“Health has never produced anything.

Unhappiness is a gift. I eat only to nourish the pain.

The preparation for death lasts a lifetime.”

Alda Merini

Numerous artists of the twentieth century have measured themselves with the representation of consumer goods and food, binding themselves also in a provocative way to the society of the time.

Just think of the Campbell’s and Andy Warhol’s Coca Cola bottles, or the huge and soft Oldenburg sandwiches until you get to the performances of Vanessa Beecroft who put anorexic models on the table.

In contemporary society, women seem to have a difficult relationship with nurturing. Food and feeding are generally given meanings that sometimes take on decidedly pathological connotations, and which prescind only the act of eating, as indicated by the current social debate that keeps the spotlight always on. The artists invited to the exhibition have not spared themselves in trying to define in an intriguing, assertive and not politically correct way the absolute ambiguity of the relationship between femininity and nutritive act, trying to create a sign iconography that leads to an elementary action for not directly explaining the content.

This is the case of Daniela Alfarano, whose fragile body – a cross formed by six small feathers delineated virtuously with the black and white of the graphite – underlines the suffering and inner fragility of wanting to be light at all costs, almost disappearing inside the sense of inadequacy experienced in front of a body that can not be accepted. A solitude marked by the search for an ethereal and primitive purity that sometimes touches the pathology. The concept of Tamara Ferioli on Limerence is also approaching this concept, the love obsession that can lead to compulsive states, described with the melting of the light pencil mark and the threads of its copper hair that tangle on the subtlety of Japanese paper, or the family table set with crockery and armed with Ketra, with the eloquent title Protect me from myself that suggests an attempt to self-protection by a hypothetical daughter, disturbing like the threatening mirror that reflects it and shows a toxic way of eating.

A family that although often aided by eating disorders sometimes favors nostalgic feelings, as in the Teapot-teapot of memories of Oriella Montin that evokes with her perfumes an acceptance of bygone times, fixing it in an eternal image. Different is the bread nailed soaked in Holy bread wine that refers instead not only to nourishment – symbol of the Body of He who feeds the soul of Christendom with his eternal sacrifice, redeeming it from its faults, but also to the daily cross of human persons. A place par excellence metaphor of a precise existential condition is the kitchen that for Marina Gasparini is transformed into walking words, words walking on hypothetical fabric walls, transparent sentences that can be crossed by the double reading, in recto and verso, which unite the walk to the writing like Michel de Certeau or other philosophers and young poetesses embroidered in crochet on the walls, alluding to writing as a habitable home and a subversive place. Elements linked to the feminine have always been the shoes that in the photographic work of the debutant Silvia Marchesini allude to sensuality, to the will to appear and join the ancient memory scale to stigmatize the social combination “fashion – weight control” that requires a extreme perfection to the limit of madness. But not only. The red-lacquered shoes are a message behind the irony of the oxymoron of an imperfect fragility and of a pained soul that has no weight.

Even Sonia Andreani returns to the body, recreating the stereotype. In the Ogm-setting the female figures portrayed without clothes on, symbol of a pure and iconic beauty as if they were contemporary nymphs, are boxed in a sort of metal sarcophagus that acts as a constrictive prison. A woman reduced to object and food to feed herself, a sacrificial victim of her executioner’s greed. And if women are the first targets of food dysfunction, subjugated and subjugated by their disorders and social contingency, even the girls are unconsciously viaticum, while accepting candies from strangers, those colorful and delicious outputs from the brushstrokes of Giovanna Sottini so apparently harmless in their garish colors in reality devious and ambiguous in their showing a childish plague far from resolved.

Written by Francesca Baboni