If during the Middle Ages “textile arts enjoyed an important place in the panteon artistic”, it was in the Renaissance that they came to be seen as inferior practices to other forms of expression – the so-called fine arts. In the Industrial Revolution, this narrative intensifies, instilling in these practices the ideas of femininity and reproducibility. Whether by workers in the textile industry or women who embroider at home, the practice is seen increasingly far from the genius of an artist and closer to characteristics of submission. As the curator Ana Paula Simioni, who brings us this contextualization, explains, it is to this historically constructed image that Overflowing: Embroidery Transgressions in art it seeks to oppose.

“Precisely the show's greatest desire is to provoke questions about these notions linked to embroidery, namely the notions that it is a feminine, docile and domestic practice”, explains Simioni. The exhibition, on display at sesc Until the 8th of May, Pinheiros brings together more than 100 works by 39 artists, both men and women, who revisit the discourses of passivity, domesticity and femininity attributed to embroidery – transgressing them – and invite us to rethink the symbolic role of the practice. and its potency as an artistic expression.

Work from the series "Backstage", by Rosana Paulino, part of the exhibition "Overflowing: transgressions of embroidery in art". Photograph of a black woman printed in black and white on a round embroidery hoop. Over the character's mouth, covering it completely, there is an aggressive embroidery in black thread. End of description.
Work from the series “Backstage”, by Rosana Paulino. Photo: Courtesy of the artist

Over the photograph of a black woman, an aggressive embroidery covers her mouth, silencing her. The work of Rosana Paulino, part of the series Stretched, communicates Brazilian racial violence, especially against women. “Can we say that this embroidery is docile, is it passive?”, asks Ana Paula Simioni. In the middle of one of the exhibition rooms, we came across a beautiful and delicate dress, made by Nazareth Pacheco. However, it is when we approach the piece that we see that the dress is composed mostly of razors. “The idea of ​​the dress as what adorns the woman, which is feminine and passive, in her work is completely overturned. It is a piece that if you wear it, you will have the entire body cut.” Classic women's clothing appears several times in the show, with different connotations. Another example is the work Zuzu Angel, who transformed the dress in protest about the disappearance of her son in the midst of the military dictatorship.

For the curator, these works clearly explain a characteristic common to most of the works exhibited in Overflowing: transgressions of embroidery in art. “These are productions capable of enchanting and disturbing at the same time. Enchanting because in general they are beautiful, they bring plastically seductive elements, but at the same time – whether through the themes they address, or through the very making – they make us think about the different modes of violence that surround us in our societies.”

However, it is not new that embroidery assumes a critical role and this view of the practice is not limited to the examples cited. “In the XNUMXth century there is a critical resumption of this type of production. It is not by chance that women in the vanguard are taking up the textile arts in a completely different sense, in a sense of actually disturbing and transgressing these hierarchies”, says Simioni. Thus, in the midst of works that bring narratives about Latin American dictatorships, racial, LGBTQ+, class and gender struggles, and names such as Bispo do Rosário, Leonilson, Anna Bella Geiger, Regina Gomide Graz and many others, the exhibition proposes to go beyond the limits that divide embroidery from art.

To understand the matter further, the arte!brasileiros visited the exhibition alongside curator Ana Paula Simioni. Watch the video:

Overflowing: transgressions of embroidery in art runs until May 8, 2021. For everyone's safety in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, everyone's body temperature is taken at the entrance and the use of masks is mandatory throughout the visit.

Book your ticket on the Sesc Pinheiros website.

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