She brought hundreds, tens of thousands, and, most recently, in Italy, no fewer than 3.5 million people out into the streets for shared actions in which dance, music, singing, and slogans occupied the public space. Yet Senatore is not a performance artist. Her work is guided by a different motivation and structure, which her first exhibition at KOW seeks to pinpoint.
“Ever since I started joining workers and anarchist groups in occupying factories in Italy, I can no longer separate aesthetics from shared political action,” Senatore says in conversation. Her public pieces are studies in collective forms of self-empowerment in the arena of civil and sometimes feminist disobedience. Her oeuvre is a catalogue of diverse cultures of protest the artist stands in solidarity with, spotlights, or participates in.
Senatore’s practice interweaves these actions with her research, her involvement with political groups, and the preparation and subsequent review of the events in the studio. The exhibition features selections from her audio archive, presents protagonists and voices from various protest movements, marks individual scenes of action and possible ways of thinking. It limns a panorama of the history and present of a wide-ranging and popular culture of protest, recovering gestures of resistance and forms of counter-public that have been usurped by populists for a space of democratic participation.