Patricia Belli, ‘Broken Column’ 1996
Patricia Belli, Broken Column 1996 . Lent by the Tate Americas Foundation, courtesy of the Latin American Acquisitions Committee 2018 . © Patricia Belli

Room 7 in Materials and Objects

Patricia Belli

Traps

Patricia Belli, Traps  1996

Dark red garter belts and tights are stitched together and attached to a canvas. The legs of the hanging stockings dangle below the canvas. Merging together, they resemble a surreal and monstrous form. The title Traps alludes to the potential erotic and sensual effects of stockings. It suggests a process of entrapment that includes the power of attraction but also the objectification of women’s bodies.

Gallery label, December 2020

© Patricia Belli

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Empty Sacks

Patricia Belli, Empty Sacks  1997

Belli patched together various fragments of used shirts. Long, woven threads extend from their pockets and fall onto the floor. The layered folds and billowing structure of the material gives an organic and even bodily appearance to this work. The title conveys a sense of loss, relating to the artist’s experience of a miscarriage. The long extensions of thread have the appearance of umbilical cords.

Gallery label, December 2020

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Femalia

Patricia Belli, Femalia  1996

Femalia is made from the fabric of a pink dress, once worn by the artist. Stretched and contorted across a canvas, it creates an abstract form. Folds and stitches in the fabric may suggest violence. During the 1990s Belli would often rework various materials, such as second-hand clothing or furniture, to suggest fragmented and dislocated bodies. Many of these works confront and question ideas of femininity, particularly within the context of Nicaragua, where she lives and works.

Gallery label, December 2020

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Broken Column

Patricia Belli, Broken Column  1996

Broken Column is made from various used corsets, They have been stitched together to emphasise the painful effect that corsets have upon women’s bodies. The title refers to a painting by the Mexican artist Frida Kahlo entitled The Broken Column 194 4. Kahlo depicted herself wearing a steel corset with a broken marble column in place of her own damaged spine. Belli’s layered corsets suggests the collective pressures and enduring inequalities that women face in a patriarchal society.

Gallery label, December 2020

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Art in this room

Traps
Patricia Belli Traps 1996
Empty Sacks
Patricia Belli Empty Sacks 1997
Femalia
Patricia Belli Femalia 1996
Broken Column
Patricia Belli Broken Column 1996

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  • Art Term

    Mixed media

    Mixed media is a term used to describe artworks composed from a combination of different media or materials