| Art

Embodying Art

What is female identity in 2020?
Multidisciplinary artist, Sofia Cianciulli, reconnects with her own sense of self and femininity through her practice.

Sofia Cianciulli, #digitalfeelings

Sofia Cianciulli is a London-based, multidisciplinary artist with an MA in fine art, and has exhibited at Tate Exchange, Apiary Studios, Lethaby Gallery, and Ugly Duck. As a young female performance artist, she offers a critical approach to female representations, unpacking the vulnerability of the white female privilege that has marked her experience with womanhood and life events.

After researching the excessive way in which the media manipulates images of the female body and toys with society’s perception of what female identity is, Cianciulli felt the need to reconnect with her own sense of self and femininity. Inspired by Yves Klein’s Anthropométries (1960), an elaborate performance which saw nude women become human paintbrushes before a live audience, she re-contextualised his work by feeding her own identity into it, naming the process Sophmetries.

With her body navigating its way across her pieces, Cianciulli began to assess ways to incorporate the performative element into a flat painting. Experimenting with augmented reality allowed her to combine the different practices, creating her own parallel universes that a viewer can access through their phones as well as in physical print. This format allows Cianciulli to explore the concept of the female body as a decentralised app where content is often already sexualised, and invert the platform to allow the audience to define the interaction, based on their own interpretation of the female body presented.

When Cianciulli completes a piece, she analyses the shapes she creates through two separate dimensions: one is through the eyes of a woman and what it means to be one, and the other is through her bodily sensations. Relying on her body means she often develops a personal and intimate relationship to her work, in a reflexive practice that creates the space to discover her identity whilst also investigating the value of the female body in a hyperconnected and commodified society. The forms produced are intertwined with a definition of femininity trained by a long history of sexual representation and, when Cianciulli distances herself from her art, she involuntarily perceives the piece as an object of desirability and pleasure. 

There are two types of artists that impact Cianciullli’s creativity: those she disagrees with, which sparks her desire to re-evaluate their pieces and put her own spin on them, and those with whom she agrees. Largely inspired by 1970s feminist body art, works by artists such as Valie Export, Marina Abramović and Orlan encouraged her to explore different ways to deliver her own message. What differentiates Cianciulli from these iconic female artists is social media; spending most of her time on Instagram, she observes the patterns of the community she is a part of, using it to stay up to date with contemporary art trends.

Currently, Cianciulli is working on an Instagram project titled #digitalFeelings. A live stream depicts an anonymous silhouette behind a screen and invites users to comment, question and define the limits of objectivity, in front of a woman deprived of an identity in real time. Audience and viewer interactivity is key to Cianciulli’s pieces, with the aim to stimulate social interaction.

For aspiring artists, Cianciulli shares her greatest lesson: art doesn’t mean anything to anyone unless it means something to the artist first.

To find out more about Cianciulli and to see her work, follow the links below:

Website: www.sophmetries.com

Instagram: @sophmetries

All images © Sofia Cianciulli

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