Questionnaire: Anna Maria Maiolino

Q. What could you imagine doing if you didn’t do what you do? A. Drifting on a boat.

Wooden hand from Anna Maria Maiolino’s studio. Courtesy: the artist and Hauser & Wirth, London, Zurich and New York

Wooden hand from Anna Maria Maiolino’s studio. Courtesy: the artist and Hauser & Wirth, London, Zurich and New York

What images keep you company in the space where you work?

In my studio I don’t have many images, only works that are in progress. I prefer to work in neutral spaces to focus on what I’m doing.

What was the first piece of art that really mattered to you?

When I was 15 years old, I visited the Museum of Fine Arts in Caracas, Venezuela, for the first time and saw works on canvas by Armando Reverón, whose paintings had a huge impact on me.

If you could live with only one piece of art, what would it be?

That is an impossible question to answer.

What is your favourite title of an artwork?

I do not recall any particular title. However, I find it very important to title my works, because the titles reflect the concept behind them.

What do you wish you knew?

I would like to know everything about life; but every time I satisfy my curiosity, I realize how ignorant I still am, and that keeps my curiosity alive.

What should change?

The list is completely utopic.

What should stay the same?

We need to preserve the rapture of being alive.

What music are you listening to?

The Brazilian musician and composer Pixinguinha and his contemporaries.

What are you reading?

Survival of the Fireflies (2010) by Georges Didi-Huberman.

What do you like the look of?

Everything.

Born in Italy in 1942, Anna Maria Maiolino lives and works in São Paulo, Brazil. Recent solo shows this year include: Galeria Luisa Strina, São Paulo, Brazil; Hauser & Wirth, New York, USA; and University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, USA. Her work was included in dOCUMENTA (13), Kassel, Germany, in 2013, and in the 10th Gwangju Biennale, South Korea, in 2014.

Issue 167

First published in Issue 167

Nov - Dec 2014

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Janiva Ellis, Catchphrase Coping Mechanism, 2019, oil on linen, 2.2 x 1.8 m. Courtesy: the artist and 47 Canal, New York; photograph: Joerg Lohse

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