De-Fossilization Of The Look, Dialogue With Madonna Del Parto

Starting from a conversation with the eponymous work of Madonna del Parto by Piero della Francesca, the artist creates a breach.

Indeed, in residence at the Civitella Ranieri Foundation, I had the opportunity to visit museums and neighbouring towns that were full of Renaissance cultural heritage. As an extension of my research on the decolonization of knowledge and transmission, I wondered about the character of the virgin, omnipresent in the collective unconscious and even more so in Italy in a tense political context, without mentioning the problems raised by neo-fascism and immigration. I admired the works of Piero Della Francesca. One painting that struck me personally is that of "La Madonna del Parto". There, the angels have their wings cut off (or at least only one wing is ostensibly visible). It seems to me that this is a breaking point in the representation of angels that is radical for the time. This gap is the breach on which the artist operates a coming and going of history and poses a reflection on the condition of women in the 15th century, on the role of the female icon, its expiatory function, the propensity to sublimate it in a context where the patriarchy works the spirit of the body.
This paradox is all the more striking when we see in most of the works of the Rennaissance the inexpressive character of the painted virgins.

From a general point of view, the prism of the icon and the representation of the feminine through the character of Madonna brings to gender a perspective that needs to be rethought, such as the excavation of an archaeological dig. The monolithic image of the Madonna, crystallized in consciences, is crumbling today or at least accompanies the ongoing movements. The reference of the Madonna through the Renaissance addresses the idea of over-identification of the image and its domestication, but also aims to question the representations, identities and shortcuts of colonial history. Another gap that it is interesting to compare would be the radiant character of the "Reborn" Europe and the predatory conquests of the new world. Finally, De-fossilizing the gaze proposes to make the gaze more complex in order to create a distance allowing the sensitive domain to question our psychological spaces. Striving to break out of binary thinking, archetypes and simplifications, the entire work "De-fossilizing the gaze" composed of paintings, drawings and performative photos is a total commitment to the recontextualization of aesthetics as a political act that opens up to the realities of the world while deliberately exploring dialogue as an alternative, here with La Madonna del Parto as the starting point.

To fossilize the gaze allows us to reflect on our antagonisms, divergences and cognitive dissonances involving metamorphoses of this diffracted world of paradoxes.

Pélagie Gbaguidi

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