SHE DEVIL

Studio Stefania Miscetti, Rome
National and international venues
2009-2019

SHE DEVIL was born in 2006 from an idea of Stefania Miscetti and involves artists and curators, both Italian and international, from the youngest to the most successful ones. The various works and the different critical perspectives coexist within a discourse of many voices, in which emerge the multiplicity of feminine worlds and visions.

It is basically a feminine video screening that involves, for each year, a number of curatorial voices. Each curator selects a video and then, together with the others, builds a unique filmic discourse on gender identity for each edition.

After the first two editions, in 2006 and in 2007, in which were involved respectively four and six curators (and same amount of artists), since 2009, with the third edition, Stefania Miscetti decides to involve a greater number of curators.

The success of the initiative is in that year confirmed by a special international edition held at the MNAC in Bucharest.

Then, in 2010, after the fourth edition of the project, SHE DEVIL is selected by Achille Bonito Oliva for the show The Madness of art for the Ravello Festival.

The fifth edition of the project is hosted, in the summer of 2011, at the V-Tunnel of MACRO museum in Rome.

Over the years SHE DEVIL travelled in many national and international venues in different ways, building new partnerships as well as widening the selection to other international curators:

Palazzo di Primavera, Terni (2015): Great Selection.
Golden Thread Gallery, Belfast (2016): Great Selection and Northern Ireland edition.
Galerie KUB, Leipzig (2016): Leipziger Edition: Home.
National Gallery of Art, Vilnius (2017): Great Selection.
Calcografia Nazionale, Rome (2018): Great Selection.
Museo Pecci, Prato (2018): SHE DEVIL Remix.

For the 10th anniversary in 2018 SHE DEVIL made a special edition entitled RESISTERS and in 2019 the collection of all SHE DEVIL (included the 11th dedicated to climate change) is collected in a book published by cura., Rome, 2019.

SHE DEVIL is the name of a heroine in the Marvel Comics Universe, Shanna the She Devil, and title of the famous 1989 Susan Siedelman’s film. In this circumstance it alludes, in a playful manner, to the diabolic and bizarre spirit with which the artistic experience investigates the day-to-day life. In continuity with the previous Editions of the review, the videos represent the female points of view and place the various fields of the video art research in direct contrast with one another. The purpose of the initiative is to stress, at times using irony, at times realism, the collective consciousness on themes such as female identity, the body as repository of representation and meaning, and personal experiences on universal dimensions, even when the very intimacy of the artists is at the forefront of their works.

SHE DEVIL 3
2009

Rona Yefman invited by Antonia Alampi
Annalisa Macagnino invited by Simona Brunetti
Sabrina Muzi invited by Gaia Cianfanelli
Signe Lillemark invited by Eleonora Farina
Julia Kläring invited by Maria Garzia
Loredana Longo invited by Maria Cristina Giusti
Federica Tavian Ferrighi invited by Caterina Iaquinta
Lilibeth Cuenca invited by Orsola Mileti
Aneta Grzeszykowska invited by Cristina Natalicchio
Maddalena Vantaggi invited by Manuela Pacella
Zoulikha Bouabdellah invited by Cristiana Perrella
Jenny Marketou invited by Elena Giulia Rossi
Alice Anderson invited by sybin
Erica Scourti and Lina Pallotta (as special guest) invited by Chiara Vigliotti

Maddalena Vantaggi

3menda_mente, 2006
One-channel video. Running time: 4:41
Courtesy of the artist

Our daily mask draws itself in the private of our thoughts, in the surreal scenery of our mind where we dance according to the rhythm of an intimate and cathartic soundtrack, free from our and others judgment, unaware of the real context where it is: this is the simple message that develops during the three acts of the video. The artist doesn’t have a peculiar interest for the technical quality of the chosen medium, but the video becomes a vehicle of her meaningful needs, tinged with healthy irony. The black and white alternation with the color, emphasizes the difference between reality and creative freedom which, once stopped in the silence, unveils the fraud of a world without a face.

