For centuries, in both the educated and popular tradition the “Sonorous garment” has been a musical myth, an elusive instrument. Anna Gili has become part of this tradition: her monumental garment, a kind of outsized origami, an enormous white and gold insect with ever-open wings is made of forms and materials that emit sound in correspondence, with the gestures of the body: friction between different textiles, metals, pendants, body and floor produce whole ranges of sound from a slight rustle to furious thundering.

From noises from the body to noises from the world: breathing the mysterious beat of the heart, the rhythm of steps, the cock-crow and the message of the astronaut. The world is a sound system. Putting on a garment of a sound connected the body’s musical capacities to the phonic capacities of the surrounding world: from the body of sound to the world of sound by means of the garment of sound, intuitive and isolated, a sheath enclosing the body constraining it to gestures that are minimal controlled, formal and gothic.

Alessandro Mendini, Domus 653/ settembre1984


Anna Gili is an experimentalist who has worked with many materials and her methods have surpassed the barriers between fashion design theatre.
It is pure decorative art the first dress is the fig leaf, then the fruit skirt of the wild. The archaic raw Weaving is like a reorganization of the plant of wild origin. In the 50s, the decorated female dress was a transposition into modern being, being dressed in flowers. Anna Gili tells: “I brought back to life the flowers and leaves that had been flattened and rendered abstract on the fabrics”. It is a bucolic operation, recreating an aesthetic relationship between the person and nature through a flower dress that makes the air breathe, is fresh, perfumed and allows the body to glimpse. It is linked to the Baroque era when large festoons of fruit and leaves decorated dining rooms and tables set in gardens.


Making-up the human body, by drawing and painting on it, is a constant in the history of usage-from the Kabuki theatre to Red Indians and body art.

The beauty care itself, which we each devote to ourselves in the morning in front of the mirror, is an interpretation of personality a kind of self-portrait.

In this brief, difficult and delicate exhibition-performance, an expressive experiment is conducted in this sense.

The theme is the male body, the make-up of which is treated as an aesthetic work in itself and belongs to the language of painting, having as its reference more the history of the portrait than that of usage.

For one evening only, seven made-up persons are exhibited as living paintings against mosaic backgrounds with decorations similar to persons’ faces.

Alessandro Mendini, Flash Art 1986