as most of the presented works were created with the help of the artist’s body. The exhibition covers the 1960s and 1970s and includes pieces by artists including Ketty la Rocca, Marina Abramović, Suzanne Santoro and others.
Ugolini also speaks about Maria Grazia Chiuri and her position as the creative director of Dior, as well as her vision and feminism in Italy. Despite the fact Dior is a French fashion house, Chiuri does not forget her roots and often references Italian artists in her work. The fashion of the 1970s has had its influence on both Paola and Maria too, as Ugolini reminiscences riots and shopping habits of locals at that time. For people then, life was politics, and women would use clothing as a political statement too.
When it comes to industries heavily comprised of female professionals, such as fashion, it is especially important to remember about female rights and equality. A huge number of females are being mistreated in their workplaces and homes every day, so it is crucial to talk about those problems through any communication channel, including art. Only if all believers in feminism come together, the world will finally turn into a safe and encouraging environment for every woman.