SHE DEVIL 4
2010

Anetta Mona Chisa invited by Antonia Alampi
Moira Ricci invited by Raffaele Bedarida
Monica De Miranda invited by Gianluca Brogna
Anna Franceschini invited by Simona Brunetti
Nandipha Mntambo invited by Benedetta Carpi De Resmini
Laura Fratangelo invited by Gaia Cianfanelli
Ana Prvacki invited by Dobrila Denegri
Marinella Senatore invited by Eleonora Farina
Mariuccia Pisani invited by Maria Garzia
Luana Perilli invited by Caterina Iaquinta
Nick Hooker invited Orsola Mileti
Grimanesa Amorós invited by Manuela Pacella
Lida Abdul invited by Cristiana Perrella
Tamara Moyzes invited by Lydia Pribisova
Grace Ndiritu invited by sybin
Asli Sungu invited by Julia Trolp
Tara Mateik invited by Chiara Vigliotti

Special guest: Martha Rosler

Grimanesa Amorós

Preoccupation, 2008
Single-Channel video. Running time: 1:12
Courtesy of the artist

Pupil, little doll (this is the meaning in Latin), that stenopeic hole which calibrates light, reflects in miniature the image in front of her and projects the picture in the inner of the ocular bulb, on the retina that sends back to the brain for elaborate, decode and compare her with our visual and cognitive experienced.
In the video Preoccupation the reflected image on the enlarged pupil is highly iconic and her symbolic strength prevents from dissuading the look, doesn’t care if is masculine or female; that shape is by now listed in the general imaginary as a signal of erotic subjugation.

SHE DEVIL 5
2011

Katharina D. Martin invited by Chiara Vigliotti
Katarzyna Kozyra invited by Lydia Pribisova
Jen DeNike invited by Benedetta Carpi de Resmini
Pilvi Takala invited by Dobrila Denegri
Valerie LeBlanc invited by Elena Giulia Rossi
Kate Street invited by Susanna Bianchini
Berni Searle invited by Antonia Alampi
Bahar Behbahani invited by Maria Garzia
Janaina Tschäpe invited by Laura Giorgini
Laurel Nakadate invited by Cristiana Perrella
Janet Biggs invited by Manuela Pacella
Nina Lassila invited by Maria Cristina Giusti
Julika Rudelius invited by Caterina Iaquinta

Janet Biggs

Brightness All Around, 2011
Single-Channel HD video with sound. Running time: 08:36.
Courtesy of the artist, Cristin Tierney Gallery, New York, NY, Analix Forever, Geneva, Switzerland, and CONNERSMITH, Washington DC.

Linda Norberg is a woman working in a coal mine in Svalbard Islands, in the Arctic Ocean, where the main economic activity is, in fact, the extraction of coal.
 Bill Coleman – a guru of the New York music scene – is a very sensual performer, who takes energy from being on stage. Two opposites trades that in the video Brightness All Around by Janet Biggs talk through visual and audio references: the light on the helmet worn by Linda serves to illuminate the claustrophobic darkness that characterizes the environment while the lighthouse illuminates Bill in his black leather dress and makes shine his figure in motion; Bill’s guitar, however, blends giving rhythm at the unending and monotonous noise of the machinery with which Linda worked every day.
In the video of Biggs – the last stage of the film trilogy The Arctic Cycle of which the first two were made in 2009 and 2010 due to the residency program The Arctic Circle – the two extremes meet by giving us the sad certainty of an alarming inner solitude.

SHE DEVIL 6
2014

Kathryn Cornelius invited by Elena Giulia Rossi
Malak Helmy
invited by Antonia Alampi
Payal Kapadia invited by Pia Lauro
Mana Salehi invited by Dobrila Denegri
Larissa Sansour invited by Cristiana Perrella
Jeanne Susplugas invited by Manuela Pacella
Barbara Visser invited by Orsola Mileti

Jeanne Susplugas

For your eyes, 2004-2005
Video / animation. Running time: 3:49.
Music: Ramuntcho Matta
Courtesy of the artist

A fierce, almost splatter scenery becomes deeply uncomfortable and dangerous if it has been made with a childish drawing style, while the motorial autonomy of a doll has the power to carry the imagination to fearful places.
In For your eyes Jeanne Susplugas makes skillful use of the techniques (in the animated parts she uses different styles ranging from childish drawings to the manga) to create a semantic contrast between the innocence and the cruelty. The imagery is the one of an hyper-realistic doll whose eyes are closed in a dreamlike limbo of murders and then re-opened, animated with new colors.
The music is sweet but screams the ferocity of the indifference. There is no other possible solution to get out of the nightmare of the inner anger that the killing of the psychotic self from which you are addicted and finally try to walk into that scary hell that is the one of the true freedom.

