EXHIBITION BY RENATA RAMPAZZI CRUOR – blood shed by women
A new installation on
the theme of violence against women
Violence against women has become a daily ritual. Now only treated as a matter of fact in crime news stories, the topic requires renewed thinking to achieve a greater awareness of the issues.
In this sense, through its characteristically direct language, art can also play an important role in raising awareness to encourage a responsible rejection of and rebellion against the phenomenon.
These are the premises for Renata Rampazzi’s exhibition entitled CRUOR – sangue sparso di donne (Cruor – blood shed by women), due to run from 6 April to 17 June 2018 at the Fondazione Giorgio Cini in Venice.
Accompanied by a previously unpublished writing by Dacia Maraini and a critical text by Claudio Strinati, the exhibition consists of a large installation by an artist who is a very incisive witness to her age.
Since the late 1970s, the theme of violence, blood and pain have featured so prominently in Renata Rampazzi’s creative universe as to become the most characteristic idiom in her artistic development.
“Many of my works” – Renata Rampazzi comments – “bore traces of my emotional turmoil caused by real-life instances of male oppression. It was a personal cry, an uneasiness that revolved around sex and the metaphor of the wound, referring to actions and behaviours still generally concealed and hushed up. Today in terms of diffusion, violence and ostentation, they are not only a social phenomenon polluting western societies but in various ways call for denunciation, rebellion, the rejection of complicity and subjection in all individual and collective expressions of culture, power and social life.”
Faced with the current resurgence of violence against women, Renata Rampazzi has returned to this topic in new works, made with materials and forms that communicate in an even more direct and compelling way.
At the Fondazione Giorgio Cini, the CRUOR exhibition, specially designed for the Sala Borges on the Island of San Giorgio Maggiore, combines the past with the present. A present in which canvases are replaced by gauzes alluding to bandages on wounds and sores – the signs of disfigurement. In these works, the pigments and densely painted swaths in hues of red, also containing traces of blood, refer to the tragic reality of the victims’ slashed bodies, mutilations, insults and sufferings.
The exhibition itinerary starts with the works made by Renata Rampazzi in the 1970s and ’80s and ends with an installation specifically made for the occasion. Meant to be more than a straightforward moment of contemplation, the installation consists of a labyrinth of cloths and gauzes hanging from the ceiling to a deep-red floor. The work physically and emotionally envelops visitors, involving them not only aesthetically but also emotionally and socially.
Published by Edizioni Sabinae, the bilingual (Italian and English) exhibition catalogue includes texts by Dacia Maraini and Claudio Strinati.
During the exhibition, the Fondazione Giorgio Cini will host a round table on the theme of violence against women, coordinated by the historian Francesca Medioli. The speakers will include Chiara Valentini, Dacia Maraini, Luciana Castellina and Chiara Saraceno.
Renata Rampazzi was born into a family of Italian-French origins in Turin. At an early age she became passionate about painting. After studying at art high school, she graduated in architecture from the University of Turin.
In the late 1970s and early ’80s, when Turin, like Rome, was a centre of artistic experimentation influenced by the abstract art of the United States and France, she took part in the cultural life of the city and frequented its leading figures, such as Umberto Mastroianni, Antonio Carena, Adriano Parisot, Piero Ruggeri, Marcello Levi, Paolo Fossati and Luigi Carluccio. Her work at this time was still drew on a remotely figurative inspiration, as she applied the paints on the canvas with a spatula in lively, broad swaths of varying thicknesses. In 1973 she had her first major solo exhibition at the Galleria dello Scudo, Verona.
In 1974, she was invited to hold a solo show at the Asolo International Art Festival, organised with the Fondation Maeght. In 1975, she exhibited at the Olivetti Centre in Paris. To further her studies and gain international experience, she attended the Salzburg Fine Arts School founded by Oskar Kokoschka, before going on to work with Emilio Vedova, which brought her into direct contact with abstract expressionism. She also worked with the Chinese artist Zao-Wou-Ki, while through Jean Clerté she became familiar with the art of Alechinsky and other members of the Cobra group.
Renata Rampazzi first showed her powerfully expressionistic works like wounds stemming from deep suffering at the Galleria Vismara Arte Contemporanea, Milan, in 1977. Having moved with the film director Giorgio Treves to Rome, where she still lives and works, she set up a studio first in Piazza del Biscione and then in Via del Governo Vecchio. She was now producing mainly large format works with increasingly looser brushstrokes, full of transparencies and colours. At this time, she did her first gouaches and oil pastels on paper. She also became involved in cinema, and for the film Conversation Piece, Luchino Visconti asked her to paint some blue and purple canvases, which, alluding to Thomas Mann, the great director called “my magic mountains”. Another film director, Margarethe von Trotta, collected Rampazzi’s works and several of her paintings feature in the sets for The African Woman and The Long Silence. Her works also appear in films by Mimmo Calopresti (La parola amore esiste) and Mario Martone (L’odore del sangue). She has collaborated with various architects and interior designers including Marika Carniti Bollea for whom she painted an 80-metre tulle. She continued to hold exhibitions, including major solo shows at the Palazzo dei Diamanti, Ferrara (1984) and the Petit Palais d’Art Moderne, Geneva (1989).
After a period of ill-health, in which her painting took the form of multiple compositions and small-sized works, in 2005 she exhibited in a collective show at the Palazzo dei Capitani, Ascoli Piceno. In 2006, she was given a large retrospective at the Archivio di Stato, Turin. In 2010, Vittorio Sgarbi curated a solo show of her works at the former Convent of San Nicolò, held during the Festival of the Two Worlds at Spoleto. In 2011, she exhibited with the Galleria Marino at Artparis 2011, the Grand Palais, Paris and was invited to the 54th Venice International Biennale, for the collective show at the Palazzo Venezia, Rome. In 2013 she held a solo show at the Espace Culturel, Le Lavandou, curated by Olivier Kaeppelin, director of the Fondation Maeght.