Artwork of the month June

Dadamaino, Volume a moduli sfasati, 1960, Hilti Art Foundation

Dadamaino (Eduarda Emilia Maino)

* 1930 in Milan, † 2004 in Milan, Italy

Volume a moduli sfasati, 1960

Plastic film (Rhodoid), die-cut

100 x 70 cm

Hilti Art Foundation, Schaan


In 1958 the self-taught artist Dadamaino began making her first series of nonfigurative works. Captivated by the ideas advanced by contemporary avant-garde artists in Italy, she took no interest in the conventional parameters of painting, such as composition, spatial illusion or narrative. Instead, the Volumi, crucial to her oeuvre, explore such concerns as real space, sculptural volume and form as autonomous pictorial values.

In one of these early works, Volume a moduli sfasati of 1960, Dadamaino punctured three sheets of plastic film by hand and superimposed them at varying distances. Not all of the round, see-through holes are congruent, some of them overlap, creating cropped circular openings. The appearance of these openings changes depending on vantage point, infusing the whole with a distinct dynamic and a discreet play of light and shadow. The plastic film replaces the classical canvas and is no longer a vehicle for images and meaning; it becomes a material reality in itself. The Italian avant-garde of the 1960s showed an avid interest in experimenting with new materials, such as plastic, which acquired increasing popularity at the time. Their use of inexpensive industrial materials signalled a radical departure from the traditional components of painting.

Dadamaino's studies in space and perspective took particular inspiration from the work of Lucio Fontana. The artists of the Galleria Azimut in Milan, such as Piero Manzoni, Enrico Castellani and Agostino Bonalumi, a group she joined in 1959, were also important to the development of her work. They all shared the quest for new, untainted means of artistic expression in the wake of liberating themselves from subject matter. They were looking for a conceptual approach that no longer relied on traditional pictorial means and content.

Julia Ryff

<b>Dadamaino, Volume a moduli sfasati, 1960, Hilti Art Foundation</b>
Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein highlights a work from the permanent collection each month throughout the year. Works from the collection of the Hilti Art Foundation are also included in this series on a regular basis.