I am a multi-disciplinary artist working largely in works on paper, photography, and ceramics. I received an M.F.A from RISD in 2006 and I am represented by Cade Tompkins Projects in Providence, RI. My work is held in the permanent collections of numerous museums including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Cleveland Museum of Art, Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Whitney Museum of American Art. I am a dual US/Italian citizen and grew up between St. Louis, Missouri, and Sicily. I was based on the East Coast from 2004-2019 before relocating to Atlanta to take on the position of the Head of Printmaking at Georgia State University. I split my time between the United States and Sicily where I run Officina Stamperia del Notaio, a small international artist’s residency program with a printmaking studio and darkroom.
This is a sequence of photographs that document my discovery of an old crumpled child’s dress in the ruins of an abandoned country church on the outskirts of my family’s town in Sicily, and the subsequent hypothetical narrative I construct in an effort to imagine how the dress came to be there.
This sequence of photographs was taken in my family’s hometown in Sicily. In 2019 I discovered an abandoned country church in ruins that presumably hadn’t been entered for ages. Used as a shelter for sheep and as a one-time hangout for boys (judging from the childlike graffiti on the walls), I was taken aback by a disturbing element: a crumpled child’s dress, seemingly from the 1960s or 1970s. It had been there for many years by its condition and the sediment on the floor around it. I couldn’t ignore the possibility that something traumatic and sinister had taken place on this spot, and the dress had never been touched since. This finding both shifted and reinforced the way I looked at my familiar surroundings and the faces of people in our small village of fewer than 2,000 people, bringing to mind subtle indicators of surveillance and control that are evident in this predominantly male-dominated culture, and the residue of superstition, religion, perceived threats to a person’s honor, and veiled family histories that intertwine and go far back in time. The question of who the dress belonged to and how it came to be there will never be answered but led me to comb through and arrange my photographs from the days surrounding that discovery in an effort to set the stage for this ambiguous story. Many of these images reflect acts of transgression, where I entered into spaces that women generally don’t go alone, off-limits to the public, or places that are abandoned or hidden. The word ‘smarrimento’ can mean many things, including loss and bewilderment.
To view more of Serena Perrone’s work please visit their website.