On the left: Marialba Russo, Transvestite, 34 salt prints, 24x30 cm, 1975-1980.

On the right: Charlotte Rampling on the set of "’Tis Pity She’s a Whore!" by Giuseppe Patrini Griffi, 1971, vintage print, Photo © Elisabetta Catalano, courtesy Archivio Elisabetta Catalano

these female photographers documented 30 years of civil unrest in Italy

In the '60s, women like Paola Agosti and Letizia Battaglia took their cameras to the streets, immortalizing feminist demonstrations and protests in their images.

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14 January 2019, 10:48am

On the left: Marialba Russo, Transvestite, 34 salt prints, 24x30 cm, 1975-1980.

On the right: Charlotte Rampling on the set of "’Tis Pity She’s a Whore!" by Giuseppe Patrini Griffi, 1971, vintage print, Photo © Elisabetta Catalano, courtesy Archivio Elisabetta Catalano

This article originally appeared on i-D IT.

From the late 60s until the early 80s, Italy was a country in full transformation. Disillusioned with the false hopes of the economic boom and worn down by terrorism in the Years of Lead, some abandoned political ideologies in favor of a highly individualistic hedonism. But there were those who were not willing to surrender and, motivated by a faith in political participation, embarked on a series of civil and feminist battles to redefine identity stereotypes within society at the time.

Mostra Museo Pecci Soggetto Nomade Fotografe Donne Italiane Anni 60 70 80
Paola Agosti, Rome, April 1977. Feminist demonstration outside the Palace of Justice © Paola Agosti.

It was in these years of radical socio-political change that photojournalists, photographers, and artists finally began to carve out a space within Italian cultural spheres, making people look at the way in which female subjectivity was experienced, represented, and interpreted from different angles. Photography immediately became a privileged medium to represent the feminist movements that were emerging. They focused on the new centrality of the female body which would no longer be the object of an external gaze, a predominantly male one, but a representative individual. There were also new ways of defining female identity, no longer based on standardized or heteronormalized rules but on otherness, plurality, and difference.

Mostra Museo Pecci Soggetto Nomade Fotografe Donne Italiane Anni 60 70 80
Paola Agosti, Rome, 25th April 1976. Tullia Todros at the national collective feminist meeting on consultants © Paola Agosti.

For its thirtieth anniversary, the Luigi Pecci Center for Contemporary Art in Prato, is inaugurating the exhibition Soggetto nomade, or Nomadic Subject, (Female Identity through the photographs of five Italian women photographers, 1965-1985): a collection of over one hundred photographs taken between the 60s and 80s by five Italian women photographers. Belonging to different generations, Paola Agosti, Letizia Battaglia, Lisetta Carmi, Elisabetta Catalano, and Marialba Russo move between reportage and anthropological portraits, uniting their glance in a multifaceted visual and linguistic polyphony, in which diversity, alterity, and identity are their strength. In the current climate that we are living in today, we need to delve into a not so distant past, to breathe in that frenzy-filled atmosphere and to preserve its memory, to never forget how much effort it took to get to where we are today.

Mostra Museo Pecci Soggetto Nomade Fotografe Donne Italiane Anni 60 70 80
Elisabetta Catalano, Charlotte Rampling on the set of "’Tis Pity She’s a Whore!" by Giuseppe Patrini Griffi, 1971, vintage print, Photo © Elisabetta Catalano, courtesy of the Elisabetta Catalano Archive.

