Critics’ Picks

View of “Susy Culinsky & Friends,” 2015–16.

Milan

“Susy Culinsky & Friends”

Fanta-MLN
via Merano 21
November 28, 2015–January 31, 2016

Blue velvet adorns the walls of Fanta Spazio for this curiously titled group show. A year ago, the artist Beatrice Marchi, who curated the exhibition, gave thirty-eight emerging female artists, all around the same age as her, an assignment to create works about sex on A4 paper without using digital techniques, which she has gathered here. The velvet that covers the walls evokes a theater curtain, and on it are the resultant drawings of phallic forms and a multitude of other erotic signs, all identically framed.

When asked about the show, Marchi astutely describes it simply as an encounter among friends. With this she adds to its indefinite nature, for, yes, it is an encounter among female artists who know one another, but it is also a recognition of the intimate, private visual imagination of a generation of women who here reveal their dreams, certainties, fragilities, and desires. The principal questions this exhibition poses to the viewer are: “Is there such a thing as gender-specificity in art today?” and “Are there impulses or perceptions that female artists feel they still cannot express?” The longing to produce an entertaining situation and to activate a debate around these questions seems to constitute the two polarities upon which this show rests. Yet it is ultimately a vague project, which reflects thorny questions shared by men and women, and may even result in ambiguous opinions.

Translated from Italian by Marguerite Shore.