Centosettantaperottanta | What comes first? - Artistic research project by Sara Conforti
Site and context specific installation
As part of its 13th edition, the Florence Biennale will confer the Special President's Award to Sara Confortifor the high value of her artistic activity, in which art practice and poetic vision are conceived as a pathway to explore the issues that swirl between the ethical and aesthetic conditions of life, investigated within the intricate fabrics of the human condition, involving love, passion and inclusion against the backdrop of economic, social and gender differences. The participation of civil society in her artistic practice, particularly of women who have been subjected to marginality, abuse and violence, has enabled Sara Conforti to perfect an art of relationships as an educational and healing tool, a real experience for cooperation and the enhancement of differences to regenerate self-esteem, independence and freedom.
The artist is exhibiting his artistic research project with the site-specific installation "CENTOSETTANTAPEROTTANTA | WHAT COMES FIRST?" curated by Fortunato D'Amico as part of the VI Festival dell'Outsider Art e dell'Arte Irregolare "Sono altro. Sono altrove" presented today 1 October 2021 at Palazzo Barolo in Turin and will be present at the XIII Florence Biennale, which will welcome the artist as Guest of Honour and as the Winner of the President's Award.
Centosettantaperottanta | What comes first? Artistic research project by Sara Conforti Site and context specific installation
Born from the collaboration with Moleskine Foundation and inspired by the theme of the educational project AtWork 2022
Curated by Fortunato D'Amico
We would like to thank the 70 participants in the 10 research workshops for their co-creation.
A project in collaboration with Moleskine Foundation and Atwork project Fermata D'Autobus Onlus Fragole Celesti - Double Diagnosis Community for the treatment of abuse, violence and maltreatment
The research workshops were hosted by Education Department Castello di Rivoli Museum of Contemporary Art Spazio BAC - Barolo Arti con le Comunità. CCW operational headquarters in Turin Officine Caos - Stalker Teatro - Turin
thanks to VI Festival of Outsider Art and Irregular Art | Palazzo Barolo - Torino Chierese Textile Foundation and Textile Museum
Technical sponsors Sublitex - The Innovative Printing - Alba (Cn) FIDIVI - Tessitura Vergnano SpA Poirino (To) ArNa Passamanerie - Chieri (To) Boselli & C - Como (Italy)
The installation is made possible thanks to the donation of valuable production waste from companies that adopt certified eco-sustainable industrial processes. The 100% polyester fabrics have been produced with yarns derived from the recovery of post-consumer plastic bottles. The prints were made using water free and energy saving processes. Invited in December 2020 to create an exclusive AtWork artist's notebook to be included in the prestigious Moleskine Foundation collection, Sara Conforti seized the opportunity to compose the requested work through the creation of a special research chapter of the Centosettantaperottanta project, an experiential device between talk, archive and performance that the artist has been using since 2011 to conduct her investigation into the complexities of the social fabric and gender through the relationship between dress and habitus. The Centosettantaperottanta workshops represent a space of exploration dedicated to the female universe where the public and private value of dressing meets the possibility of revealing oneself. Focused on a taxonomic practice, the workshops decline and multiply the different chapters of a research that digs into wardrobes to look for and share answers on the relationship with contemporaneity. From being an object - the symbol of our voracious consumer society - the garment becomes a pivotal subject capable of stimulating reflections on individual and collective identity through autobiographical processes and reminiscence. The clothes of affection - in particular - become the protagonists of "affective" autopsies and the fulcrum of a journey of the self for the birth of new narratives that inspire change. For the construction and consolidation of an identity, social and ecological awareness aimed at the creation of new models of community.
The research project Centosettantaperottanta | What comes first? therefore continues the usual practice of gender-oriented investigation between dress and habitus, crossing the question of the educational project AtWork 2022, which is used as an incipit to inaugurate this special course carried out during the isolation caused by the Covid 19 emergency and realised over 7 months (December 2020 - July 2021) through 10 workshops - 7 remote and 3 in presence. The project involved 70 participants in a generative sharing circuit: the rule was that each participant would invite a significant woman to take part in the next workshop. The artistic research work developed around three themes: each woman's response to the question: what comes first?, a reflection on happiness through her own photograph and an investigation into the concept of joy involving a dress of affection worn on a festive day. The process ended with the choice of three key words extracted from the thematic storytelling and used for the participatory creation of an evocative composition using the narrative technique of stream of consciousness. The sentence that emerged was embroidered on a special white fabric sent by the artist to all the participants when they joined the project, together with an embroidery loom and a Moleskine notebook on which to transfer - within 30 days - the traces of the shared experience and their own reflections, leaving maximum room for personal creativity. The intensity of the group work - despite the virtual mode - gave rise to a chain of value in the real; an industrious relay race capable of overcoming a time full of forced distances. Living in different regions of Italy, the participants brought their precious diaries and textile artefacts to the artist's studio. Carefully and lovingly dispatched, these diaries, full of life experience, climbed the existential and logistical barriers of a complex middle age, illuminating the narrow path of our dark days with hope.
Sara Conforti was born in Turin in 1973. She graduated from the Istituto Statale d'arte Aldo Passoni for fashion and costume design in Turin. She studied Modern Art History and Artistic Literature at DAMS - University of Turin. She obtained a master's degree I level in Environmental Communication IED - Turin. From 2003 to 2011 she was creative assistant to the artist Michelangelo Pistoletto and Cultural Manager for Cittadellarte - Fondazione Pistoletto. Since 2013 she has collaborated in the conception of artistic and performance projects with Campagna Abiti Puliti - Clean Clothes Campaign, the largest clothing industry alliance of trade unions and non-governmental organisations for the improvement of working conditions in the clothing industry. For FAIR and Campagna Abiti Puliti she is the creator and Artistic Supervisor of the Docufilm: The Wings Are not for sale in March 2021. Since 2014 she has been collaborating with Associazione Tessile e Salute (Textile and Health Association) in the drafting of artistic projects for the dissemination of eco-toxicological impacts in the textile and fashion sectors.
