Liliana Moro

Via Lazzaro Palazzi

Abbassamento” (Lowering), the title of this show of Liliana Moro’s work, focuses attention on the actual depletion of energy that pervades contemporary ideas, behavior, and aspirations. But Moro’s work removes itself from the idea of critical commentary on the times and instead emphasizes the desire for a change from below, looking skyward without denying earthbound roots. At the same time, she doesn’t fall into the trap of lamenting that it is no longer possible to invent anything new, or to escape the asphyxiating space of modernity. History has not ended; what has ended is historical perspective. In this lowering, Moro indicates a real possibility for the reinitiation of a relationship with history, with art, with theory.

A thousand paper-doll shapes were arranged in close rows on the floor. About fifteen centimeters tall, they were dressed only in undershirts, and had shoes on their feet. This is an old game. The dolls are sold with clothes that, once cut out, can be applied to two-dimensional bodies. The dolls present two types, both with the same height and physique, but one wears a more malicious expression, the other a more childlike, innocent one. One holds her hands behind her back, the other in front; one has bangs, the other doesn’t. Thus, they symbolize a relationship between women that measures one against the other.

The paper dolls filled half the room, the rows running from wall to wall. Upon entering the gallery, one was faced with a wave of vibrating bodies. The other half of the room was filled with a mass of cardboard buildings—another game. Some were precise historical recreations, others were fantasies, and each one had to be cut out and assembled. There was an Egyptian temple, a Viking village, a Pompeian villa, a Roman encampment, a medieval castle, a haunted house, town halls, schools, churches—in sum, the historical symbols of urban architecture.

The orderly arrangement of the dolls contrasted with the disorder of the buildings, but both were impenetrable to the viewer. One could walk around the cluster of buildings on the floor—located almost at the center of the room—but one had to face the dolls head-on. This arrangement caused the viewer to reflect upon a rigidity both in the world (the architectural models) and between individuals (the dolls). The dolls force us to be aware of a glance from above, and in so doing, they indicate the necessity to question patriarchal order. They refer to a dialogue between different levels, without requiring an obligation of parity. Thus, they portray the history of a female genealogy, which embodies a different encounter with the world, and therefore with men, art, love, and ideas.

Francesca Pasini

Translated from the Italian by Marguerite Shore.