Marinella Pirelli

An improvised action, a private moment right on the body of Carla Lonzi

By La Galleria Nazionale

Indumenti (1966) by Marinella PirelliLa Galleria Nazionale

My friendship with Carla was immediately a meeting of great sympathy, where one's sympathy is the commonality of feeling: similar problems, dissatisfactions of various kinds, including sexual and marital... in short, everything that was then defined in the light of the sun as a claim for recognition of the autonomous female personality. I had no friends: my time could not stay in women's lounges and chatter and gossip and fashionable vagaries and then it had never been my interest to live like this, I was isolated. With Carla, the river of secret confidences opened […]

Indumenti (1966) by Marinella PirelliLa Galleria Nazionale

Becoming individuals for oneself, not as a function of… if not by conscious, completely voluntary free choice. And Carla, not only found words, but calm natural behaviors […]. One evening, a bit for fun, a bit seriously, I filmed what we later called Indumenti, a performance by Luciano [...] I always had the camera with me then, just like a painter has an album and a pencil. In those years I was taking notes with the camera and thus I made my work […] all my available time was for aesthetic operations […]. Thus my Narciso – a 16mm film, continuous shooting, without editing, 90 meters – was born with this group of repressed words. Narciso then, an experience film, which Carla saw already in 1966 and greatly appreciated.

Indumenti (1966) by Marinella PirelliLa Galleria Nazionale

Marinella Pirelli
(Verona, 1925 - Varese, 2009)

Marinella Pirelli is one of the few Italian artists working in experimental cinema for more than fifty years, leaving important works of both kinetic and 16mm art. Even though she came from a family that was quite progressive at the time, when she decided to abandon the Faculty of Letters and Philosophy in Padua, to go first to Milan and then to Rome to attempt a career as an artist, she had to fight against the social conventions of the period, that considered the work of an artist not only difficult but also inconvenient for a woman.

Indumenti (1966) by Marinella PirelliLa Galleria Nazionale

A self-taught painter, she approached the cinematographic medium at the beginning of the 1950s: “All her film production moves along two parallel lines, on the one hand the dialogue with contemporary optical kinetic experiments, on the other her gaze on the female condition and, in particular, on the role of the female artist.”

Indumenti (1966) by Marinella PirelliLa Galleria Nazionale

Marinella is a friend of the Florentine art critic Carla Lonzi, they meet, talk, tell each other, they like each other. "... Both understand that in dialogue with each other they build themselves, that is, the necessary passage to get out of the trap of complementarity.

Indumenti (1966) by Marinella PirelliLa Galleria Nazionale

If Carla Lonzi provides us with the key to understand that the self-portrait is not about the artists she interviews, but about herself thanks to her photos from her life published in the essay Autoritratto from 1969, Marinella Pirelli anticipates with her experiments on film that the self-portrait is accomplished in starting from oneself and from one's own body.

Indumenti (1966) by Marinella PirelliLa Galleria Nazionale

Themes that are central to feminism in the 1970s and even now. At the National Gallery, Indumenti, the 16mm film from 1966–67, is a very short documentary by Luciano Fabro that captures an improvised action, a private moment right on the body of Carla Lonzi.

Indumenti (1966) by Marinella PirelliLa Galleria Nazionale

In the video, Fabro takes the imprint of the breast of the Florentine art critic on a sheet of paper, draws a circle with a pencil, cuts it out and forms a cone by closing it with a pin.

This film is historically important not only because it allows us to enter into the intimacy, or rather the authenticity, of the relationship between the art critic and her friends and fellow artists, but also because it underlines Marinella Pirelli's precocious intuition regarding the importance of documenting artistic actions and gestures.

Paola Ugolini

Credits: Story

Marinella Pirelli and Paola Ugolini
Works cited:
M. Pirelli in L. Aspesi, Film esperienza. Le sperimentazioni cinematografiche tra il 1961 e 1974 in catalogo della mostra “Luce. Movimento. Il cinema sperimentale di Marinella Pirelli” (Museo del Novecento, Milano, 22 marzo – 25 agosto 2019), Milano, Electa, 2019, p. 43.
Lucia Aspesi, Film esperienza. Le sperimentazioni cinematografiche tra il 1961 e il 1974 in Luce e Movimento. Il cinema Sperimentale di Marinella Pirelli. Catalogo pubblicato da Electa della mostra, Milano, Museo del Novecento. 22 marzo-25 agosto 20019.

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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