Maria Adele Del Vecchio

The paradox of a story where women are the protagonists

By La Galleria Nazionale

Herstory (2014) by Maria Adele Del VecchioLa Galleria Nazionale

I was in the bookshop in Caserta, the city where I was born, chasing titles, back covers, new authors, new fallings in love, epiphanies: I remember that moment very well – I must have been 21 years old – the moment I took a book, a spine among the others, and after a quick glance at the synopsis I put it back thinking “it's written by a woman, I don't want to read a woman.”

The clear sensation of having an intellectually minor product in hand, an unrealistic and emulative stuff, perhaps sentimental, false. It lasted a few seconds, sensations that take longer to explain here than feeling them there, sensations that have, however, changed everything for me.

Who knows how many times before that moment of lucidity I had already set the same mechanism in motion and who knows why that very day I realized I was doing so? Because I noticed it. At that time, I still didn't know who I was, evidently, and what I wanted to do when I grew up: I felt an exuberance to put outside of me, and that it was vital not to hold it back. Writing or film directing, visual arts, things to which I attributed a very strong potential, in my confusion.

Putting that book down, I wondered why, in my understanding, if I discarded a text as it was written by a woman, someone would then have to take me seriously, whatever the cultural, artistic product I hoped, I wanted to propose. Why take me seriously? What was I? A half man? A 'masculone'? What? It was a trauma and also an awakening, to realize that I was full of prejudices, assimilated out of conscience, towards my own nature.

Intellectually less than the male, unrealistic, emulative, sentimental and false: if that author was so for the sole fact of being born with the vagina, I had to be too, despite the libertarian militancy, the study, the love for art. I felt the dazzling sensation of being unjust, incomplete, blind. Afraid. I suddenly discovered how patriarchy acts, deleterious and alive in our psyche to the point of corrupting the feeling of identity and belonging, neuroticizing the relationship with ourselves, with our body.

I don't remember much else of that day, certainly not which title I discarded with bad grace, but I think it is symbolic to tell, here, as I have since experienced, almost an illumination, the passage without sacrifices from my individual history to that herstory that still today I want to build, not only for me.

Maria Adele del Vecchio

Maria Adele Del Vecchio
(Caserta, 1976)

Maria Adele Del Vecchio – visual artist, storyteller, curator, activist, passionate about cinema and self-taught – has formed in a family of artists. Her practice includes the use of various media including installation, sculpture, photography and video.

The heterogeneity of the media used is also found in the topics examined, which vary from politics to history, from literature to sociology, all connected and oriented to a common principle: overcoming the tendency to mass hypnosis, eliminating those automatisms that alter human behavior.

The idea is to work on relationships, on "emotional correspondences" that arise from everyday experience, from direct contact with objects that themselves become works, in an attempt to formulate a new language that contributes to the growth of self-awareness and other.

These suggestions, correspondences and connections are synthesized through a philological investigation which, however, never abandons aesthetic research.

Using the practice of situationist detournement, the artist subjects objects and fragments of reality to a shift of meanings to activate, sometimes in a provocative way, a new awareness on the part of the viewer.

This is the case, for example, of the work Herstory (2011–15), the image of a neon sign where the English word "history" is modified by replacing the masculine pronoun "his" with the feminine "her".

Pointing the finger at a story written and apparently performed only by men, Del Vecchio makes a change of perspective with a simple play on words, insinuating the paradox of a story where women are the protagonists.

"I'm not interested in a story that excludes man from becoming; however, the provocation of my work is important if it creates, even just for a moment, the paradox that history could change and become only ‘hers’”, the artist says.

Paola Ugolini

Credits: Story

Maria Adele del Vecchio and Paola Ugolini

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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