The word Antologia derives from the Greek Anthologìa (ánthos ‘flower’ and légō ‘choose’) and means ‘choice of flowers’. In 2015 Silvia Margaria has chosen some flowers to bring to Monumental Cemetery and to Turin’s Socrem, to commemorate the lives of five distinguished women in Turin: Isa Bluette, Adelaide Aglietta, Emilia Mariani, Giorgina Levi, Amalia Guglielminetti. Adorning the graves with flowers is a rite bearer of profound meanings, it’s a gesture of anthropological order, obvious metaphor of the effort to survive to oblivion. The flower is the symbol of beauty, perfection and purity, but at the same time it’s the metaphor of the fragility and brevity of life.
An illustrious grave, as the meaning of the word, belongs to a character who has a wide and deserved reputation, for exceptional qualities or important actions. It deserves to be remembered in a particular way by the community. The ambivalence between illustrious and anonymous, between memory and forgetfulness, between value and waste is what constantly draws the attention and interests of the artist’s research.
The choice of the five illustrious women, deriving from a general study of the famous female graves, focusing the research on the struggle for women’s emancipation, is based on a subjective sensitivity, on personal assonances and agreements that allowed the artist to recognize and exalt them.
Each chosen flower has a specific meaning depending on the person to whom it’s related. Emilia Mariani’s name is linked to the battles for women’s empowerment and to the struggles for the improvement of the working conditions of teachers. On her tombstone you can read: She lived for youth, instructing and educating to love. She was simple, good and loving- She loved flowers and children. The devout homage of these, will be kept from your family that only now finds solace in having you with them in your beloved hometown. And flowers, flowers and more flowers will always smell good at your beloved ashes. Lavender is a long-lasting flower, with an intense and durable scent.
Giorgina Levi, who in 1939 escaped with her husband to Bolivia to avoid the racial laws, adapted, in the best possible way to the most difficult situations, just like wild flowers that grow with tenacity and stubbornness. Her commitment and openness to other identities and realities, the resistance to injustice and abuse, the love for justice and social equality, are an example of activism and revolution. In the text for a lesson to her students published in the appendix of “All a century”, we read: Secular prejudices and slanders are hard to die and reappear periodically to support extremist nationalist positions and political and economic interests.
Teresa Ferrero, known as Isa Bluette, was a theatrical actress, singer, 20s and 30s showgirl. Independent woman, mistress of her own femininity and feelings, she chose as a stage name the cornflower, a flower with a bright and flashy colour, despite the simplicity of its forms.
The poet and journalist Amalia Guglielminetti was famous, economically independent, cultured, loved by the most consolidated critics of the time; she represented all that the feminists of her time claimed as inalienable women’s rights. She was restless and passionate, prone to break the rules of the bourgeois respectability that relegated women in the dark corners of the literary salons of the time. She said of herself: Anyone who knows me know that I’m grumpy as a nettle and that my temerity isn’t made that words. Her lifestyle and her literary activity gave impulse to the emancipation effort in action in her time.
Adelaide Aglietta with passion and tenacity, she fought for years against a retarded legislation, committing herself first to the defence of the law on divorce and for the legalization of abortion. Discreet, introverted, almost shy, for her feminism was a passion and a reason for living. In the “Diary of a jury woman at the Brigate Rosse trail” we read: Three hundred people armed of non-violence, flowers, serenity managed undisturbed to occupy the “core of the city court house” (…) When it is my turn, I enter the room, my companions greet me, I realize I still have flowers in my hand. It was March 6, 1978.
After the commemoration with flowers at the cemetery, there was a long period of daily documentation, through a series of slides of the withering flowers on the graves. The many slides of each flower have been waiting for a couple of years, as Margaria felt the need to expand the time and let the memory settle. In 2018 the project of Anthologìa takes shape, as a work composed by 38 photographs derived from the hundreds taken in 2015. Each picture is a superposition of two slides: a slide from the first day is superimposed with one from the last day, a slide from the second day is superimposed with one from the penultimate day, and so on until a temporal meeting on the day that is about halfway, visible in the last series overlap where two slides the same add up. The relationship between the two images, the coexistence and the interpenetration of shapes and colours, of situations and different times, it’s possible just trying to keep the communion. The final result, an overlapping sought in past times, of the memory two temporal realities that coexist becoming an evocative image. It hides the original differences under its unified expression.
The photographs printed from the slides overlaps, forms 5 sets, one for each flower, on which she intervened with a chlorophyll and water solution, to activate photosynthesis process and thus trigger the production of oxygen.
What these women have left is rich, strong, deeply rooted. Knowing the past, considering the effort, respecting the lives that resist, admitting change, preserving and commemorating memory, ensure that there is an evolution, with growth and life.
38 stampe Fine Art su carta baritata lucida, colore; acqua e clorofilla.