Carla Lonzi (b. 1931, Florence; d. 1982, Milan) was an art critic and feminist activist best known for her work with Rivolta Femminile, a feminist collective created in 1970. Following the publication of Autoritratto ('Self-portrait') in 1969, Lonzi published Manifesto di Rivolta femminile (1970), Sputiamo su Hegel. La donna clitoridea e la donna vaginale e altri scritti (1974) and Taci, anzi parla. Diario di una femminista (1977). Due to her uncodified practice, she occupies a singular position within post-war Italian politics and art, and is a crucial figure of European feminism.
(trans. Allison Grimaldi Donahue)
Recorded and transcribed throughout the 1960s, Carla Lonzi’s Self-portrait ruptures the narration of post-war modern art in Italy and beyond. Artmaking struck Lonzi as an invitation to be together in a ‘humanly satisfying way’, and this experiment in art-historical writing is a testament to her belief. Lonzi abolishes the role of the critic, her own, seeking change over self-preservation by theorising against the act of theorising.
Afterword by Claire Fontaine. Shortlisted for the ALTA Italian Prose in Translation Award.
- 105 b&w illustrations
- 21.6 x 13.9 cm
- 364 p.
- November 2021
About the author
About the translator
Allison Grimaldi Donahue (b. 1984, Middletown, Connecticut) is the author of Body to Mineral (Publication Studio Vancouver, 2016) and the co-author of On Endings (Delere Press, 2019). Her writing and translations have appeared in The Brooklyn Rail, Words without Borders, Flash Art, BOMB, NERO and Tripwire, and her performances have been presented in Italy at Gavin Brown's enterprise, MAMbo, MACRO and Short Theatre. She is a 2021–22 resident of Sommerakademie Paul Klee, Bern. She lives in Bologna.
Before she spurred everyone to spit on Hegel, Carla Lonzi arranged her Self-portrait in the form of a dialogue recorded with friends – artists – with whom she had been in conversation for years. She wanted to feel less alienated, to figure out a way for art to be a part of living, not a stupid contrivance to be consumed. Soon after the book was published, in order to continue to ‘live life in a creative way, not in obedience with the models that society proposes over and over’, she abandoned art criticism, but not art – and never life.