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Nicola Costurera [Nicola Seamstress]

2008
21st century
124.5 cm x 104.1 cm (49 in. x 41 in.)

Nicola Costantino (Rosario, Argentina, 1964 - ) Primary

Object Type: photograph
Artist Nationality: Latin America, Argentinean
Medium and Support: Inkjet
Credit Line: Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin, Purchase through the Pinta Museum Acquisition Program with generosity from the Arts Connection Foundation, Gail and Louis Adler, Michael Chesser, and Melissa Jones, 2009
Accession Number: 2009.19

Constantino’s work has always placed issues related to feminism at its core. Following the subversive artistic practices of artists such as Cindy Sherman, she inserts herself into art history, playing dual roles as both the creator and the object of representation. Nicola costurera [Nicola Seamstress] is a reference to Primeros pasos [First Steps] (1937), a painting by Antonio Berni, one of Argentina’s most popular and prolific artists whose career spanned sixty years and incorporated aspects of Surrealism, social realism, and Pop art in order to address class issues. In this photograph Constantino situates herself as the protagonist of the tableau, appropriating the compositional balance and posture of the seamstress depicted by Berni and dramatizing the scene through the use of theatrical lighting. In contrast to Berni’s picture, in which a male dancer is passively observed by a seamstress, Constantino diverts the viewer’s attention to her own likeness, accentuating the seamstress role within the scene and, by extension, the female presence in the history of art.

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