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Giosetta Fioroni's first solo exhibition in North America opens at the Drawing Center
Giosetta Fioroni, Film still from La solitudine femminile (Female Solitude), 1967. Film with Rosanna Tofanelli Guerrin. Black-and-white Super 8 film. Silent, Duration: 7 min. Courtesy of the artist.

NEW YORK, NY.- The Drawing Center presents Giosetta Fioroni: L’Argento, the artist’s first solo exhibition in North America. Featuring over seventy drawings, thirty paintings, ten illustrated books as well as related ephemera, Giosetta Fioroni: L’Argento not only expands our understanding of post-World War II Italian art but also enable a crucial reinvestigation of the Pop aesthetic more generally, an initiative already undertaken by such major exhibitions as Seductive Subversion: Women Pop Artists 1958-1968 at the Brooklyn Museum, Power Up-Female Pop Art at Kunsthalle Wein (both 2010) and Sinister Pop at The Whitney Museum of American Art (2012-2013). It is above all Fioroni’s investment in drawing, which remains at the core of all of her work including her painting, that emphatically distinguishes her practice from that of her American Pop art peers. The exhibition takes place in the Main Gallery, Drawing Room and The Lab and is curated by Claire Gilman, Curator. Giosetta Fioroni: L’Argento will also be on view from October 31, 2013–February 23, 2014 at Galleria nazionale d'arte moderna e contemporanea in Rome.

Working primarily with silver enamel paint and graphite, Fioroni developed a unique aesthetic featuring figures taken from 1960s Italian cinema and magazines, as well as family photographs. Her largely female subjects are frequently caught in the act of looking and, framed with perspective lines and leftover pencil tracings, her paintings and drawings appear to chart the viewer’s imaginative and visual process as well. Indeed, the evident drawn lines that define and frame her subjects indicate not just a sustained investment in the handmade, but also, as one critic puts it, “a fidelity to sight,” to the way in which images are transmitted and received. Fioroni’s figures are not simply found, they are intended — reconstructed in and through the act of perception. In this way, Fioroni offers an alternative to the pervasive view of Pop art as instantiating a male dominating gaze and passive female subject. She does this, however, not by liberating female sexuality in the manner of American female Pop artists like Pauline Boty and Marjorie Strider, but rather, by deconstructing the gaze and making observation itself her subject.

Giosetta Fioroni: L’Argento opens with Fioroni’s drawings from the late fifties featuring obscure notations alongside recognizable signs such as hearts and arrows executed in pastel and pen-andink. Immediately after completing these drawings, Fioroni simplified her aesthetic, executing a group of silver monochromes dated 1959-61 empty but for framing lines that foreshadow the work to come. Three of these paintings frame the entrance to the Main Gallery which has been hung with paintings and drawings from Fioroni’s L’Argento (silver) period (1963-1970). The Drawing Room features twenty of Fioroni’s silver landscape drawings from the early seventies whose lyrical minimalism has inspired texts by such renowned Italian thinkers as Goffredo Parise (with whom Fioroni had a longstanding relationship until his death in 1986), Vittorio Gregotti, and Alberto Moravia. Finally, three of the artist’s films are being screened in The Lab. The show also contains drawings and illustrated books inspired by theater, literature, and fairytales, as well as documentary material relating to early performances, and miscellaneous objects including a little theater that the artist executed in 1969. Significantly, Fioroni has argued that all of her work has its basis in theater, theater being the art form that, more than any other, unites narrative staging with the act of beholding.

Giosetta Fioroni (b. 1932, Rome, Italy) was the only female member of the Scuola di Piazza del Popolo, a group of artists that emerged in Rome during the 1960s around the famous Galleria La Tartaruga. Fioroni had numerous solo exhibitions at La Tartaruga throughout the 1960s and 1970s and she participated in landmark group exhibitions such as Nuove tendenze in Italia at Galleria del Naviglio, Milan, Italy (1966); and Vitalità del negativo nell’arte italiana 1960/70 at Palazzo delle Esposizioni, Rome, Italy (1970-71). Other important solo shows include Galerie Breteau, Paris, France (1963); Galleria del Naviglio, Milan, Italy (1965, 1967, 1969, 1971); Modern Art Agency, Naples, Italy (1968); Galleria Il Punto, Turin, Italy (1970); and Galleria de’ Foscherari, Bologna, Italy (1974). In 1972, a large-scale retrospective of the artist’s work was exhibited at Centro Attivitá Visive del Palazzo dei Diamanti in Ferrara, Italy. Fioroni participated in the Venice Biennale in 1956 and 1964, and she was assigned a personal room at the 1993 Venice Biennale. The artist currently lives and works in Rome, Italy.

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