New York

Chiara Fumai, The S.C.U.M. Elite, 2014/2019. Performance view, The International Studio & Curatorial Program, New York, February 12, 2019. Simone Couto. Photo: Manuel Molina Martagon.

Chiara Fumai, The S.C.U.M. Elite, 2014/2019. Performance view, The International Studio & Curatorial Program, New York, February 12, 2019. Simone Couto. Photo: Manuel Molina Martagon.

Chiara Fumai

International Studio & Curatorial Program (ISCP)

“A ‘male artist’ is a contradiction in terms,” wrote the radical feminist Valerie Solanas in the infamous SCUM Manifesto (1967). The quote appeared in black lettering on a white wall in a 2013 series of photographs by the late artist Chiara Fumai (1978–2017). In her self-portraits posing as various historical figures, Fumai impersonated the Venetian noblewoman Elisabetta Querini; Annie Jones, a bearded lady in P. T. Barnum’s freak show; the stunt magician Harry Houdini; and others. Fumai possessed the intensity and shape shifting abilities of the most charismatic performers. Her feminist art practice, which she started around the time she turned thirty—before then she was a DJ—revivified the stories of obscure female figures and virtually moribund discourses, with a special attention to alternative spirituality and rituals, such as trance inductions. The Middle French etymology of the word

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