Silvers and Fairy Tales: Giosetta Fioroni

A feminine presence in the Roman POP group

By La Galleria Nazionale

Ragazza TV (1964) by Giosetta FioroniLa Galleria Nazionale

Childhood memories

Giosetta Fioroni was born in Rome in 1932. As the daughter of two artists, her childhood years were a constant reference throughout her artistic career: “In all my work, childhood is a common thread of sorts, and a very special one, lived among elements intimately of a visionary nature.

All this played a major role in favouring certain things, certain shots, even certain ways of imagining space. A space that was always so remote, as happens on a stage, on a proscenium”.

Artistic education

Fioroni's artistic career was consolidated by her studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in Rome.

There, she was a pupil of Toti Scialoja, a multifaceted artist, whose abstract-concrete pictorial work combined with the experience of theatre - numerous collaborations with writers, musicians and directors - and poetry. This constituted a key influence in young Fioroni's artistic education.

Silver of cinema

In the late '50s, Giosetta Fioroni moved to Paris for a few years. In the City of Light, she spent hours on end at the cinémathèque, watching French avant-garde cinema as well as the American cinema. The black and white film of cinema - and photography - give rise to what will become one of the artist's distinguishing traits: silver.

In recent years, her work has been a continuous transcription of memories: “a journal of emotions through memory, from the oldest, childish, adolescent, to the present days. Translating this into a montage of symbols: from the simplest, nearly geometric... to the continuous, neurotic experience with nagging images of the city, the road, the journey, the cinema, the crowd." (G.F., 1961).

The artists of Piazza del Popolo

In 1963, she returned to Rome and joined the artistic group connected to the Piazza del Popolo School, which included Mario Schifano, Renato Mambor, Tano Festa, Pino Pascali and Franco Angeli, leaders of a cultural movement to be named "Roman Pop".

In those years, Fioroni's canvases were made with industrial colours, aluminium and gold, bearing writings, symbols and frames, placed side by side and superimposed. During this phase, the Roman artist assumed as a distinctive figure the silver colour that will characterise her works between 1964 and 1967, the subjects of which are often women.

Elsa Martinelli (1966) by Giosetta FioroniLa Galleria Nazionale

“I worked a lot not so much on feminism as I did on femininity - which are two different things. In a period of lively feminism, I was interested in the looks and atmospheres related to femininity."

Pop Biennale

In 1964, Giosetta Fioroni was among the protagonists of the XXVIII Venice Biennale, where she met Cy Twombly, Emilio Vedova, and the writer Germano Lombardi. The artist herself recalls: "The 1964 Biennale proposed both the American Pop, so conspicuously linked to magnified or deformed objects such as that of Jim Dine, and the art of Rauschenberg and the Nouveau Réalisme, which was not really Pop."

Often compared to Andy Warhol's work for the use of silver, Fioroni's subjects were actually very different. The images of the father of American pop art described the great symbols of the consumer world, while Fioroni's were images with a more subjective narrative edge.

Love, literature, theatres, fairy tales

Giosetta Fioroni was a frequent visitor of intellectuals, writers and directors of the '60s Rome who met at the Rosati Café. It was precisely there that she ran into the Venetian writer Goffredo Parise in 1963, becoming his life partner until his untimely death in 1986.

Since 1969, she has been approaching the world of fairy tales and legends, creating the first "theatres": painted wooden theatre boxes in which she assembles imaginary rooms and miniature objects.

The memories of childhood got stronger; Giosetta's mother had been a puppet player, and the magic of the small theatres was imprinted in her memory. Her first experiences with the camera and photography come from this period.

The house in the woods, the books, the pottery

During the '70s, the interest in legends and spirits continued when Fioroni moved to the countryside for long periods, staying at Goffredo Parise's house in Salgareda: this experience led to a series of works dedicated to fairy tales and the rediscovery of childhood.

During the '80s, the artist continued her collaboration with writers and poets, creating works on paper, books and graphics. In 1993, she took part once again in the Venice Biennale with a personal exhibition, a period in which she began her ceramic works, creating important sculptural cycles.

“Giosetta Fioroni walks very lightly, as the girls of the fifties did. She nurtured her style of those years like a millet seed in a glass of cotton drenched in water every morning." (Goffredo Parise)

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