Dadamaino

(1930 – 2004 in Milan)

Eduarda Emilia Maino was born in Milan in 1930. Dada (diminutive for Eduarda) was a self-taught painter and she became an artist after completing her degree in Medical Sciences. In 1957, she met Piero Manzoni who became a life-long friend. The following year she adhered to the Milanese avant-garde and created her first substantial body of work, the Volumi, punctured canvases which bear a strong resemblance to Fontana’s Buchi. This same year, Dada had her first solo show at the Galleria dei Bossi in Milan. In 1961 the artist took part in a show in the Netherlands, where her name was mistakenly spelt as one word, Dadamaino. From 1963-64 onwards, she adopted this name. In 1962, her work was featured in the major Nul group exhibition at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. This same year she joined the newly founded Nouvelle Tendence movement whose members included Getulio Alviani, Bruno Munari, Raphael Soto and Enzo Mari. In the first half of the decade, inspired by the concept of motion, she created a series of optical-dynamic objects, followed by the Ricerca del colore (1966-68) in which she undertook a scrupulous analysis of the solar spectrum’s chromatic combinations.

In the 1970s Dadamaino’s work took on a different direction as she developed a set of invented signs. Notable among these is L’Alfabeto della mente, a series of seven alphabet-like signs. Dadamaino filled her compositions by selecting one sign at the time (which resembled written letters) and repeating it endlessly. She kept using the same set of signs in her following cycle I fatti della vita, which she showed in a solo room at the Venice Biennale in 1980.Three years later, in Milan, the Padiglione d’Arte Contemporanea (PAC) organised a large retrospective of her work, and in 1990 she participated again in the Venice Biennale. A full retrospective of her work was mounted in 2000 by the Bochum museum in Bochum. Dadamaino died in Milan in 2004.