press release

Dorothy Iannone
Love Is Forever, Isn’t It?
October 6, 2023–January 21, 2024

The exhibition Love Is Forever, Isn’t It? presents one of the most comprehensive surveys of Dorothy Iannone’s prolific body of work, to be showcased at M HKA.

The artistic practice by Dorothy Iannone spanned paintings, artists’ books, video installations, sculptures, drawings, and sound works. In her visual and writing oeuvre, she created a unique relationship between text, image, audio, and sculptural objects, emphasising their narrative and fictional dimensions. The primary focus of this project is the recontextualisation of Iannone’s work, specifically examining its intrinsic performative nature, which has been scarcely investigated until now. The exhibition explores novelistic conventions, narrative threads, relationships between words and images, as well as autofictional and biographical elements within her creations. Iannone examined topics related to female sexuality, which has led to her work being censored on multiple occasions. In her vibrant oeuvre, she explored feelings and emotions, creating an erotic iconography largely inspired by non-Western and Buddhist imagery. She passionately described her intimate friendships and relationships with her muses, artists, and lovers. Though she shared personal and artistic associations with Fluxus, Dorothy Iannone never considered herself part of the movement. Undoubtedly, her transdisciplinary and multifaceted practice establishes a unique dialogue with the neo-avant-garde movements of the 1960s, 70s, and 80s.

The exhibition Love Is Forever, Isn’t It? takes viewers on an emancipatory journey towards unconventional love, the celebration of matriarchy, and Eros. As she eloquently stated in one of her texts: “When I painted and wrote and sang and filmed my message, one might call it, it filled all of my mind. And nothing gave me more pleasure than expressing it (almost). If, in any way, I have helped people to come closer to themselves, that would mean a lot to me.“

The publication Love Is Forever, Isn’t It? serves as an extension of the exhibition in collaboration with JRP|Editions. It features essays by Alison Gingeras, Ana Mendoza, and Joanna Zielińska that delve into the concept of performativity, both in artistic terms and in the context of feminism and female sexuality. The book underscores the significance of Dorothy Iannone’s contributions to contemporary art within the international avant-garde while shedding light on the numerous acts of censorship that impacted her artistic journey. The book is set to be released during the exhibition course in 2023.

Dorothy Iannone (1933–2022) was an American visual artist renowned for her vibrant and expressive artistic language. Born in Boston, Massachusetts, Iannone initially pursued literature at Boston University before shifting her focus to art in the late 1950s. In the early 1960s, she moved to Europe and became associated with avant-garde art movements seeking to break down artistic boundaries and challenge conventional cultural norms. Throughout her career, Iannone’s art has been deeply autobiographical, reflecting her experiences and relationships. Her work often features vibrant, colourful, and explicit depictions of sexuality and the human body, exploring themes of love, ecstasy, and the pursuit of personal freedom. Her bold and unapologetic approach to sexuality has occasionally led to censorship and exclusion.

Iannone’s art has been exhibited in galleries and museums worldwide, her work was presented at: Migros Museum (Zurich), New Museum (New York), Louisiana Museum (Copenhagen), and Berlinische Galerie (Berlin) among other venues.

Curator: Joanna Zielińska