Dorothy Iannone, The Icelandic Saga, 1989, Silkscreen on cloth, 175 × 388 cm, Edition of 14
Courtesy of Archivio Conz, Berlin
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  • Silkscreen on cloth
  • 175 × 388 cm
    (68 ⅞ × 152 ¾ inches)
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  • Dorothy Iannone is widely regarded as a symbol of female sexual liberation. She has worked on various topics throughout her career, primarily focusing on eroticism and intimacy as an expression of the divine union of body and mind. She earned her bachelor’s degree in American Literature from Boston University in 1957, inspiring her one-of-akind storytelling style. While creating an autobiographical universe with her characters, she used texts and words as a means of communication between herself and the viewer. During the 1960s, her figurative paintings, almost ornamental and often reminiscent of the frescoes of the Byzantine and medieval periods, were repeatedly objects of bitter criticism and censure due to their erotic content. Her magnetic visionary works are primarily concerned with the subject of love, with individual stories, myths, and legends, as well as personal experiences and feelings, interwoven throughout. Exemplary are the works related to the Eros series (1969–71) and the monumental An Icelandic Saga (1978), later repurposed as a multiple for Edizioni Conz. The latter vividly illustrates the artist’s first meeting with Dieter Roth and subsequent breakup with her husband in the vein of a Norse myth. Roth was a radiant “muse” for Iannone, the center of a lifelong friendship even after their separation in 1974. His prominent role often appears in Iannone’s unconventional and suggestive depictions. Their mutual admiration shines through their dense correspondence, partially presented in Dieter and Dorothy: Their Correspondence in Words and Works 1967–1998 (bilgerverlag, 2001). Despite her closeness to many exponents of the Fluxus movement, Iannone is not an artist ascribable to the movement. As stated in her “Fluxus Essay” (1979): “I am the one who is not Fluxus. I am the one who is cared for by many Fluxus men. I am she who cares for these men.” Iannone won the Berlin Art Prize in 1976, and her works are included in various public collections such as the mumok – Museum moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien in Vienna, the NYLO – Living Art Museum in Reykjavik, and the Museum Ludwig in Cologne. She has been featured at the Whitney Biennial (2005) and the Kunsthalle Wien in Vienna (2006) and held solo exhibitions at The New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York (2009), the New York Art Book Fair at MoMA PS1 (2014), and the Berlinische Galerie (2014). A major retrospective was held at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Humlebæk, Denmark in 2022.

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