SHE DEVIL 7
2015

Perry Bard invited by Elena Giulia Rossi
Edy Ferguson invited by Dobrila Denegri
Flo Kasearu invited by Pia Lauro
Klara Lidén invited by Cristiana Perrella
Loredana Longo invited by Chiara Vigliotti
Jumana Manna and Sille Storihle invited by Antonia Alampi
Sarah Maple invited by Manuela Pacella
Ma Qiusha invited by Orsola Mileti
Eva Sepping invited by SSMM

Tribute to Nancy Spero curated by Manuela Pacella

Sarah Maple

Freedom of Speech, 2013
Single-Channel video. Running time: 5:06
Courtesy of the artist

In her work – mainly focused on photography and painting – Sarah Maple plays a character, with a veil of irony and a strong critical impact thanks to the reuse of the mass media standards and pop icons.
In this case the artist, at least for the first minute of the video Freedom of Speech, seems to be simply herself, facing the camera, being interviewed on her work. The haughtiness of her talking about her work, her English accent, the conviction to play a key role as an artist who chose feminism as the main line of her research, causes a strong irritation to the observer. At this point, the typical London based trendy artist is slapped. The slaps become more frequent, but she keeps on talking; she readjusts and starts again, until she arrives at the end of the speech, despite the tears. Maple becomes the victim of the sadistic look of the spectator who feels justified in this insane desire to silence her forever. Her antipathy, however, is a fake and what we involuntarily incarnate is the continued, unabated desire to silence the more persistent female voices. We always forget that the resistance to pain and the perseverance are the highlight of the female universe.

Tribute to Nancy Spero

Irene Sosa

Nancy Spero in Derry, Northern Ireland, 1992
Color video documentary on the making of a mural by Nancy Spero in Derry, Northern Ireland.
Shot on Hi8 video, edited on 3/4 U-matic SP video. Running time: 16:58
Courtesy of the artist

Bogside, Derry, Northern Ireland: Catholic neighbourhood under the walls of Derry, scene of the most violent collisions of the Troubles in Northern Ireland. One of these is the Bloody Sunday of January 30, 1972 but also, going backwards, the famous Battle of the Bogside of August 12, 1969, lasting 48 hours, between residents of the neighbourhood closed behind the barricades and the RUC that for the first time in UK uses tear gas. And so begins one of the darkest seasons of the Northern Irish conflict. The Bogside becomes a no-go area and it is self-declared free: You are now entering in Free Derry still stands on the original wall, which has become a monument.

The slow and difficult peace process in Northern Ireland began in 1998 (the year of the Good Friday Agreement but also the year of the bloodiest attack by the IRA, in Omagh) for arriving at a “conclusion” in 2005 (when the IRA announced the ceasefire; violence, clashes and killings continue until 2011). Today, some areas of Belfast and Derry feature political and violent murals. It is the norm.

In 1990, the Orchard Gallery in Derry, directed by Declan McGonagle, call Nancy Spero to execute a mural in the Bogside: project conceived within TSWA Four City Project that involves – over Derry – Glasgow, Newcastle and Plymouth.

The intervention of Nancy Spero focuses on women, using figures from history (athletes and Greek heroines) and images and poems by Northern Irish female writers and activists.

The lightness and the elegance of the Spero’s style are so different from the usual murals to cause fuss among women of the Bogside, opening a debate on the role of art, of that of women in the conflict, on the right by a foreigner to address these issues; debate in which Spero takes part with incredible openness and desire for dialogue.

Irene Sosa has documented all this through a video work that is still incredibly present-day. Nancy Spero in Derry Northern Ireland of 1992 [1] is exhibited in Rome for the first time, with the desire to pay tribute to Spero, to her strong belief that women work as activators and that art is the best way to deal with difficult issues such as struggle, violence and repression. It is not a coincidence that the art, for its openness, arouses desire for confrontation; the policy, however, in suppressing anger with its categorical imperatives, obtain only incurable grudges.

