“When I create my art I feel like an open conduit. I imagine my body as a funnel through which the whole world is poured into the artwork. And yet I always have the audience beyond the funnel in mind because, without them, half the artwork’s meaning would be lost.”
For the most part, works of visual art, music and writing originate from an intimate exchange between the self and the abstracted image of a participating viewer, listener and reader. The need to imagine an audience is fundamental to pushing the artwork to assume a universal dimension. Via her WindMill ART POWER PLANT, Laura Facchini aims to reinforce the presence and quality not only of women artists currently creating in Italy and abroad but also of the audience viewing their contemporary art.
On a late September afternoon I went to visit Laura in her home-studio in Prato in order to continue our conversation about the Association she founded with her husband Roberto Giliberto. The artist from Prato has always focused her investigation on themes tied to womens’ standing and to their vast potential that has too often been “overlooked” (a word she reuses often during our dialogue). These issues are closely tied to her life and, in recalling her early days as an artist, Laura remembers attending a local secondary school for the Arts in the 1970s; here she was caught up in the climate of femminism, which was an important influence for the “Vagina” series she made in her early twenties. She narrates the bitterness she felt when, as a very young artist attending a woman colleague’s exhibition, she overheard a man comment that such powerful pieces “seemed to be more like the work of a male artist.” Already back then, in the Tuscan provinces and far from art centers like New York or London, Laura was wondering about her identity as an artist between old and new Italy.
As we conversed, we agreed that a consistently lesser percentage of women is represented in contemporary art events and observed the great difficulty all artists have making a living by their creativity. Here Laura waxed enthusiastic, recalling the years when she worked as a designer in the Pratese textile and garment industry, when she started to make her own way amid wonderful achievements and bitter letdowns. “It’s exactly these experiences I had that have led me to want to promote women artists and contribute to making people more aware of our unexplored potential.”
Laura recounted how, during the spring of 2020 while Italy imposed its hard lockdown, she had picked up a prior idea she’d had to create an archive of her own artworks, but she decided to push it further… If her artistic determination was centered on attributing value “to each woman first and foremost as a person”, then the mission of WindMill ART POWER PLANT would be to act as an amplifier for arts created by women while calling out the prejudice that impedes the realization of gender equality and equal opportunity.
Sitting in her living room we commented on the art system as it functions in Italy and abroad. On this point Laura clarified,