In another stunning fashion feature for Wild West, Bianca Arnold’s Organismo series – with essay “Organs Stitched Together” – offers a feminist perspective on a historically feminine handicraft, enacted on domestic materials.
“This is my embroidery. More an engraving than a doodle. An action of re-appropriation and re-signification of a traditional practice as a political act.”
Textile Art and body-politics writing by Bianca Arnold
Organs Stitched Together
I don’t know how to embroider.
My embroideries are ugly.
But all my creatures are like this.
An older artist once told me “Your art is about dealing with failure.”
And it’s true.
Embroidery is a traditionally feminine, angelic, patient and precise art.
But more carnal than painting.
Not only does a material spread over another material, but one enters the other, the canvas is crossed, torn, sewn. It always gives me the idea that it wants to cover a wound.
Embroidery wants to cover something, maybe a stain, a name or an empty space.
It is never given the subject position.
Like something that has to be on the sides, that beautifies, improves, distracts. Princesses embroider while waiting. But if you give too much attention to it you would realize the opposite.
The violence that lies in embroidering, stitch after stitch.
In the masochism of the hand that sews.
In stinging oneself, in making mistakes and having to do it again, in blinding one’s eyes from tightening the eyelids. Time that with embroidery is materialized, made into a drawing, made into a scar.
It is not a wait that is made to dilute, but an engraved wait, dissected to the second, dilated as much as possible. An action that does not forgive, the error will remain visible, exposed, to raw flesh.
This is my embroidery.
More an engraving than a doodle. An action of re-appropriation and re-signification of a traditional practice as a political act.
The fabrics I use are housewares, sheets, handkerchiefs, tablecloths. Which I love in their familiar purity, and which call so much to be soiled, punctured, ruined. To have a different life. To bring out their disturbing but also infantile, raw and sincere side.
And here we find meat stitched with meat made of wood, plastic, iron, paper. It is not an innocent action. I’m forcing them to live together. The skeleton of a walnut. The skeleton of a factory. A photo from 1967. My naked body in a living room. My grandmother’s hand. A lace ribbon found in a house occupied by witches. My father’s doll whose face I slowly ate in my sleep. And here in the embroidery I clearly see my bowels, my organs stitched together, my veins embroidered on the skin.
Nè l’una nè l’altra siamo/Neither one nor the other – Bologna 2020
About Bianca Arnold
Bianca Arnold (Turin, 1997) is specialized in Women and Gender studies and is a visual artist, from photography to video through painting. In 2017 she travelled between the United States and Ecuador, living with the Kitchwa indigenous community of Salasaka, in the Andes. She studied Anthropology, Religions and Oriental Civilizations at the University of Bologna, and experimental cinema and documentary in Padova. She is currently pursuing a Master in Women and Gender Studies. With her works she has exhibited in
London, Budapest, Turin, Bologna, Reggio Emilia and Ferrara. She has published “Pangea”, a collection of short stories.
Her experimentation speaks of disorder, error, craving and excess. The body is central to her work, as is incorporating different materials and practices.