[1] The video was recently exhibited at the This Is What Comes …. show, curated by Hugh Mulholland, Golden Thread Gallery, Belfast, October 23-November 29, 2014.

Irene Sosa, MFA, (1989, New York University: Tisch School of the Arts) is a Professor in the Departments of TV/Radio and PRLS. A Venezuelan filmmaker, she began working in Super 8 films in 1982 and since then has making documentaries. She has also worked as camera-person and editor in film and video, and collaborated with other artists in many multimedia installations and dance performances.

She is currently working on Vertical Slum, a project that takes up issues of architecture and ideology. The documentary will focus on a building in the heart of Caracas, Venezuela that was left unfinished and has recently been taken over and become a vertical slum. Her previous work, Shopping to Belong, explores the search for cultural citizenship in the Latino community through consumerism. In 2004 she was commissioned by the Centro Galego de Arte Contemporanea in Galicia, Spain to make an anthology of her work on artist Nancy Spero (13 documentaries) as part of a retrospective of the artist. Two of these documentaries are included in the DVD Spero/Golub produced by Kartemquin Films.Her work has been shown in many national and international venues and has received recognition in the press internationally. In 1998 Sosa was a recipient of the Individual Artist’s Fellowship in video from the New York Foundation for the Arts and a fellowship from The Andrea Frank Foundation.

SHE DEVIL 8
2016

artists:
Elia Alba, Jurga Barilaite, Roberta Garbagnati, Silvia Giambrone, Magdalena Golba, Nilbar Güres, Maha Maamoun, Angela Marzullo, Alice Schivardi, Elaine Shemilt, Ásdís Sif Gunnarsdóttir, Saoirse Wall.

curators:
Antonia Alampi, Benedetta Carpi De Resmini, Dobrila Denegri, Caterina Iaquinta, Pia Lauro, Alessandra Mammì, Manuela Pacella, Cristiana Perrella, Lydia Pribisova, Elena Giulia Rossi, Chiara Vigliotti, Paola Ugolini.

Manuela Pacella
Saoirse Wall*

reclining nude as the v, 2012
Single-Channel video. Running time: 1:49

nope not lonely, 2013
Single-Channel video. Running time: 0′ 20”

Courtesy of the artist

 * Saoirse Wall took part at the 8th edition of SHE DEVIL and for this reason is included in this publication but the artist today doesn’t feel well represented by this project as Wall doesn’t identify as a woman but rather as a non-binary agender person.

The videos that Saoirse Wall shares freely on YouTube are highly irritating and attractive. She appears and disappears, dances and acts, seduces and disgusts, all in front of the webcam, in the solitude of her room. The titration that Wall apparently prefers for her works makes abundant use of Newspeak (abbreviations and an almost total absence of capital letters). Her disguises in front of the camera are reflections of the many personalities that decide to show up as soon as a spotlight illuminates them. If reclining nude as the v allows us to predict, already from the title, the countless Venuses in art history that a simple Google images search show, nope not lonely opens the door to a peculiar eroticism where the chance of the virtual transforms us into the real. Seeing ourselves in highly erotic poses determines a form of confidence in attractiveness that is able to seduce first ourselves and, therefore, potentially, everybody. In fact, no, we are not alone; nope not lonely.

still frame of "reclining nude dressed as the v"
still frame of "nope not lonely"

SHE DEVIL X
2018

Kristina Inčiūraitė invited by Benedetta Carpi De Resmini
Lerato Shadi invited by Dobrila Denegri
Maria Di Stefano invited by Veronica He
Riikka Kuoppala invited by Pia Lauro
Bertille Bak invited by Alessandra Mammì
Anna Raimondo invited by Manuela Pacella
Lida Abdul invited by Cristiana Perrella
Marisa Williamson invited by Lydia Pribisova
Basma Alsharif invited by Elena Giulia Rossi
Eulalia Valldosera invited by Laura Trisorio
Monira Al Qadiri invited by Alessandra Troncone
Regina José Galindo invited by Paola Ugolini
Amaia Vicente invited by Chiara Vigliotti

