THE WOMEN’S BURDEN – Valeria Costa
curated by Valentina Gioia Levy and Pier Paolo Scelsi
Venice, Palazzo Contarini del Bovolo
16 February 2019 – 28 April 2019
The exhibition features a selection of pictorial pieces that were executed between the late 60s and the early 80s by the artist Valeria Costa (1912-2003). Towards the end of the 60s, the artist abandoned the stark realism, close to the German style, that had characterized her earlier work in order to experiment with new modes, genres and styles.
If neo-expressionist rawness apparently did not appeal to female artists, as is demonstrated by the scarce presence of female names within this international trend, Costa seemed to embrace its principles with enthusiasm. As a matter of fact, some of the distinctive features of Costa’s works between the 60s and 80s are the violent use of colour and pictorial matter and the almost obsessive interest for the human figure, which appears deformed in traits and proportions as if it was afflicted by the weight of a deep existential apprehension.
The exhibition focuses exactly on this part of the artist’s production, especially on the pieces where the suffering of women, a theme dear to Costa, is present in all its forms. Birth, maternity, family, death, war, fear, defence are all key words that inspired this selection of paintings which can be considered as a female version of Dante’s path in relation to the sketch of Paradise by Jacopo Tintoretto (1588; belonging to the collections of IRE) which celebrates the coronation of Mary in heaven.
The exhibition, curated by Pier Paolo Scelsi and Valentina Gioia Levy, has been organized with the collaboration and support of Valeria Costi Piccini Heritage Fund, a non-profit institution with the aim of supporting the preservation and promotion of the work of the artist both in Italy and abroad.