Video room: Anna Maria Maiolino

The work by Anna Maria Maiolino (Scalea, Calabria, Italy, 1942) is informed by tensions from different social, cultural and political realities. In dialogue with MASP’s curatorial axis this year, around Women’s Histories, Feminist Histories, we are presenting a retrospective of films and videos produced by the artist in the period spanning from the 1970s through the 2000s. In these works, made in Super-8 and digital format, Maiolino assimilates techniques from filmmaking (such as manual editing, photography and a soundtrack), often through nonlinear narratives (without the traditional ordering of beginning, middle and end), to deal with themes such as migration and feminism, with a reflexive view on the body and daily life.

In the 1950s, after World War II (1939–1945), Maiolino migrated with her family from Italy to Venezuela; in 1960, she moved to Rio de Janeiro. Thus, the artist experienced both the effects of the war in Europe as well as the military dictatorship in Brazil (1964–1985). Her innovative production is shot through by these occurrences and evinces the effort to expand the fields of her artistic creation, working with different media such as photography, painting, sculpture, printmaking, performance and video.

In this room, nine videos are presented on three screens: two lateral screens with films from the 1970s and 1980s, and a central screen, with videos from the 2000s, projected nonchronologically. In-Out (Antropofagia) [In-Out (Antropophagy)] (1973/1974), X (1974), Y (1974), Um dia [One Day] (1976/2015), + - = - (mais menos: igual a menos) [+ - = - (plus minus: equal to minus)] (1976) and Ad Hoc [For This Case] (1982/2000) are films shot in Super-8 format. Many of the images allude to the operationalization of violence on human bodies, censured and tortured during the Brazilian dictatorship, as well as the borders between expressions of silence, trauma, pain, shouting, and the sound of nearly inaudible words – as is the case of the shut-up mouths in In-Out (Antropofagia), or the tense gestures of the hands in Ad Hoc. The artist’s most recent production reiterates memories of a still latent and obscure past related to migration – as in Um tempo (uma vez) [One Time (Once)] (2009/2012), 09, from LOG (Apresentações) [LOG LOG (Presentations)] series (2013) and Aos quatro ventos [To the Four Winds], (2001/2011).

MASP’s collection includes one of the artist’s most iconic works, O herói [The Hero] (1966/2000), on display in the exhibition Picture Gallery in Transformation on the museum’s second floor.

CURATED BY Horrana de Kássia Santoz, curatorial assistant, MASP.

Throughout 2019, the videos presented here are part of MASP’s cycle of Women’s Histories, Feminist Histories. The program spotlights the production of women artists, from different nationalities, generations and backgrounds, with the aim of sparking discussions about feminisms and representativity in the field of the arts.