Sara Conforti is a militant artist - activist. Her practice explores the complexities of the social fabric and gender together with social, political and environmental issues. She is the author of performance, artistic research and social sculpture projects that focus on clothing, which, from being an object-symbol of our voracious consumer society, becomes a pivotal subject capable of stimulating profound reflections on individual and collective identity thanks to the reactivation of the process of reminiscence. A practice for the construction of shared, mnemonic and manual processualities that pass from the biographical dimension and flow into choral works for the generation of new rituals and ties. In order to look together at the gears of this middle time that can no longer bear anything that lasts and is represented so minutely by the spatial and temporal relationship with our clothes. A moral and political commitment that Sara Conforti pursues thanks to the salvific function of that art which is linked to the community and which places itself at the centre of places and moments in which the group recognises itself and builds relationships. A need that addresses the contingencies of the present time with profound reflections and mappings that involve habitus and dress in the terrain of anthropological art. The garment becomes a totem and thus becomes a privileged element of research in and for the social sphere, aimed at collecting pieces for the reinterpretation of that eternal search for harmony between humanity and the inhumanity of everyday gestures. One of the many is the ferocious contemporary compulsive buying. This is why, for almost twenty years, Sara has been pursuing her studies aimed at understanding the complex fashion system, its social, health, environmental and psychological impacts, in order to generate a prism of knowledge that defines her artistic practice directed towards the search for forms of preservation of values and human rights. For Sara Conforti, our clothes are metaphors, symptoms or drivers of choices - of identities lost or rediscovered - witnesses to places, official representatives of stereotypes, traumas and joys. Her practice - her poetics - revolves around the empty centre of the fashion system through an exploration of the semantics of dressing as a phenomenon that characterises a contemporary society in search of identity.
She conducts her investigation through the project Centosettantaperottanta (One hundred and seventy-eighty) inaugurated in the spaces of the Education Department of the Castello di Rivoli Museo d'Arte Contemporanea in 2012. The title derives from the measurement of a "man's" shirt, but identifies a space of exploration dedicated to the female universe where the public and private value of memory and experience can be revealed. One hundred and seventy-eighty is a taxonomic practice that declines and multiplies the different chapters of a research that delves into wardrobes to search for and share answers. The clothes of the participants in the workshops of the project thus become the protagonists of "affective" autopsies and the fulcrum of a journey of the self in relation to the group, for the birth of new narratives. Clothes representing joy, pain, abuse, the journey, the "last journey". Garments of the father, of the mother. Of those who are no longer with us and of those who have just started life. A dress/accessory of affection, a photo the writing of a private memory that becomes public and shared, meaningful words that become signs sewn on participatory textile works. A widespread reflection to connect and listen to the community. Bringing back to the heart the emotions embedded in the wefts that become a sensitive trace between talk, archive and performance. A direct consequence of Centosettantaperottanta's investigations is the performance project 13600HZ Concert for sewing machines, which the artist has been building since 2013 around the sound of sewing machines. Each time a site-specific Tableau Vivant focused on the theme of research generates a new stage construction. A choral work in which the participants in the workshops are further involved in the bodily and dramaturgical expression to elaborate the contents of their personal investigations that flow into the performative act. The action and the spectacle of the reflections become a political gesture and a conscious denunciation of the productive distortions of the fashion system that engulfs identity. To fill the information gap regarding the environmental and social impacts of the turbo fashion system, in 2011 Sara Conforti founded hòferlab ass. cult. A multidisciplinary platform to connect the culture of ethical fashion with the social, artistic and production system; to stimulate debate on the main drivers of sustainable innovation, bringing them to the attention of a public increasingly aware of the environmental and social criticalities of the global fashion system. By networking with important cultural, educational and production stakeholders in the regional and national territory, hòferlab ass. cult. organises workshops, training courses, meetings, seminars, conventions and periodic reviews to stimulate a change in lifestyle, consumption and production in favour of more responsible models that respect human rights and the environment. The driving force behind a direct itinerant educational action is the ànticasartoriaerrante project, nomadic workshops for sustainable fashion dedicated to circular-design and self-production. A women's network to open a critical "discussion" through an artistic and manual way of doing things to amplify women's protagonism in schools, in the heart of city neighbourhoods, in the suburbs, in squares, in places of aggregation, but also in places of care and marginality where the pursuit of gender redemption is expressed with overwhelming strength and courage: reception centres, psychiatric centres, prisons, cancer centres, therapeutic communities. Those invisible cities where it is essential to be able to practice the side step and where the art and welfare approach enters the helping relationship to respond to the urgency. In 2017 Sara Conforti founded Lalàgeatelier - Dispositivi Vestimentari. A project for the social and professional relocation of women in a state of fragility that combines art, fashion and production, teaching and care, territory, corporate social responsibility and circular economy for the production of Capsule Collection in Upcycling. Realised in cooperation with Fragole Celesti - Comunità doppia diagnosi femminile for the treatment of abuse, maltreatment and violence and Fermata d'Autobus onlus, it benefits from the patronage of the Tessile e Salute association of Biella and the involvement of certified textile companies of Biella's excellence. The project aims to combine respect for the individual and the environment in accordance with the principles of the circular economy, thanks to the recovery of valuable end-of-piece textiles used in a local supply chain for a new value chain that links the work of the users of the Fragole Celesti community with that of the women guests of other organisations and structures responsible for defending and caring for fragile women in the region.
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