Curated by Ilaria Bernardi and Irene Calderoni

On November 25, 2023 at 6 p.m., the contemporary art exhibition Mai la luna gridò così tanto (Never the moon shouted so much), a project of Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo and Associazione Genesi realized on the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, opens in the spaces of Palazzo Banca d’Alba.

Through the gaze of 12 women artists from different generations and backgrounds, the exhibition explores the unfortunately ever-present theme of gender-based violence, the multiple forms of physical and psychological oppression through which it is exercised, and its close connection to the social, political, economic and cultural factors that characterize the condition of women in the world.

The title of the exhibition quotes the verse of a poem by Alda Merini, a painful memory of the sexual violence suffered by the author during her confinement in a psychiatric hospital, and thus a signal of a double abuse, the individual abuse of a man who violates a woman’s body, and that of society which, marginalizes those who do not conform to the dominant patterns of thought and behavior.

The works in the exhibition move along this dual and interconnected line of analysis, in which the violence exercised by individuals mirrors a social system that exercises and authorizes gender discrimination and oppression.

Thus in Zoe Leonard‘s photographs, the edgy black and white tells the story of the control of the female body through objects associated with science, medicine and cosmetics, such as anatomical waxes, gynecological instruments and “beauty calibrators.”

In her celebrated photographic series Untitled Film Stills, Cindy Sherman offers multiple versions of herself, indebted to media clichés of femininity, to stage the constructed nature of identity and the discrimination that stereotypical representations produce.

Shirin Neshat, an Iranian-born artist, makes images that explore the role of women in Islamic society, and expose the tensions inherent in binary oppositions such as tradition and modernity, East and West, beauty and violence.

The traumatic experience of conflict and migration, and its specific impact on women’s communities, recurs in two works in the exhibition: that of Ibrahim Mahama, part of a series of works dedicated to Ghanaian women leaving their country to work, and Jean David Nkot‘s painting evoking the territories, borders and painful crossings of a woman worker in Cameroon. The active role of women in liberation and emancipation struggles, past and present, emerges powerfully in American artist Lava Thomas‘s large drawing, inspired by mugshots of African American activists who were indicted under Alabama’s anti-boycott laws in the mid-1950s, and were indicted under Alabama’s anti-boycott laws, and in the paintings of Zehra Doğan, a Kurdish artist and activist who was sentenced to prison for her works exposing Turkish violence against the Kurdish community.

On the occasion of the exhibition, a new work was commissioned from Irene Dionisio, an artist and filmmaker from Turin, titled I nostri corpi fioriranno (Our Bodies Will Bloom), which is intended as a symbolic rite of recognition and celebration of six illustrious women, from different eras and backgrounds, who were killed for their ideas and are present in the exhibition in the form of scent, matter and sound to evoke a symbolic flowering within a metaphysical space. Never the Moon Shouted So Much therefore becomes not only a cry of pain, but also a cry of rebellion against all forms of violence inflicted on women in every place and era.

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