Simmetrie Asimmetriche is the first exhibition in the cycle titled Paròla, affermazione femminile, marking the opening of the Studiolo exhibition space of the De Pietri Artphilein Foundation.
The works on display are Aurélie Nemours, Symmetrie, 1982 and Carey Young, Obsidian Contract, 2010.
Aurélie Nemours and Carey Young, two women belonging to different generations who – albeit with different media, means of representation, aims and messages – both call on the onlooker to reflect on the use of lexicon in art: those words that condition all our lives.
The artist’s book Symmetrie fully represents the culmination of her artistic career: her arrival at the square. After having experimented with other geometric lines and shapes, between 1965 and 1970, the artist decided to focus exclusively on the square, where she sees the whole of universal expression – exclusion and inclusion, the material and the immaterial – of ‘everything’: the ugly and the beautiful, the easy and the difficult, the ephemeral and the perennial, the essential and the elaborate, the line, the circle and all the colours, being, having, giving, youth, old age, death… As Aurélie Nemours explains in her poem that accompanies the graphics of Symmetrie, black includes everything; white gives everything, and colour is an offering. And at the end, for Aurélie Nemours, everything returns to an unstable cosmic symmetry.
Belonging to another generation and a far cry from the expectations and propositions that emerged between the 1960s and ’70s, Carey Young offers a more disenchanted and eminently political reading of the use of the word. For her own artistic explorations, she employs devices and languages typical of other disciplines, such as for example economics, law, the sciences, marketing and political rhetoric. In her work on show, Obsidian Contract, Carey Young presents a contract printed backwards and reflected in a black mirror, a tool which conjures up reference to a long tradition of witchcraft and allusions to the occult in many cultures. Only in the ephemeral vision of the words reflected in the mirror may the onlooker grasp the contents of the contract, i.e. the metamorphosis of the unlawful into the lawful, in an absurd manipulation of what is forbidden in the ‘real’ public sphere being instead permitted in the mirror’s reflection.
Both artists offer a strong message, a stimulus to reflect on the world as a whole, with a particular focus placed on the opposites, almost as if wishing to confuse us with regard to what should and should not be. Aurélie Nemours’s message is apparently more reassuring, even though the symmetry she invokes is implicitly fragile and ephemeral; meanwhile, the words of Carey Young are bitterly unnerving, and her apocalyptic message leaves no room for consolation. It’s up to us to find a solution to make our way in this world permeated by asymmetric symmetries.