Anna Maria Maiolino

Three Thousands Kilos Of Coiled Clay And A Little Lady

If you struggle to imagine how three thousand kilos of wet clay can fit into a gallery space, you might want to head along to Anna Maria Maiolino’s exhibition.

One of Brasil’s most important contemporary artists, this is Maiolino’s first UK solo show, though her work has previously featured at London’s Whitechapel Gallery, and adorns New York’s MOMA museum among other prestigious spaces.

In addition to a series of videos made by the artist over the decades, the main attraction is the clay installation Maiolino will create on-site, which will then dry and crumble over the course of the exhibition – all part of The Continuum, Terra Modelada, a series of installations which she began in 1994.

Rolling and shaping the clay by hand, the forms that Maiolino creates make reference to daily life, the relationships between individuals and societies, and the role of language – they also allude to the cycles of life and creation.

“I believe contemporary Brasilian art has inherited the inquiring and free spirit proposed by the “Declaração dos Principios Básicos da Vanguarda in 1968”, explains Maiolino (see the box opposite).

It was in that very era that Anna Maria Maiolino’s career was launched, during what was as turbulent a time for art as it was for politics, and the advances made at the time continue to cast their influence today – something which is very much evident in Maiolino’s work.

A bit o’ Art History

What is it?
‘New Brasilian Objectivity’

When did it begin?
Back in 1968, with  an exhibition in Rio de Janeiro.

Who was involved?
It was organised by a group of artists led by Hélio Oiticica, including Anna Maria Maiolino and Mário Pedrosa.

What did they do?
They signed the ‘Declaration of the Basic Principles of the New Vanguard’

What was that then?
It was a manifesto for the artists of the concrete, neo-concrete and cubist movements

What did they have to say about it?
Mário Pedrosa Claimed “Art is an experimental exercise in freedom.”

What about Anna?
Anna says “I dare say that Contemporary Brasilian art has turned Mário Pedrosa’s phrase into a paradigm upon which it has based itself since 1968.” Got it?’.

1st April – 30th May
Camden Arts Centre
Arkwright Road – NW3 6DG • 020 7472 5500

by Carol Morandini

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