The Artsy Vanguard 2019: Anna Maria Maiolino
Anna Maria Maiolino by Lívia Gonzaga Bertuzzi. © Anna Maria Maiolino. Courtesy of Hauser & Wirth.
Migrant, mother, global citizen—the Italian-born, Brazil-based artist Anna Maria Maiolino has explored these identities in intimate, autobiographical works that reflect her own displacement at the hand of authoritarian regimes. Maiolino’s first retrospective, at the Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo, premiered in 2005. In 2017, she had a major retrospective at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. This year, the artist—who shows with Hauser & Wirth, Galeria Luisa Strina, and Galleria Raffaella Cortese—had a solo show at Padiglione d’Arte Contemporanea in Milan; a new survey of her work will debut at London’s Whitechapel Gallery in late September.
Maiolino has been an avant-garde force since the early 1960s, when she was aligned with the Brazilian New Figuration movement. Her prolific oeuvre includes personal drawings, woodblock prints, and cement sculptures, as well as political films and performances that share a lexicon of shapes, words, and symbols. She belongs to a generation of Latin American female artists who have begun to receive broader recognition in corrective survey shows like “Radical Women: Latin American Art, 1960–1985,” which originated at the Hammer Museum in 2017 before traveling to the Brooklyn Museum and São Paulo’s Pinacoteca.
“Maiolino’s entire practice demonstrates that binary energy—that Western philosophy teaches us as ‘either/or’ which is the logic of power and hierarchy—is, in fact, dynamic, pulsing, alive, and ever-mutating, the engine for ‘and, and, and,’” said Helen Molesworth, who co-curated Maiolino’s 2017 retrospective at MOCA Los Angeles. “That such a worldview emanates from an engagement with the fundamental life-giving activities of preparing food and learning language shows us how much knowledge patriarchy negates when it denies the reality of the matrilineal.”