Anna Maria Maiolino at Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles

The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) is hosting an exhibition featuring artist Anna Maria Maiolino at the museum’s Grand Avenue location in Los Angeles.The exhibition, featuring five decades of diverse practice by Italian-Brazilian artist Anna Maria Maiolino (b. 1942, Scalea, Italy), is her first ever comprehensive US museum survey. As part of “Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA” – an enterprising effort by Getty and other arts institutions across Southern California – the show explores through the full range of Maiolino’s practice that encompass printmaking, drawing, sculpture, photography, video, and performance. Despite being exhibited at multiple venues in Europe, the artist has just started garnering accolades in North America for her works, that focus on socio-historical issues like migration, linguistic competence, feminism, dictatorship, and the perpetual dialectical strife between art and life, the classic and the quotidian, and the expression and impression. Travelling from her birthplace Italy to Venezuela to her adopted country Brazil as the aftermath of global migration scenarios fuelled by World War II, the artist’s oeuvre was categorically impacted by the military dictatorship in Brazil during 1964 through 1985, as well as the global patriarchal power structure. The feelings of alienation as an immigrant, or a mother, and an artist under the political persecutive scenarios in Brazil and elsewhere are directly reflected through her early woodcut works as well as her introspective paper works, channeled through a personally and psychologically charged narrative.Beginning as a printmaker, driven by her interest towards utilizing indigenous printmaking techniques against Brazil’s fondness towards modernity, Maiolino quickly found herself in the same league as are the names like Lygia Clark, Hélio Oticica, Lygia Pape and Rubens Gerchman, showcasing her works alongside them in the 1967 exhibition “New Brazilian Objectivity”. Playing with palindromes, she found interest in the role of mouth as the site for both language and food consumption- an idea that dominated through the rest of her career. This conjugation of linguistic and biology, culture and nature- reflected on her oeuvre as this notion of pairing became heavily invested in her art-making process. During the late 1960s, the artist spent two years in New York, where she was introduced to minimalism and conceptualism. She carried this back to Brazil, and like many other artists from North and South America, started using them in films and performances. Her 1973 work “In-Out (Antropofagia)” literally linked her vision of mouth as a site of consumption with Brazilian theories of cultural cannibalism. Simultaneously, through her performances, she started taking on the issues of dictatorship rampant in Brazil, often using egg – a material that carries associations of gender, fertility, food, hardness, softness, durability and fragility. She started working with clay at the end of the dictatorship, and went on to create large, sculptural, room-based installations, which, without being treated by fire, address the notions of daily mundane nature of “women’s work” and the larger philosophical issue of impermanence.The exhibition is on view through December 31, 2017 at the MOCA, 250 South Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90012, USA.For details, visit: on the slideshow for a sneak peek at the exhibition.

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