Francesco Vezzoli is known for having said that his work is about "this fine line that seems to separate entertainment from the art world." That the "art world has now become its own fabulous industry" (Francesco Vezzoli in interview with Serena Davies, reproduced in My life as a Diva, London 2006). And in doing so, he chooses some of the most famous stars who walk this line: icons of cinema and pop culture - Greta Garbo, Joan Crawford, Courtney Love, Helen Mirren and Silvana Mangano, to name but a few.
Two-Faced Greta is one of the great examples of Vezzoli's practice, where the artist's preferred medium of embroidery (next to film) comes to full bearing. In an interview with Germano Celant, Vezzoli explains his fascination with actresses marked by time and the craft of needlework:
"I began by making needlepoint copies of prostitutes' calling cards that I found in telephone booths in London. Coming from an artistic Italian background, the idea was for me to perform a conceptual act, applying a visual, practical, openly domestic by-the-fireplace kind of language to a sexual one. Then I found that using this language of needlepoint unleashed very strong reactions from people. Some read it as a statement on sexuality or on the appropriation of a feminine language. Needlepoint is definitely an openly feminine language, but in some ways it's also a masculine one (...). So watching the reactions that this language would generate - a language that is figurative by nature - I understood that, more than a painting or that kind of thing, this technique unleashed something in people. Then, to try to give this choice some depth, I tried to understand what its associations were. I discovered, for example, that among all the symbolic actresses of European and American cinema history, especially the ones with a truly supreme image like Greta Garbo, Silvana Mangano, and Joan Crawford - those who had constructed the most complicated, articulated, absolute image - all obsessively did needlepoint. They needed to somehow compensate for their double identity with a rather regenerative, reconciliatory practice. So needlepoint is also progressively performed in (my) videos. (...) I like to imagine myself as a fan, as a star fucker, who does embroiderings of the faces of the icons he loves, as well as the tears of pain on their faces" (Francesco Vezzoli in interview with Germano Cenlant, reproduced in Francesco Vezzoli: proof that experimentation is alive and well in art, New York 2004).