Heels – a performance by Anna Franceschini and Jojo Gronostay inspired by Chiara Vecchiarelli, and the new version of Up and Down the Heels – has taken place on Saturday, September 18 in Milan, at Casa Flash Art, via Durini 24 – 20122 Milan, from 6 pm to 10 pm.
Besides the performers’ bodies, only heels fallen off shoes are in the space. They were found by Jojo Gronostay on the market stalls of Accra, Ghana. Broken, perhaps lost, carrying a feeble hope for redemption. They waited there as if they were looking for a fit, perhaps the secret twin of the one shoe they fell from, a message in a bottle sent via the ocean of second-hand goods—almost a Duchampian rendezvous with a time and a space yet unknown. Freed from the waiting, they took on a sculptural dimension in the eyes of Gronostay, and a performative one through the encounter with Anna Franceschini. Freed from the determinations that were previously assigned to them, they stand as emancipated forms forgetful of their previous life. Perhaps in search for a memory they can no longer access, they are too far from a life that saw them arriving in Africa from Europe and back to Europe from Africa, loaded with a whole range of symbols of domination, customs and politics. They somehow emancipated themselves and appear to be sharing their new agency with a group of performers and dancers.
By a swimming pool surrounded by black marble and carpet, a distilled set of gestures unfolds in the space, dislocating the distance between the feet and the ground, the living and the planet to the walls, the necks, the knees. Performed, the space breaths, the heels fall down. Once on the floor, the heels stay where they fell, like clothes fallen on the floor a moment before making love, like water filling a pond after spinning counterclockwise at the other end of the planet, inhabiting the space as if they were the silent witnesses of the one moment in which a perspective flipped, forgot its past, glimpsed at a new imaginal life. Then, the performance loops. A French poet said of heels they are meant to elevate women who are too close to nature. Heels reduces such distance until it collapses in a new paradigm. One of a life that stands on this side of the separation, always ready to molt.