On the occasion of the centenary of her birth, MAXXI is dedicating a major exhibition to Maria Lai. More than 200 works will be on display, reconstructing her complex and fascinating biography and free and unprejudiced approach to creativity.
"I played with great dedication, and at a certain point, they called my games art" -
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MAXXI, the National Museum of XXI Century Arts is devoting a major exhibition entitled Tenendo per mano il sole to Maria Lai (1919-
The retrospective at MAXXI focuses on what has been defined as her second period, that is to say, the works she created from the 1960s and which she started exhibiting again, following a long absence from the public and the art scene, only in 1971.
The exhibition has been produced in collaboration with the Archivio Maria Lai and Fondazione Stazione dell’Arte, with the patronage of the Municipality of Ulassai and the support of the Fondazione di Sardegna. More than 200 works will be on display, including sewn books, sculptures, Geographies, public works and her celebrated Looms, presenting as comprehensively as possible, the personality of Maria Lai and the diverse aspects of her work. The exhibition will also feature some works recently added to the MAXXI Collection: Terra, 1984; Il viaggiatore astrale, 1989; Bisbigli, 1996; Pagina cucita, 1978 and Untitled, 2009, a rare Geography on acetate currently being accepted as a donation.
Tenendo per mano il sole is the title of the exhibition and the first Sewn Fable made by the artist. Both the title and the work contain many of the elements typical of Lai’s research: her interest in poetry, language and the word; the cosmogony of her geographies evoked by the sun; the pedagogical vocation implicit in that “taking by the hand.” Not so much a classic retrospective as a story that is not bound by purely chronological constraints and follows a peculiar biographical and artistic path, characterised by discourses and intuitions apparently left suspended before being taken up again many years later.
Through a broad selection of works, many of them previously unseen, the exhibition presents the multi-
Curated by Bartolomeo Pietromarchi and Luigia Lonardelli
Maria Lai, Tenendo per mano il sole, 1984-
Exhibition June 19, 2019 -