Ketty La Rocca --
Ketty La Rocca is one of Italy’s most eminent representatives of Conceptual Art. The œuvre of the early deceased artist comprises visual poetry, visual art and performance. La Rocca’s poetic, experimental and media-critical exploration is devoted to language, images and the stereotype signs of everyday world. Her goal is to reveal the prevailing policy of bodies. […]
In the 1970’s, La Rocca developed her performative series based on hands. She studied their expressive potential placing this in a linguistic context by writing words on the hands and tracing their contours by means of handwriting. Her interest in hands stemmed from her desire to create a different language, a different form of communication in which the real body, gestural expression and writing entered into a strangely staged relationship. In connection with these works La Rocca made specific reference to the female life context, which had only ascribed certain activities to women’s hands. In 1974, she wrote from a feminist perspective: “For women today is not a time of explanations. They have a lot to do and then they only have one language at their disposal, which is alien and inimical to them. They are robbed of everything, except of the things that no one notices and those are manifold, even if they must be arranged. Hands, for instance, too slow for female skills, too poor and too incapable of continuing to hoard. It is better to embroider with words...“ (1)
Among Ketty La Rocca’s last works are the Riduzioni, in which she processes an everyday photograph––be it a family photograph, a shot of the installation in the gallery, a picture depicting she herself or a politician, a photograph from a newspaper, an art postcard that has been sold a million times or a film poster. The principle of Riduzioni consists of serially expanding the initial photograph by one or more variations. This takes place by means of the graphic schematization of the image, which can follow various patterns. Either the artist “draws”, or traces, with her handwriting the contours of those forms that strike her as important or she elaborates certain elements by means of lines and surfaces marked in black which, like writing, can have the effect of changing the meaning of the content.
La Rocca negates the difference between depth and surface in the same way as the hierarchy of the sequences of scenes and places the image in a nervous state of suspension. In the interstices she creates, in the blank spaces, a poetic space emerges that also extends to imagery from everyday life.
(1) Ketty La Rocca (1974); quoted from the German translation in: Katalog Künstlerinnen international. 1877-1977, Schloss Charlottenburg, Berlin1977, p. 308
Silvia Eiblmayr, “Ketty la Rocca – Künstlerin einer visuellen Poesie,” in: ed. Silvia Eiblmayr, Ketty La Rocca, Innsbruck 2003, no page.