The exhibition opens alongside Triumph, an installation by Aleksandra Mir composed of 2,529 trophies: a monument to Italian amateur sports culture, an integral part of their historical and cultural heritage. Two initiatives that constitute the pillars of the new exhibition program of the Luigi Pecci Center are inclusiveness and attention to the work of important contemporary artists. Here are some of the works on show:

Mostra Museo Pecci Soggetto Nomade Fotografe Donne Italiane Anni 60 70 80
Lisetta Carmi, I Travestiti (The Transvestites), 1965, photograph, 18 x 24 cm, © Lisetta Carmi, Courtesy Galleria Martini & Ronchetti.
Mostra Museo Pecci Soggetto Nomade Fotografe Donne Italiane Anni 60 70 80
Letizia Battaglia, La bambina con il pallone, (The Little Girl with the Ball), La Cala district, Palermo, 1980.
Mostra Museo Pecci Soggetto Nomade Fotografe Donne Italiane Anni 60 70 80
Lisetta Carmi, I Travestiti (The Transvestites), La Gilda, 1965-1971, photograph, original silver gelatin print, 18 x 24 cm, © Lisetta Carmi, Courtesy Galleria Martini &; Ronchetti.
Mostra Museo Pecci Soggetto Nomade Fotografe Donne Italiane Anni 60 70 80
Elisabetta Catalano, Titina Maselli in her studio, Rome, 1976, vintage print, Photo © Elisabetta Catalano, courtesy of Elisabetta Catalano archives.
Mostra Museo Pecci Soggetto Nomade Fotografe Donne Italiane Anni 60 70 80
Marialba Russo, Transvestite, 34 salt prints, 24x30 cm, 1975-1980.
Mostra Museo Pecci Soggetto Nomade Fotografe Donne Italiane Anni 60 70 80
Letizia Battaglia, Geraci Siculo, 1980.
Mostra Museo Pecci Soggetto Nomade Fotografe Donne Italiane Anni 60 70 80
Marialba Russo, Transvestite, 34 salt prints, 24x30 cm, 1975-1980.
Mostra Museo Pecci Soggetto Nomade Fotografe Donne Italiane Anni 60 70 80
Paola Agosti, Rome, 8th March 1982. Feminist demonstration © Paola Agosti.
Mostra Museo Pecci Soggetto Nomade Fotografe Donne Italiane Anni 60 70 80
Marialba Russo, Transvestite, 34 sat prints, 24x30 cm, 1975-1980.
Mostra Museo Pecci Soggetto Nomade Fotografe Donne Italiane Anni 60 70 80
Elisabetta Catalano, Paolo Pitagora service with installation "La luna" by Fabio Mauri, 1968, vintage print, Photo © Elisabetta Catalano, courtesy of Elisabetta Catalano Archive.
Mostra Museo Pecci Soggetto Nomade Fotografe Donne Italiane Anni 60 70 80
Marialba Russo, Transvestite, 34 salt prints, 24x30 cm, 1975-1980.
Mostra Museo Pecci Soggetto Nomade Fotografe Donne Italiane Anni 60 70 80
Paola Agosti, Rome, 8th March 1977 © Paola Agosti.
Mostra Museo Pecci Soggetto Nomade Fotografe Donne Italiane Anni 60 70 80
Marialba Russo, Transvestite, 34 salt prints, 24x30 cm, 1975-1980.
Mostra Museo Pecci Soggetto Nomade Fotografe Donne Italiane Anni 60 70 80
Lisetta Carmi, I Transvestiti (The Transvestites), 1965, photograph, original silver gelatin print, 30x24 cm, © Lisetta Carmi, courtesy Galleria Martini & Ronchetti.
Mostra Museo Pecci Soggetto Nomade Fotografe Donne Italiane Anni 60 70 80
Marialba Russo, Transvestite, 34 salt prints, 24x30 cm, 1975-1980.
Mostra Museo Pecci Soggetto Nomade Fotografe Donne Italiane Anni 60 70 80
Elisabetta Catalano, Paolo Pitagora service with installation "La luna" by Fabio Mauri, 1968, vintage print, Photo © Elisabetta Catalano, courtesy of the Elisabetta Catalano Archive.

The Nomadic Subject exhibition can be viewed at the Pecci Center in Prato from December 14 2018 to March 8 2019.

Credits


Text Benedetta Pini
Images courtest of the Pecchi Museum

This article originally appeared on i-D IT.

This article originally appeared on i-D IT.