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Gaetano Pesce's Maestà Sofferente in the Piazza del Duomo in Milan
Photo: MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP/Getty Images

A monumental outdoor sculpture created by Gaetano Pesce as a critique of the patriarchy has sparked outrage among Italian feminists, who say it in fact perpetuates violence against women. Made for Milan Design Week, the eight-metre-high installation Maestà Sofferente (Suffering Majesty) resembles a womans torso covered in arrows, chained to a ball and under attack from wild animals. It was unveiled in Milans Piazza del Duomo on Sunday 7 April to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Pesces Up armchair, which the Italian designer has said he conceived in 1969 as an “image of a prisoner”, embodying womens suffering “because of the prejudice of men”.

At the end of the inauguration ceremony, the Italian feminist group Non Una Di Meno staged a protest in front of the work, bearing placards with the slogan “Ceci nest pas une femme” (this is not a woman), texts by the US art activists Guerrilla Girls, and the statistic that Italy has one femicide every three days. The group criticised Maestà Sofferente in a statement on its Facebook page, writing: “A woman is for the umpteenth time represented as an inert body and victim, without ever calling into question the actor of the violence.”

On Monday, the self-styled “artivist” Cristina Donati Meyer added her own intervention to Pesces woman-armchair, throwing red varnish on the seat as “a kind of menstruation to bring back to reality the artist who imagines a woman only as a piece of furniture”, according to Read More – Source

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