Anna Raimondo

DIVINA!, 2017
Video HD, 16/9. Running time: 3:05
Performer: Divina Tota
Music: Malambo n.1 di Yma Sumac
Camera: Cristian Espinoza
Courtesy of the artist and Ex Elettrofonica, Rome

The everyday life of a city told by the female voices who live it or remember it is part of the travelling research started by Anna Raimondo in 2017 entitledNuove Frontiere del Benessere dell’Ecosistema Vaginale. Listening to these voices presupposes openness to the other; taking records of memories and experiences in order to give them to other audiences means to convey the private into the public. For Raimondo, therefore, every meeting has the flavour of exceptionalism and each voice is part of a new map of the chosen city. During the Chilean stage of the project, the artist meets the drag queen Divina Tota in one of the bars where the performer stages her voice-lift shows. The figure of Divina Tota immediately becomes a symbol of Raimondo’s research, in his synthesis of opposites: a post-punk and almost gothic look combined with a hyper-feminine musical repertoire; the lifting of the voice on a strongly connoted body; singing Malambo n.1 of the soprano Yma Sumac facing the Pacific Ocean. In this case, the ocean is the symbol of a port city as important as Valparaíso as well as the reference to femininity itself. For Raimondo it also contains the double value of the possibility of starting a new life and of its opposite (in reference to migratory flows); the natural barrier and, at the same time, the total cancellation of the very idea of the frontier.

SHE DEVIL XI
2019

Jackie Karuti invited by Antonia Alampi
Saba Masoumian invited by Susanna Bianchini
Ellie Ga invited by Valentina Bruschi
Emilija Škarnulytė invited by Benedetta Carpi De Resmini
A. van der Kruijs & V. Shydlouskaya invited by Dobrila Denegri
Karen Kramer invited by Veronica He
Isabelle Hayeur invited by Pia Lauro
Laura Grisi invited by Alessandra Mammì
Anna-Sofia Sysser invited by Manuela Pacella
Joanna Zylinska invited by Elena Giulia Rossi
Agnieszka Polska invited by Alessandra Troncone
Sinae Yoo invited by Paola Ugolini

Anna-Sofia Sysser

Birds of Paradise, 2015
Single-Channel video. Running time: 6:47
Directing, camera, editing: Anna-Sofia Sysser
Performers: Marjut Maristo, Katja Sallinen, Enni Suominen & Sophia Wekesa
Sound: Risto Kämäräinen
Courtesy of the artist

Spending time together, having fun and taking care of one another are the values that underpin Anna-Sofia Sysser’s multidisciplinary practice, which aims to conceive a working method that is both socially constructive and environmentally sustainable. 
Bird of Paradise is the video that marks the beginning of the artist’s interest in a rather peculiar research area, defined as “the Finnish tropical” – in other wordshow the tropical is perceived in Finland. This research then became the subject of Tropical Dreams:Representations of the Tropical in Finlandthe thesis she presented at Aalto University in 2018 and which charts the singular deviation that led her to “admire the tropical by examining it  notably through the study of tropical locations and products in Finland, as well as by travelling to tropical countries.

The video was first presented in 2015 at the Oksasenkatu 11 gallery in Helsinki, as part of a  solo show entitled Surprise Paradisealong with another videoFlowers of Cuba and its associated environment. When Birds of Paradise was shown it was surrounded by different kinds of waste: plastic bags and plastic flowers, gift cards, fabrics and party decorations. Similar objects were given to the four dancers who appear in the video, and they made creative use of the materials both in their costume and the dance itself – that of the birds of paradise. Found predominantly in New Guinea, these birds are rich in metaphorical significance and characterised by a marked sexual dimorphism, whereby males are endowed with a distinct, brightly coloured plumage to attract the females with elaborate, extravagant dances. The highly playful and cathartic nature of the experience is clear from Sysser’s video; if only for the time of its filmingit was enough to make the dancers feel the need to be “freer, sillier; less cynical and self-conscious.” Perhaps everything might be permitted and promised against this iconic backdrop of tropical palms – not just an endless summer in a Nordic country, but a pinch of creative joy too.