Fundació Tàpies presents retrospective of Anna Maria Maiolino’s art

A 50-year retrospective of the Brazilian artist Anna Maria Maiolino will open on the 15th of October at the Fundació Tàpies Museum in Barcelona.

CNA / Sarah Garrahan

October 13, 2010 11:53 PM

Barcelona (ACN).- The work of Anna Maria Maiolino spans a variety of mediums, from poetry to performance art. Her concept of art as political action and the themes of her work centre on the topicalization of the body, the construction of subjectivity, political revindication and daily gestures. These themes are many times represented in her art as dichotomies such as in-out, positive-negative and absence-presence. The Fundació Tàpies Museum of Barcelona is currently exhibiting works from her 50-year trajectory as an artist.

Anna Maria Maiolino was born in Calabria, Italy during World War II. In the 1960s, she emigrated to Venezuela along with her family. At 18 years old, she permanently moved to Brazil. There she found herself in the middle of Latin American political convulsions and the struggle for utopia. The will for progress dominated the artistic sphere.

Maiolino’s art is tied to political action. According to her, she is incapable of “separating the two functions”. “All art is in itself a political action because it is a social action”, she told ACN. However, Maiolino does not think that the political component fixes work into a determinate discourse. For her, art is only valid when it does not try to act as a pamphlet but rather when it “comes from the artist’s own emotional needs”.

Her work reflects on this emotional response in the face of a determinate social context. She uses a wide variety of artistic disciplines to portray her own expressive needs. Maiolino’s work consequently blends poetry, painting, sculpture, installation and mere artistic action.

The theme of otherness plays an important role in Maiolino’s concept of art.  Otherness along with subjectivity are used as a base line for all of her pieces because they open the doors for any kind of dialogue. A clear example of this is Maiolino’s take on the body in her piece ‘Glu, Glu, Glu’, where she looks for a connection between what is inside and what is outside. Or in her drawings from the 1970s where she superimposed different roles of the posterior space, uniting dichotomies and exploring the corporality of the material.

Her work also has a clear component of craft as a result of her ideas about art as a response to emotional needs. This craftsmanship is an attempt “to turn pleasure into a human work”.

The retrospective exhibition chronicles almost 50 years of the artist’s work. It is the first European exhibition of the Brazilian artist and can be visited from the 15th of October to the 16th of January.