Anna Maria Maiolino: Revolutionary Love

Three different origins of women

By La Galleria Nazionale

In-out (Antropofagia)La Galleria Nazionale


Anna Maria Maiolino was born in Scalea, Calabria, in southern Italy, in 1942 to an Italian father and Ecuadorian mother. In 1954, her family moved first to Venezuela and then to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 1960.

Here, she attended painting and woodcutting courses at the Escola Nacional de Belas Artes, where she met the artists Antonio Dias and Rubens Gerchman, joining the Nova Figuraçâo movement which gave a Brazilian touch to American Pop Art.

In-out (Antropofagia)La Galleria Nazionale

New Objectivity

Since 1967, Maiolino was involved in the movement of the Brazilian New Objectivity, which highlighting the active participation of the spectator and a commitment and position on political, social and ethical problems.

Maiolino's works became a manifesto of resistance to the regime, as well as of the country's growing social inequalities.

Gender oppression became part of the issues addressed in those years, which Maiolino always faced with a two-fold bodily and intimate-spiritual approach.

In-out (Antropofagia)La Galleria Nazionale


In 1968, she moved to New York to focus more on Minimalism and Conceptual art.

In these years, she wrote several poems that become her primary form of expression. On her return to Brazil at the end of 1971, she began to create drawings and compositions based on them ("Mapas Mentais", 1971-74; "Book Objects", 1971-76; "Drawing Objects", 1971-76).

"Por um fio (fotopoemacao series) (1976) by Anna Maria MaiolinoLa Galleria Nazionale

Por Um Fio

From the mid-seventies to the eighties, the means of expression expanded. The performative interaction between artistic objects and the public are the central node of her work.

"Por um fio" of the series "Fotopoemação" (1976) presents 3 women (Vitalia, Anna and Veronica: respectively, the artist's mother, the artist herself, and her daughter) whose mouths are connected by a "thread". In a more abstract sense, this thread unites the three different origins of women (Ecuador, Italy and Brazil), but also the emotional bond and at the same time the temporality of life.

“Fortunately, art is a means to subvert repressions and conflicts. Subvert in the sense of remedying repressions by trying to create an unconventional art and political intervention, and therefore revolutionary, which can help us recover an essential spiritual trait: dignity. "

Exploring Matter

In 1989, Maiolino began working with clay for the "Modeled Earth" series, then with cement and plaster, creating large wall sculptures.

The exploration of matter and its possible manufacturing techniques such as modelling, moulding and casting become gestures represented in a series of installations.

During the 90s, she began working with paper which became more than a surface on which to draw. It was indeed matter and body: the "Indicios" series (2000-2003) consists of drawings made on paper with needle and thread, with the intent to denounce the mechanics of daily gestures belonging to the female domestic sphere such as sewing.

A repetitive and banal action that becomes artistic practice.

Primordial Shapes

Today, Maiolino lives and works in São Paulo, Brazil. Her work has been exhibited in the major museums of modern and contemporary art in the world.

The last major exhibition dedicated to her work was hosted at the PAC in Milan in 2019 where, for the occasion, Maiolino created an imposing site-specific work in raw clay: which encompasses entropy, the energy of man - or rather of woman - that changes the earth.

The act of modelling (kneading), the freedom of the creative gesture that directly involves the artist in a physical and material sense.

“My biggest fear is that I end up resigning myself thus accepting the destructive effect of the consciousness operated by the established powers. (…)

I would not want my children to live in a world of violence and I want to believe that they felt loved and that they could say another phrase from Segre: 'I resisted because I was loved'.

If it must be love, let it be revolutionary."

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