Anna Maria Maiolino

Making Love Revolutionary

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    In-Out (Antropofagia) [In-Out (Antropophagy)], from the series Fotopoemação [Photopoemaction], 1973/74–2000 (detail), Photo: Max Nauenberg, Courtesy the artist and Galleria Raffaella Cortese, Milan

Past Exhibition

This exhibition was on 25 Sep 2019 – 12 Jan 2020

Anna Maria Maiolino: Making Love Revolutionary

25 September 2019 – 12 January 2020

⋆⋆⋆⋆⋆ – Evening Standard, ‘This is one of the shows of the year’

⋆⋆⋆⋆ – The Guardian, ‘seducing the senses with frolicking lines and supple surfaces’

With simple materials like clay, paper and ink Anna Maria Maiolino (b.1942, Italy) constructs a fascinating world rooted in human conditions such as longing, fragility and resistance. This is the artist’s first retrospective in the UK, spanning six decades of work.

Born in Italy during World War II, Maiolino has lived in Brazil since 1960. Her oeuvre gives form to her experience of exile, deprivation and survival under authoritarian and patriarchal regimes.

Opening the exhibition are hundreds of simple shapes made of clay such as balls, rolls and snakes. Slight variations evidence the work of the hand, kneading and shaping the primal material of art – mud. Maiolino’s gestural forms evoke baking, housework and objects of ritual. A sense of fragility permeates the raw clay, as it dehydrates and changes colour.

Her drawings and sculptures constitute a lyrical geometry with marks and voids suggesting an alphabet, maps and topographies; meticulously sewn threads outline a journey of possible spatial configurations.  The upper galleries feature prints of the 1960s, and the radical shifts in the use of paper during the 1970s,  moving from figuration to a dynamic abstraction inspired by Neo-Concretism.

Created under the radar of Brazil’s military regime, Maiolino’s politically-charged films and photographs explore repression and hunger. Scarcity of food in her childhood and the social and cultural deficiencies of daily life shape the series Photopoemaction (1976–2000). A mouth opens and closes, swallows an egg and expels threads; bare feet tread carefully among scattered eggs. Black stains and flowing lines may represent alienation; or mutate to become symbols of love and regeneration.


The exhibition is co-organised by

Supported by:

Hauser & Wirth

Exhibition circle:
Philippe Antonie Bertherat
Lisa and Tom Blumenthal
Tiqui Atencio Demirdjian
Nicoletta Fiorucci
Catherine Petitgas

Related Events


Anna Maria Maiolino in conversation with Michael Asbury

Thu 26 Sep, 7pm
£9.50/£7.50 concs

Anna Maria Maiolino’s significance for the history of art in Brazil from the 1960s onward cannot be underestimated. The artist who continues to be a prolific producer of new work – sculpture, drawing, performance, photography and beyond – is in conversation with curator and Art Historian Dr Michael Asbury on the occasion of her major exhibition at the Whitechapel Gallery.


British Sign Language Tour: Anna Maria Maiolino

Thu 3 Oct, 6pm
Free, booking required

Explore the exhibition with an introduction and personal response by John Wilson in British Sign Language.

For deaf and hard of hearing visitors.


Audio Description Tour: Anna Maria Maiolino

Thu 10 Oct, 6pm
Free, booking required

An audio described tour through our major exhibition by Italian-Brazilian artist Anna Maria Maiolino.

This event is for blind and partially sighted visitors.

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Big Ideas: Cecilia Fajardo-Hill

Thu 24 Oct, 7pm
£9.50/£7.50 concs

The co-curator of Radical Women: Latin American Art, 1960–1985, a recent major survey at LA’s Hammer Museum delivers a lecture that considers research into ideas of other feminisms, from Radical Women and Third World Feminism to transfeminism, in the context of our current retrospective of work by Anna Maria Maiolino.

Por um Fio

Art and Feminisms in Latin America

Sat 26 Oct, 2pm–6pm
£12.50/£10.50 concs

Convened by guest curator Kiki Mazzucchelli, this afternoon of talks, readings and discussions invites artists, curators and academics to delve into art made by women in Latin America today.


Whitechapel Gallery, Family Day Rob Harris Sm

Family Day: Anna Maria Maiolino

Sun 7 Dec, 12 – 4pm
Free, booking required

Families can experience live performances and participate in creative activities inspired by the work of Anna Maria Maiolino around the themes of life, matter and the body.


Audio Description Tour: Anna Maria Maiolino

Sun 15 Dec, 11:30am
Free, booking required

An audio described tour through our major exhibition by Italian-Brazilian artist Anna Maria Maiolino.

This event is for blind and partially sighted visitors.