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Feminism and Diversity: Jessetti Gallery in Albertina

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Albertina has had to retroactively postpone Michela Gissetti’s exhibition four times, and now it’s time: the artist, who was born in Bergamo, Italy and has lived in Vienna since 1992, presents her work in the Hall of Columns. It is already clear at first glance that transformations are also evident in the work of 55-year-olds. The series of works presented hardly allow for any attributes, the style – if you want to specify one – is fueled by diversity.

The 54 works dating back nearly two decades range from photorealism to abstraction, from crayon to gold leaf and from Japanese paper to woodblock. According to curator Antonia Horschelmann, behind diversity is “the political thesis that we live in a diverse world where there is room for everyone,” as she explained Thursday during the press tour. “When the topic is over, I can’t repeat it,” Ghisetti explained. Many years ago she asked herself the question of identity, but then came to the conclusion: “I am all that.”

The oldest works in the exhibition date from 2005 with the series “Sliding Hairstyles”, in which she plays – on Japanese paper – in a humorous way with pubic hair wigs, thus indicating the diversity of the female gender. Meanwhile, in the collection of works “Hommage” she relied on hyper-realistic portraits made of colored pencils and quotes, for example, “The Girl with a Pearl Earring” by Vermeer. In “Magic Carpet Right Love,” the artist changes from beautiful strokes of color to broad strokes of color, drawing Ghisetti from the center with both hands outward.

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The artist takes a trip into the sculptural genre of “Unus Mundus”, where two large pearl necklaces are intertwined. The accompanying text reads: “In light of the conditions of the world under the Covid-19 sign, the work can also be understood from the perspective of people’s togetherness and solidarity.” Ghetti also takes it sculpturally in “Che Bambula”: with ten dolls – inspired by her time in Ghana and Morocco – she focuses on the “diversity of forms” and “an appreciation of female diversity”.

The triptych “Afua – Afua / Der Weg – Maximum”, in which the artist negotiates “the gender-specific aspects of the presentation and representation of women in today’s society”, as well as diversity and integration, is presented in a spatial manner. It spans an arc of ‘as photorealistic as possible’ with two close-up shots of a dark-skinned woman and a panel completely covered in gold leaf. For the artist, the latter is “the encoding of maximum light and maximum abstraction”.

Albertina has been purchasing the artist’s work for over ten years. On Thursday, director Klaus Albrecht Schroeder praised Jessetti’s “attempts to cross borders” and “the bend of reality” in her work.


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