Exhibition - On the meaning of ‘Gossip’

Group exhibition at the British School at Rome, curated by Marta Pellerini 

31 May – 23 June 2023, opening 31 May 18:00 - 20:30

BSR Fine Arts Exhibition with Maeve Brennan, Catriona Gallagher, Holly Graham, Helena Hladilová, Lulù Nuti and Marie-Agnès Nobecourt, Sharon Kelly, Lucy Tarquinio, Laura White.

In her book “Witch, witch-hunting and women” (2020), Silvia Federici traces the genealogy of the word ‘gossip’.

The meaning of this word became derogatory in Europe only in the 16th century, with the advent of capitalism and the intention of destroying the close-knit female community that existed at the time and that could oppose the new dominant social classes. Gossip today means informal discourse, often harmful to those affected by it, and is irrevocably linked to females or feminized subjectivities. These people gossip, having nothing better to do. Yet, as Federici says: “In many parts of the world, women have historically been seen as the weavers of memory – those who keep alive the voices of the past and the histories of the communities, who transmit them to the future generations and, in so doing, create a collective identity and profound sense of cohesion. They are also those who hand down acquired knowledges and wisdoms – concerning medical remedies, the problems of the heart, and the understanding of human behaviour”.

Federici is not the only philosopher addressing the meaning of the word gossip. In transfeminist theory and practice, this term has often provided opportunities for reflection and revision of historical narrative structures, those that seem so consistent as to be immutable, and towards which there is an attempt of deconstruction through personal experiences.

Based on these premises, the exhibition aims to investigate the different forms of transmitting and receiving wisdom that the invited artists carry out in their research and that go beyond the norms of knowledge. Be it oral archives, metamorphosis of matter or collaborative practices, the artists focus on their position in the world through the works displayed.

photos by Roberto Apa

Using Format