Our dear friend Beth Vermeer has written an article about Laura, the artist behind Antithesis and her work exhibited at Women in Movement, in November 2015.
The life of Laura Zuliani, artist from Trieste and sworn friend of the creative group Women in Movement, is tied to a thread. In the course of her decades-long stay in the realm of English literature, she has grown ideas and incubator forms of soothing activities in the field of art where she gets shaped in a rather unusual role, that of the wool alchemist looking for a harmonious whole regulated by a network of matches. Shrouded in mysteries and secrets of production, Laura Zuliani has developed a symbiotic relationship with the materials she uses, a devout affection that expresses itself in a creative variety going well beyond the borders of a beloved pastime.
Only in recent years Laura has discovered carded wool: a humble material, as she confirms, almost forgotten in the bustle of everyday life, and consequently she makes of the thread her privileged tool. Wool can be dyed with natural materials, printed with flowers and leaves, tied to produce geometric designs, forged in multiple ways, worked with water and soap or with the needle. If wool is the structure of the world, like the word, felt is his ancestor, say those who use it with dedication. With felt Laura designs and creates clothes, scarves, cuffs, bags and hats that stand out for the formal rigor, occasionally enriched with sophisticated details.
In their sculptural morphology they do not seem, at first glance, objects to wear, only the bright colours of teal, green, magenta, red, blue, invite you to touch them, to make you feel a material that comes from an ancient art. You can use felt wool, mohair, angora, silk and create contrasting effects. You can also mix together different textile materials, knitted fabrics and threads, glass beads. Her predilection of felt leads her to experience always new techniques and styles, creating her own production of refined accessories that is not only a daily practice but also a source of balance for her soul.
Her studio, close to the Karst hills, includes a laboratory that is the antithesis of mass production, because her clothes and accessories are "tailor-made", made to measure, thus promoting the spirit and the needs of the person that shall wear her fashion. Using only natural and durable materials, the artist establishes a connection of high quality with the surrounding world and this interactive exchange has a positive effect on the environment and on people. Antithesis is also the name of her line that leads back to the awareness of the relationship with nature as a source of well-being of mind and body.
Laura’s choice to create and to use felt, such a strange material of silence, aligns her with a group of leading figures of contemporary art and with designers of furniture and decor that to felt have assigned an important meaning.
One of them, Joseph Beuys, identified in felt the ideal material for his art but he has never revealed its origin, not even when his works received the applause of museums, from Paris to New York. Also Beuys knew the inherent saving potential of such material: think of his ubiquitous hat, very different from the felt hat worn by Van Gogh as an anti-bourgeois gesture.
Late in her life, Laura Zuliani came to botany, even if her surrounding world has always been her garden, where each hard seed brought to the maturation of young idea. Inspired by India Flint, legendary character of the Australian wilderness and creator of eco-printing with eucalyptus, Laura approaches to the study of plants and their growth to experience the print of leaves and flowers on fabric. The selected plants -fresh or dried up- leave authentic footprints on the felt, resembling radiographs of vegetal life. Eucalyptus and rhubarb generate silhouettes in red, marigold in yellow, blueberry in dark red and lilac, dandelion and ivy in green.
In November 2015, her works were shown in a public exhibition of two artists in Trieste, together with the Polish photographer Malgosia Mitka, in the framework of the third edition of Women in Movement: Urban itineraries of Contemporary Art - where Laura Zuliani’s eco-prints got presented for the first time.
The enhancement of craftsmanship and artistic ability are the legacy handed down by pioneers of Avant-Garde Art of the early twentieth century, then by the Bauhaus Movement, and later in the course of the sixties by the American Feminist Art, in particular by Judy Chicago and by Miriam Shapiro, who inspired generations of artists dignifying decorative Abstract Art, Pattern Art and various ancient techniques such as embroidery, knitting or crocheting.
With her hand made artwork Laura Zuliani fits conceptually into a tradition that goes way back, and that will not stop to be talked about in an even more explicit way than what has been done so far. On a personal level, the language of her work is based on delicacy and extreme attention due to a typically feminine sensitivity.
The artists’ group Women in Movement expresses the sincere wish that those many artists that have succeeded in perfecting their skills in this field, continue to be creative in connecting tradition with innovation even if the debate remains focussed on the problem of the every day life condition of women artists, observed through the prism of social life.
In most of the cases the women artists’ living conditions square the artistic situation that makes hard efforts to evolve in a parallel way, and has to accept the price to pay, as Miriam Shapiro reminds us of. And that from their work an ongoing and loud debate on women's art may derive and above all on its future evolution without any preclusion.
- Beth Vermeer, March 2016 -
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