Happiness. Pouf au sentiment
Wednesday April 10th , 6 p.m.
On the occasion of the Salone del Mobile 2019, Florencia Martinez presents a site-specific project, titled Happiness, designed specifically for the tiny, but valuable upper floor at Gilda Contemporary Art headquarter.
The Argentine artist experiments art design, looking at the figure of Marie Antoinette, the questionable and often contested last Queen of France.
Marie Antoinette got married when she was only fourteen and was really young when she became queen: Florencia Martinez is so curious about her, captures some aspects of her life that makes this historical figure less wicked and cynical than is widely assumed. The 16-year-old queen Marie Antoinette tried to find her own personal style, in order to appear worthy of respect and reverence. For her, incredible hair styles such as poufs, up to three feet (90 cm) high, were created, put upon a metal framework with padding, flowers, fresh fruit and even stuffed animals.
The artist is almost soft for Marie Antoinette’s will to appear and to cast herself free from her queen role, for her cloaked emotional frailty, a clear sign of uncertainty. At the same time, Florencia Martinez sees a similarity with behaviour that goes beyond the specific historical background and concerns femininity at large, up to the present days.
Few people know that Maria Antoinette’s hair styles were designed especially for her by her talented hairstylist, and that later her hair styles became the current fashion under the name of pouf de sentiment, since the hairdressers aimed at interpreting the woman’s feelings and each style was inspired end designed on a woman, according to her mood and her personality. Years later, the piece of furniture called pouf was named after Marie Antoinette’s hair styles.
The colourful seats designed by Florencia Martinez boast a palette of complementary colours that unexpectedly meet primary colours. They are first of all pieces of furniture, but they bear the artist’s mark, as they are made of small colorful fabric bundles tied with strings, a distinctive feature of the artist’s production. This is a full-fledged art-design, where the artist brings her style, but also her soul, as well as some distinctive features of her artwork, this time just to make them joyfully subservient to a specific function: to sit down, relax, dream, lost in thought.
There are also trapestries inspired by Marie Antoinette on display, that in some way give context to the small seats on the charming upper floor of the Milan gallery, in the heart of the 5 Vie borough.[x_accordion_item title=” Florencia Martinez”] By means of her work, Florencia Martinez aims to show something that we haven’t seen, or at least not repeated so obsessively. If we feel like we have filled with photos each single second of our life in a short time, so we have to do something with this huge Abstract Memory of Time. Even materials are classified on the basis of class, caste and purity. A poor string that ties and patches is never regarded seriously, just like a female artist is never taken as serious as a male artist.
Nevertheless, with the firmness of a Private 2nd Class, of a baker at dawn, of a fisherman and a cat, Florencia Martinez holds her course, like pollen among a thousand allergies.
Florencia Martinez is an Italo-Argentine artist, born in Buenos Aires on 4 October 1962. Her Italian grandparents raised her in a Little Italy quarter, and she still recalls Christmas lunches in the summertime, eating winter dishes.This sort of displacement, this belonging to “elsewhere”, her memories to keep and to investigate are clearly manifested and are among the main themes of her works. This constant research led her to use fabric, her primordial material.
Over the years, fabric has changed role; from container and co-protagonist in her photographic works it has become the main theme of her most recent works, has become tridimesional, has become sculpture. Among her recent personal shows: H honey hungry home in 2017, L’amore mio è buonissimo (My love is delicious) in 2008, Sotto il bosco di latte (Under the Milky Wood) in 2010, La chiamavano mille miglia (They Called It Mille Miglia), in 2014 and Carritos in 2015. She presented her site-specific personal show To Fill a Gap at AAI (AFRO ASIATISCHES INSTITUT) in 2016 in Graz, Austria. Among her collective shows: in 2007, at Palazzo Reale 1968-2007 Pittura Italiana curated by Vittorio Sgarbi; in 2010, Ritratti Italiani (Italian Portraits), at the Modern Art Gallery in Cento; in 2011, at the 54th International Art Exhibition, Biennale di Venezia Padiglione Italia; in 2012 Perurbaciones (Disruptions) at the Museo de Bellas Artes in Havana (Cuba); in 2014, POP UP ITALIAN SHOW, Hubei Museum of Arts, Wuhan, Hubei, China; Femminile, plurale (Feminime, Plural) at the Galleria Biffi in Piacenza, curated by Alessandra Redaelli; and Tessere Storie (Weaving Stories) at the Fabbrica del Vapore in Milan
Attraverso il suo lavoro, Florencia Martinez vuole solamente mostrare qualcosa che non abbiamo visto, o almeno non ripetuto in modo così ossessivo. Se l’impressione è quella di aver riempito in poco tempo tutto lo spazio di documentazioni fotografiche di ogni singolo secondo della nostra vita, allora bisogna fare qualcosa con questa enorme Memoria Astratta del Tempo.