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Irma Blank. BLANK

Museo Villa dei Cedri, Bellinzona

The exhibition «BLANK» offers a full immersion in the «total sensory cycle» of the work of the German artist Irma Blank (*1934), who moved to Italy in the early fifties. Emphasizing the notions of «white» and «emptiness», the title evokes Irma Blank’s ambition to purify language and to set it free from its meaning. By transforming the letters of the alphabet into primordial signs, the artist sets out in search of a form of universal idiom, testing the limits of expression and wordless communication; an objective pursued also with the help of her body, gestures and breathing, used as tools of her artistic practice. Mainly declined in drawings, watercolours, inks and paintings, her research also extends to the world of books, editions, performances and sound. In a work marked by silence and discipline, the chromatic choice in the exploration of graphic signs is of singular importance. The exhibition itinerary therefore focuses on the different states that emanate from colours, traced according to a conceptual and idiosyncratic reflection, between the artifice of written ink and the painted emulation of nature. By contrast and expansion, the colours of Irma Blank are emphasized by the exhibition site, thus reconnecting to the architecture of the Villa and of the surrounding park.


Curated by Johana Carrier and Joana P. R. Neves.


Project in collaboration with Culturgest, Lisbon (29.06.-08.09.2019); Mamco, Geneva (09.10.2019-02.02.2020); CAPC, Bordeaux (27.06.-31.10.2020); CCA and Bauhaus Foundation, Tel Aviv (02. 07.-29.08.2020); Museo Villa dei Cedri, Bellinzona (19.03.-01.08.2021); ICA Milano, Milan (autumn 2020-2021); Bomba Gens Centre d'art, Valencia (autumn 2021).

Irma Blank (Celle (D), 1934), Eigenschriften, 1968, pastel on paper, 50 x 70 cm, Photo credit Carlo Favero, Courtesy the artist and P420, Bologna
Irma Blank (Celle (D), 1934), Radical Writings, Pagina II, 2 giugno 1986, 1986, acrylic on canvas, 55 x 45 cm, Photo credit Carlo Favero, Courtesy the artist and P420, Bologna
Irma Blank (Celle (D), 1934), Ur-schrift ovvero Avant-testo, 23-4-02, 2002, ballpoint pen on polyester on wooden stretcher, 70.5 x 53 cm, Photo credit Carlo Favero, Courtesy the artist and P420, Bologna