Chiuro 1929 – Colico 2018
Lydia Silvestri adopts the language of abstraction in order to rethink the tradition of sculpture, which over the centuries has codified and regulated society’s representation of gender and aesthetical canon. Silvestri, who was a student of Marino Marini and was influenced by Brancusi’s work, used different materials – from gres, to terracotta, bronze, marble and crystal – to explore identity both in the sculptural medium as well as in sexuality. In the dialogue with abstraction, Silvestri contracts the dimension of her sculptures and considers the erotic implications of the medium.
Through figures from biblical or mythological sources, the artist deconstructs the binary vision of male and female, proposing figures in transition, melting of couples or hermaphrodites. Depending on the different points of view, the shapes of her works recall curved backs, breasts, legs and erect phalluses that melt into one another without interruption or clear limitation of identity. In the series of etchings Storia di Salomè (Story of Salome, 1976), Silvestri finds in the biblical figure an archetype of human contradiction, always poised between lust and yearning. The artist explores the ambiguous duality of the sexes, the attraction between them and the constant clash and encounter that results from it.