La Figlia Preferita, 2016-2017
Photography & Installation
Marilisa Cosello in her art practice brings to light ancient archetypes that challenge the consolidated structures of contemporary society.
In her work La Figlia Prerferita (The favorite daughter) of 2017, the artist hits on the symbol of the most traditional and evocative ritual: the wedding dress is what every good daughter should, growing up, wear and what still guarantees, in the collective imagination, the system’s safety and health.The performative process that the artist carries out brings the three-dimensionality of the dress , with its volume and fabrics, to become two-dimensional, compressed within a frame, in a narrow space. The festive ritual is therefore frozen, revealing a noir side.
In this installation work, presented for the first time in Fano in 2017 in a consecrated Church, each dress is accompanied by a polaroid, representing a frame that precedes or follows the wedding rite. A moment that shows a sense of emptiness for which the artist, as Gina Pane did in her 1970s performances, does not provide comfort, support or explanation. The atmosphere is reminiscent of the crime news photos on newspapers, although the women featured in the polaroids are immortalized in moments of apparent tranquility. And here the visual oxymoron is revealed. White and noir.
White acquires a triple value The conventional one of purity, a nineteenth-century invention. The value of death, white as the color of bones, of the end of a woman's freedom and the path to emancipation; finally that of rebirth in which the wedding dress becomes a shroud, a symbol of a regenerative passage of death and resurrection.
Carlo Sini in "The knowledge of signs" talks about the existence of a Goddess’ cult in the Paleolithic and Neolithic world, a female figure whose symbols still persist today "in myths, archetypes, in our dreams". A lunar deity, GILANIA (GI female sphere, L, bond, ANIA male sphere), connected to the earth whose function was to ensure the preservation of the collective rather than individual life cycle in a culture where death is seen as a non dramatic regeneration. A religion, says the philosopher, which was then suffocated by an aggressive male invasion of Indo-European tribes of ranchers who imposed kinship systems, hereditary rights and their man-dominated pantheons. The goddess from chthonic, lunar divinity, symbol of the life cycle of vegetation, becomes an instrument at the man’s service.
Marilisa Cosello, prophetic like the Cumaean Sibyl, recovers her ancestral bond with the Mother Goddess and offers it back in her multidimensional works and projects, suggesting a different, detached and lucid point of view.
In some cases it’s symbolic, as in the video Compleanno (Birthday) of 2016-17 in which, says the artist, “the characters perform symbolic actions in an attempt to define their existential condition, arriving only at its failure". The frustrating repetition of movements in the search for the definition of a role or identity is "the only narrative that the characters have at their disposal and in which they move”. Her research explores the world of the feminine, observing the emotional blocks, the automatisms that society feeds, the insecurities, elaborating them, through her experience, as obstacles that can be overcome.
The context of observation is above all the Italian one, deeply rooted in legacies of the patriarchal systems, sometimes inextricably. But what we are seeing for and from Marilisa had already been longed for, namely the need for an enhancement of the feminine in society.
Born in Salerno in 1978, Marilisa Cosello graduated in Visual Arts in England, in History of Cinema in Milan and obtained a Masters in Photography at the Noorderlicht School in the Netherlands, she studied with François Cheval at the Museé Nicéephore Niépce in Chalon sur Saon ( FR), has been living in Milan for years. Over the years she has given life to projects, which, similarly to Amos Gitai's methodology, interact with each other. A processes in continuous evolution in which the artist herself is sometimes the protagonist/performer, in other she’s director, photographer, costume designer.
Cosello is part of a made in Italy artistic trend that has Marinella Senatore as other references with aesthetic common points. By observing the depth of her social systems' analysis, the influence from some of Anne Imhof's performative practices is evident (see Biennale 2017). As an artist, she’s always tried to find a balance between the aspiration to Beauty, with the Renaissance’s canons that we historically carry with us, and the desire to break it, to lose it in order to achieve that "strange beauty" typical of the Flemings and Germans.
The body is for her the place of investigation par excellence and a mirror of the society’s toxicity. A vision in line with what Gina Pane wrote “Living your own body means discovering both your own weakness and the tragic and merciless slavery of your shortcomings, your own wear and tear and your precariousness. Furthermore, this means becoming aware of one's own ghosts which are nothing more than the reflection of the myths created by society ... the body (its gestures) is a well-rounded writing, a system of signs that represent, that translate the infinite search of the Other ".
Marilisa showed us in La Figlia Prerferita a ghost that can resurrect in the day after of real life.