Elisabetta Di Sopra contaminates Caos Museum in Te...

Elisabetta Di Sopra contaminates Caos Museum in Terni by talking about everyday life and the role of women today

The poignant and intimate power that video art manages to express still remains, for me, a mystery. Elisabetta Di Sopra is certainly among those artists who manages to touch me, always and on every occasion. It’s true that art is art because it reaches us and excites us, then you can’t miss Elisabetta’s new solo exhibition at Caos Museum in Terni. The word that encompasses the entire visual journey is “Tracce”: the exhibition, curated by Pasquale Fameli, unfolds between video works, installations and graphics and addresses issues related to the emotional sphere, family relationships and care practices. The title alludes to the precariousness of our existential condition; the “traces” exhibited here are therefore signs, visible or invisible, as in the work Dust Grains (2014), in which childhood memories remain imprinted in the memory, ready to resurface, moistening the eyes. Absolutely among the artist’s most emotional works. The tracks are still the ones that are always made more visible in the violent, but liberating gesture we see in Act of Pain (2022). In this case the artist investigates self-harm by testing it on her own body.

Elisabetta Di Sopra, “Tracce”, opening 10 February 2024, Caos Museum, courtesy Caos Museum, Terni

The Care, a 2018 video lasting approximately two minutes, is a double screen work, where we witness two different moments of life: birth and death. In both cases to offer assistance is the woman, who in one case looks after and cleans a newborn while in the other screen, in parallel, washes an elderly person who is passing away. Woman has always been the one who must take care of others, the only one capable of doing it. This association is inherent in the gender stereotypes that we have carried with us for centuries. As Elisabetta pointed out to me during our meeting a few years ago: «It is always the woman who takes care. It’s unpaid work, but it’s a job. Since they educate you about this from an early age, you learn to develop the antennas that allow you to understand the needs of others».

Elisabetta di Sopra, “The care”, 2018, video frame, courtesy the artist

The tour continues with the video performance Legami di sangue (2022), which returns a portrait of the artist with her daughter, in a silk-screen print on linen, made with the artist’s own blood. A research, that of the relationship between mother and child, frequently addressed by Elisabetta. This is just the latest of a video series that deal with the topic, such as Lasciarti andare o Quando ci sarà qualcuno in grado di sorreggermi (a work that still moves me deeply, despite having seen it countless times). The social role of the female “mother”, a cage that many of us are familiar with. A role in the cube, a fixed and immutable role in the patriarchal perspective. A woman can and must be much more. At the same time, these works remind us that we have all been daughters in a touching and lively way.

Elisabetta Di Sopra, “Legami di sangue”, 2023, video frame, courtesy the artist

In Pietas (2018), however, the mythological protagonist Medea appears as an afflicted woman who seeks desperately on the beach signs of their children, collecting the shoes, clothes, shreds of fabric that the sea, by chance, returns a due temporal distance. In Senza tracce (2023) – the last video produced and created during a trip to the Wadi Rum desert – the artist, after having walked on the dunes, felt the need to erase the footprints left in that place: a choice in stark contrast with the spasmodic overexposure that characterizes our time.

Elisabetta Di Sopra, “Sugar Dead”, 2009, video frame, courtesy the artist

The trip ends with Sugar Dead (2009), a video installation focused on the theme of human transience. As Silvia Grandi clearly underlined in the critical text: «Being an artist for Elisabetta means not ignoring everyday life, everyday actions but also the emotionality that these even minimal and usual acts trigger her and which are reverberated with great sensitivity in her videos. Videos that symbolically represent affections, love, the psychological difficulty of leaving places behind, important relationships, in which even the disappearance or loss are sublimated through the progressive dissolution of a sugar body (Sugar Dead), or evoke in the painful and melancholic discovery by a mother of objects belonging to deceased migrants (Pietas). They are traces of emotions and memories that slide away from the eyes like tears (Dust Grain) or that instead do materialize in the bruises left on the artist’s body (Atto di dolore) or even in the blood used for some prints on fabric (Legami di sangue)». An extremely intimate and profound but also collective and politic exhibition. In this case we could say to all intents and purposes that the private is political, in the most poetic way that there is. Thanks Elisabetta.


Elisabetta Di Sopra. Tracce
10/02 – 7/04/2024
Orario 10-13 / 16-19
Free entry
Caos Museum
Via Franco Molè, 25, Terni


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