artist / participant
Galerija Gregor Podnar is proud to present Blank Archive the gallery’s first exhibition with Milan-based artist Irma Blank.
Working in a realm that is defined by the overlapping fields of painting, drawing and writing, Irma Blank has built an oeuvre that concentrates on the relationship between written and visual languages. In her experiments the artist investigates a stage prior to written language where signs are simply visual elements. Blank’s work is strongly influenced by the conflation of writing and image as practiced in the concrete poetry of the 70’s. But Blank neglected the word as such, directing her attention, with an obsessive and rigorous immersion, solely to the visual aspects of writing. In her words, “I try to resolve existence in writing, to grasp the rhythm and breath of the world, through the only instrument of writing that recalls origins, beyond all meaning. I have released writing from its enslavement to meaning; I have given it an autonomous dignity. Meaning. Being.”
Selecting works from the 1960s to the present, this exhibition features pieces from the major cycles Eigenschriften, Trascrizioni, Radical Writings, Avant-testo, Hyper-Text and Global Writings, in an attempt to represent over 40 years of research and to capture the essence of her oeuvre. While in Eigenschriften the small signs in various shapes and colors are still reminiscent of calligraphic letters and words – however, without any sense or signification – in the transcription of Trascrizioni, the original letters were redesigned by the artist to produce a visual rhythm of columns, such as in a newspaper written in a foreign language. With Radical Writings Blank moves toward abstraction, and, linking her body and the gesture of writing, she repeatedly performs a single action: drawing lines, each of which corresponds to a single breath of the artist. The lines mirror the shadow of the page close to the bookʼs binding. In the series Avant-testo the artist extended the attitude of the artistic action, holding at the same time several ballpoint pens while marking circular shapes on the canvas. The result is a complex manipulation of rhythm and color.
The exhibition was made in collaboration with P420, Bologna.
Born in Celle, Germany, in 1934, Irma Blank in the 50s settled in Italy where she lives and works. Her works were exhibited among others at Philomene Magers gallery in Bonn (1976), Documenta 6, Kassel (1977), Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Paris (1981, 1996), Bonner Kunstverein (1981), Musée des Beaux Arts in Rouen (1982), Centre Pompidou in Paris (1985, 2009, 2010, 2013), Quadriennale in Rome (1986, 2005), Heidelberger Kunstverein (1990), PAC in Milan (1992), Folkwang-Museum in Essen (1992), MoMA in New York (1992), Kunstmuseum Düsseldorf (1997), Museion in Bolzano (2002, 2009), Museo dʼArte Moderna e Contemporanea in Rome (2007), MART in Rovereto (2007), Palazzo Reale Milano (2010).