Magazine article Artforum International

Dadamaino: A Arte Invernizzi

Magazine article Artforum International

Dadamaino: A Arte Invernizzi

Article excerpt




This revelatory exhibition of the work of the Italian painter Dadamaino (1930-2004) was organized chronologically, presenting sequential stages in the self-taught artist's compelling career. Thirty-nine works produced over forty-three years evinced the artist's persistent formal inquiry, making a case for the notion that a concept can be constantly rediscovered and made relevant anew.

Dadamaino's artistic debut took place in Milan in 1958, amid the vibrant international context of the neo-avant-garde group Azimuth. The core members of this collective, Enrico Castellani and Piero Manzoni, founded the seminal homonymous journal and the gallery Azimut in 1959. Her work presaged the Minimalist poetics of the subsequent decade, and while she is only now gaining acknowledgment (her work was featured in the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum's major 2014 survey "ZERO: Countdown to Tomorrow, 1950s-60s"), she should be considered one of the pioneers of practices invested in the reduction of the image. Her first series, " Volumi" (Volumes), 1958-60, consists of monochrome canvases split open by large perforations. Conceived in the wake of Lucio Fontana's spatialist revolution, her paintings reject the sidereal dimension of Fontana's work. Instead, they appear as radical gestures toward the liberation of the surface, dominantly featuring shadows and actively engaging the space that surrounds them. The cuts in Dadamaino's canvases progressively shrink and multiply in her " Volumi a moduli sfasati" (Volumes in Shifted Modules), 1960. Rhythmic successions of holes bored into many layers of semitransparent plastic shift the viewer's attention from space itself to the artist's perception of space over time.

The time that Dadamaino was interested in capturing in her images is not the perceptual or dynamic time of much '60s optical-kinetic research. Rather, she aimed to represent her own subjective experience of time. It is precisely her desire to trace the very development of thought that led to what we can call her subsequent "period of the sign." From 1974 until 1978, she produced a series of works titled "L'inconscio razionale" (The Rational Subconscious), each consisting of a vertical or horizontal stroke drawn on paper or canvas. …

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