Irma Blank

Senza parole

26 January – 30 March 2013

German by birth (Celle, 1934), Blank moved to Italy, where she still resides, at a very young age. Her work developed in the atmosphere of linguistic experimentation typical of the second half of the 1960s, in which the exponents of the minimal-conceptual avant-gardes recorded, through an impersonal, de-subjectivized art, the time of their existence, of being in the here and now. Irma Blank immediately focused, as she says, “on writing, stripping it of meaning to charge it with other values. A writing purified of sense, an automatic sign that gives voice to the silence”. This is precisely the solution, as radical as it is personal, of Irma Blank: a writing not linked to knowledge, but to being. All her work – to use the words of Luca Cerizza, author of the critical text in the catalogue - “is crossed by a profound dialectic between writing and drawing, writing and painting; it thrives on constant tension between possibility of saying and necessity of existing, time of life and time of work. Along a path that has continued for nearly half a century, Blank has investigated the various possibili- ties through which the sign can represent existence; she has challenged the way in which the artwork is crossed by time and, in turn, crosses time through repeti- tion of a gesture, a sign, a trace”. [...] Papers, sheets, canvases, books are the surfaces on which the relationship between sign and time is played out. Ink, ballpoint pen, pastels, watercolors, acrylic are the tools through which the signs occupy these surfaces, and the sur- faces record the time of an existence through gesture. Blank’s work, Luca Cerizza continues, “is an utterly natural combination of the rigorous discipline and almost ascetic devotion to the work of her German roots, with the focus on the individual of Italian art: Protestant and Humanist culture”. The exhibition includes works from several cycles of her vast output: from the first Eigenschriften dating back to the second half of the 1960s, through the mi- metism of the Trascrizioni, the pictorial inscription of the Radical Writings, the complete abstraction of the Avant-testo works with their primordial non-writing, to the Babelic writing of the more recent Hyper-Texts.

Exhibition Works

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Irma Blank, Eigenschriften (Self Writing), Pagina 32-A, 1970, pastel on paper, cm.69,8x50
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Irma Blank, Eigenschriften, (Self Writing), Pagina 45, 1970, pastel on paper, cm.69,8x50
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Irma Blank, Eigenschriften, (Self Writing), Pagina 45-K, 1970, pastel on paper, cm.69,7x49,7
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Irma Blank, Eigenschriften, (Self Writing), Pagina 45-L, 1970, pastel on paper, cm.69,8x50
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Irma Blank, Eigenschriften, (Self Writing), Pagina 73, 1970, pastel on paper, cm.69,7x50
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Irma Blank, Trascrizioni, Poesie fur Jedermann, 1975, indian ink on parchment like paper, diptych, cm.91x57 each, 2 sheets folded in 36 pages
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Irma Blank, Trascrizioni, Hommage à F. Grillparzer I, 1975, indian ink on parchment like paper folded in 42 pages, cm.90x63
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Irma Blank, Trascrizioni, Hommage à F. Grillparzer II, 1975, indian ink on parchment like paper folded in 42 pages, cm.90x63
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Irma Blank, Trascrizioni, Hommage à F. Schiller, 1975, indian ink on parchment like paper folded in 36 pages, cm.91x57
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Irma Blank, For all, 1975, indian ink on parchment like paper, bound, with box cm.18x10,5
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Irma Blank, Radical Writing, Schrifzug=Atemzug vom 4-8-1988, 1994, acrylic on canvas, dyptich, cm.200x130 (x2)
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Irma Blank, Radical Writing, Poème quotidien VII, 3-2-1994, 1994, oil on canvas, cm.200x130
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Irma Blank, Ur-schrift ovvero Avant-testo, 15-4-99, 1999, pen on polyester with wooden frame, cm. 166x108
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Irma Blank, Hyper-Text, 23-4-1998, 1998, digital writing, screen print on canvas, cm.185x120,5, unique copy
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Irma Blank, Hyper-Text, 29-4-1998, 1998, digital writing, screen print on canvas, cm.185x120,5, unique copy
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