The Taurisano Collection, managed by Sveva D’Antonio Taurisano and husband Francesco, boasts over 400 works from a great diversity of media, including installations, audio works, paintings and sculpture.
‘Yolk’ explores two phases of life for both underrepresented and rediscovered artists: Rebirth, or the re-introduction of their works, either in discovery or presentation, and Establishment, the often missed phase to incorporate and collect works into institutions and collections ensuring longevity to an artist’s career and memory.
“We must always try to support female [identifying] artists! At that time the super stars were male artists, even today the number of female artists exhibited in museums is slowly improving but we are always at ridiculous percentages, women are never valued enough.” - Sveva.
Rebirth explores the cyclical nature of collecting, mirrored in wilderness, nourishment and growth. These works largely take place in a natural or open setting, are playfully charged, corporeal and less clearly defined. Where they are present, there is anonymity to the figures, provided in cases of masks, cropped compositions and backs of heads from Pouyandeh and Khizanishvili.
Artists featured: Ann Hirsch Giullana Rosso Anna Park Rusudan Khizanishvili Kamilla Bishof Dominique Fung Zandile Tshabalala Ellen Gronemeyer Nazanin Pouyandeh Jana Schroder
Establishment presents works based largely in domestic, indoor or recogniseable settings. Where cropped, these works are charged, powerful and confronting. A recurring symbol is that of the once described ‘undeniably phallic’ lobster. Often a symbol of sexual innuendo as in‘’The Dream of the Venus’ where Dali grasped a lobster to a female pelvis - in contemporary art, artists like Julie Curtis reclaim the symbol and establish a new identity. Lobsters appear in the works of Hernandez and Gogl, alongside Rosenwald’s ‘Succubus’ insects. Works here are charged, often with undeniable links between status, power, violence, consumption and sex.
Artists featured: Samantha Rosenwald Amanda Ba Nurla Guell Sol Calero Mary Stephenson Sophie Gogl Alejandra Hernandez Paige Jiyoung Moon Zoe Blue M Georgina Gratix
A yolk, as the rich centre of the egg, mirrors Italy - the birthplace of this collection - as the
historical epicentre of collecting in the Western World. Moreover, taking into account the visual history between egg yolks and the sun, ‘Yolk’ provides a nod to the Taurisano Collection’s ‘Because of many Suns’ prize for artists, awarded in August of this year. Works in this exhibition, with it’s necessary digital focus on 2D works, lean on the ostensible canon of art history, including that of tempera painting, traditionally created with pigments and egg yolks.
The decision to curate 21 artists was inspired by the fact that, in 2019, famously, there were only 21 works by female identifying artists in the London National Gallery (from 2,300). It is interesting to note that Italian Galleries Palazzo Vecchio and Accademia Gallery boast a single work by a woman artist each, while the Uffizzi has merely 15 on public display (as of 2019). Additionally, 21 is a fibonacci number, mirroring ideas of golden ratio, regarded to natural shapes like shells, eggs and yolk.
With Rebirth comes reclamation as with the symbol of both yolk and egg. Male identifying artists including Leonardo Da Vinci, Jeff Koons, Joan Miro and Salvador Dali have all found inspiration in its shell. In recent art history, female identifying artists have reclaimed the symbol. Sarah Lucas’s ‘One Thousand Eggs: For Women’ saw the artist, alongside family, friends throw 1,000 eggs at a gallery wall. Lucas had used eggs to playfully engage ideas of fertility and femininity, thinking of them as opposition and pretension. We see reclamation in the works of Agnes Martin, Urs Fischer, Deborah Czeresko and Heather Glazzer. ‘Womanhouse’ from Miriam Shapiro and Judy Chicago exhibited an immersive domestic home, including fried eggs protruding like breasts from the walls, subverting a woman’s supposed ‘place’. On the other side, eggs are often a symbol of discontent across cultures, thrown at politicians and celebrities. Famously, Ethel Moorhead, a militant personality in the suffrage for women’s right to vote in the UK, threw an egg at Winston Churchill in 1910. They simultaneously exist as fragile perfect forms and potential revolt.
Each human begins as an egg. Yolks yield birth and entrance, each through nourishment, energy, and rebellion. Visitors are encouraged to take lessons from the Taurisano Collection and the network they have created and nurtured.
‘Yolk’, as opposed to ‘egg’ , titles the exhibition to avoid and subvert biological assumptions of a gender binary or classification of a single female identity or experience.
Establishing Women Artists
Curator Mollie E Barnes is joined by ADA Contemporary Director Adora Mba, Gillian Jason Gallery Director Elli Jason Foster, Patron and Collector Nish McCree and Assistant Curator at the New Hall Art Collection Naomi Polensky.
Collecting with a PurposeGeorgia Powell, Liza Shapiro and Nish McCree
Women Artists and Social Media
Núria Güell: La Feria de las Flores