From Women to Everyone: In Conversation with Mulieris Magazine

Muleiris team. From left to right, Greta Langlianni, Chiara Cognigni and Sara Lorusso. Photo by Arianna Angelini.

Interview by Irene Bernardi

Mulieris Magazine was born in 2019 in Italy as an online platform. Greta Langianni and Sara Lorusso, the founder and co-founder, with the collaboration of Chiara Cognigni as graphic designer & Art Director, wanted to create a space for women and non-binary artists who usually find themselves on the margins of the art scene. Mulieris is a Latin word that means ‘of woman’: the magazine started online and has a printed issue in which the team asks women and non-binary artists to work on a specific theme.

This year Mulieris celebrates its fifth birthday—In addition to the print magazine with the fifth open call that has just ended, the opening of Mulieris Studio marked another big step for the community.

Irene Bernardi: I want to start at the beginning: I remember your first print issue Shapes. After all this work and success, what would you like to tell yourself about the past looking back now?

Sara Lorusso: After all the hard work of these years, I would try to motivate us! The project managed to grow and become more important and concrete; for all the times we thought of giving up or did not know where to start, I would like to tell ourselves that with calmness, perseverance, and determination, we came out much more mature and enriched.

Mulieris Magazine. Photo by Sara Lorusso.

How important is having an online platform and a print issue? What strengths and weaknesses have you found in using these two different media?

SL: The online platform made it possible to attract a part of the public that would never have bought a printed magazine. The audience of a print magazine is very specific, and we have always thought that Mulieris is purchased first for the topics and then for the design. In the end, we created two different communities and now they coexist together.

Talking about connection is very important for us, especially since today’s society wants us to be more individualistic: creating connections with others is the last chance to save us.

The Degrees Between Us is the name of the publications’s latest issue about the power of connections, and how far we are from each other. Every person on the planet can be connected to every other person through a five-degree chain: many times, I wonder how healthy these connections are and how important they are for everyday life. How important do you think it is to talk about connections in today’s society?

SL: Talking about connection is very important for us, especially since today’s society wants us to be more individualistic: creating connections with others is the last chance to save us. Mulieris for us was just that, in fact, this issue is about us. We were completely lost at the end of university, it seemed impossible for us to enter the creative world and so we tried to create a space for ourselves and for all creative women who were trying to make their work visible.

Installation view of the exhibition DREAMTIGERS.The Rooom 2023. Photo by Alexa Sganzeria

On the occasion of ArtCity 2023 in Bologna, Mulieris opened the exhibition DREAMTIGERS curated by Laura Rositani in collaboration with the concept studio The Rooom. Six international female artists, Lula Broglio, Alejandra Hernández, Joanne Leah, Sara Lorusso, Sara Scanderebech, Ayomide Tejuoso (Plantation), and The Mosshelter by Marco Cesari, lead the visitors in a sort of “dream world” where plants, humans, and animals mutate and dance together in the secret gardens of unconscious. What do you want to tell with this exhibition?

SL: The works in the exhibition are choreographies of bodies with blurred faces and are stills of animalistic details. They are the tigers mentioned by Jorge Luis Borges in his book Dreamtigers[1], those animals so admired in childhood and only to be encountered in dreams. Dreamtigers is talking about us, we are “tigers” to know. I quote an excerpt from the critical text written by exhibition curator Laura Rositani:

“The works create a succession of visions that immerse us in a fusion of animal, plant, and human worlds. They are a network of cracks to rejoin a sphere of memories. They are ever-changing, vegetal extensions, they are curtains ready to open. Through photography and painting, they look like snapshots of a past event that does not want to give up. They are dreams from which we no longer want to wake up. The surfaces of the works acquire volume and tactility, becoming unreachable to our senses.”

I have a question for Laura Rositani, the curator of DREAMTIGERS. I visited the exhibition twice and it reminds me of some passages from the book The Promises of Monsters by Donna Haraway, a book that is undoubtedly complex, but reasons about the relationship between human and nature. Haraway cites Spivak[2] and explains how nature is “one of those impossible objects that we cannot desire, that we cannot do without and that we cannot in any way possess”[3]: once we wake up from the ‘“dreamtigers” where everything coexists and mutates together, what awaits us in the real world?

Laura Rositani: I’m very interested in your association between the exhibition, this publication, and with Donna Haraway’s studies in general. “Dreamtigers” was meant to be a safe space, unreal at times and suspended in space and time. The nature portrayed is a changing nature, a hybrid one.

The awakening, the return to the real world is probably very disappointing. In reference to what you were quoting: we cannot be without nature, but neither can we possess it. Nature is not an essence, a treasure, a resource, a womb, a tabula rasa. Nature cannot be grasped in its totality, nor can its boundaries be established. Let’s consider what it is currently happening in Italy with continuous climate emergencies.

Perhaps the only way is precisely what Haraway points us to: to think of ourselves as virtual, that is, able to do things together.

Orchid Flowers. Artwork by Sara Lorusso.Installation view of the exhibition DREAMTIGERS.The Rooom 2023. Courtesy of Alexa Sganzeria and the artist.

In DREAMTIGERS, a few of your photos are also included in your first photo book As a Flower published by Witty Books. Specifically, the picture of the orchid, a beautiful flower that is usually fragile. In the image, the flower definitely refers to a vulva, but with an almost punk and rebellious hint, with these piercings hanging from the petals. Could the main picture represent the mission of Mulieris and the studio?

SL: I usually say that this photograph is a self-portrait of me in 2017 when I took it. When I took that photo, I did not yet know that I suffered from chronic pelvic pain and I had not yet come out as a queer person; this made me smile a lot because I knew practically nothing about myself but now, looking back at that photograph, things appear clear and simple to me. I like to find new significance to my photographs and associating this picture in particular with Mulieris and our mission as a project could be very powerful.

The last question is about the future of Mulieris: do you have any new projects on the horizon?

SL: There are many projects planned, the most imminent of which is the release of the new issue and the Launch Party on 23th of June in Milan. We are also organizing a new exhibition in collaboration with an art gallery in 2024!

You can find more about Mulieris Magazine and Studio Mulieris on their website and you can pre-order the new issue on Frabs Magazines.

View more of Sara Lorusso’s work on her website and Instagram, and her book As a Flower.

[1] Borges L. Jorge, Dreamtigers, translation by Mildred Boyer and Harold Morland, illustrated by Antonio Frasconi, Texas Pan American Series, 1964.

[2] Theory by Gayatri Spivak, american philosopher of Bengali origin. Active in the fields of postcolonialism, feminism, literary theory and gender studies.

[3] Haraway D., The promise of monsters: a Regenerative Politics for Inappropriate/d Others, Routledge, 1992, pg 37.

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