In Milan an anthological exhibition dedicated to Betty Danon

Galleria Milano is hosting until January 8, 2022 an anthological exhibition dedicated to Betty Danon, a central figure in the experiments of visual poetry and later Mail Art.

Until January 8, 2022, Galleria Milano is hosting ananthological exhibition dedicated to Betty Danon (Istanbul, 1927 - Milan, 2002). An Italian artist of Turkish origin who moved to Italy in the 1950s, after an abstract pictorial beginning, she was a central figure in the experiments of visual poetry and later Mail Art. Polyglot, multicultural, far from the logic of the market and the dominant art system.

The Milan exhibition aims to reconstruct some of the milestones of his poetics, highlighting aspects that are still little known. The exhibition begins with geometric canvases made in the early 1970s (1971-1973), where geometric structures are formalized, showing his interest in Jungian psychology and Eastern philosophy. These are acrylics predominantly in shades of gray-blue, which she calls “atonal paintings,” which were first exhibited at Galleria San Fedele in 1972, thus launching her into the art world. For her, the circle is departure, a magical archetype, eternally perfect, which breaks up and breaks down, dividing into perceptual games. At the same time as her pictorial experiments, between the end of 1972 and 1973, she began working with pentagrams and her Sky Windows, collages animated by indecipherable signs in which programmed and random elements alternate. In 1973 he made the abstract scores: in these works, perhaps the best known, the line and the point are understood as the starting point for a reflection on the reduction to the zero degree of communication, in a semantic but also existential sense, as also evident in Super L.P. (1973-75) where the two elements decline the seven phases of human life. Several hearings of the performance punto-linea and the presentation of the artist’s book of the same name were held in the Galleria Milano. Mirella Bentivoglio invited Betty Danon to the 1978 Venice Biennial in the group show Materialization of Language, where she brought the action Memoria del segno sonoro, in which she writes in sympathetic ink on a pentagrammed sheet of paper and then applies brushstrokes of blue ink to it, a juxtaposition that also returns in other works such as Giochi prospettici (1973).

Sound is increasingly central to his work, so much so that his scores are also performed by other artists, such as Georg De Cristel, who plays one of his abstract scores at the Galleria Milano in 1976. In the following years there would be new developments with new series: variations on the theme, staves with numbers, with birds(Migratory Poems, 1978), superimposed on landscapes(Sounds of Rome, 1979, Sounds of Venice, 1980). Silkscreen staves are manipulated with pastel interventions (Untitled, 1970-77), there is no lack of experimentation with Xerox printers (Ku-Zu Poems, 1987), while the component of randomness, declared in the early 1970s right from the title of works such as Randomness (1973), remains central. In 1979 Betty Danon sends other artists cards on which she herself had printed staves: about two hundred respond to her, hence Io & gli altri, her first Mail Art experience, which will become an exhibition at Guido Le Noci’s Apollinaire Gallery. The operation has the conmsenso of many, but it also attracts several criticisms: tired of the “magnificent world of art,” she withdraws from the gallery environment and continues her artistic research in the direction of Mail Art, creating an impressive body of works, today a patrimony preserved for the most part in the Archivio del Novecento of the Mart in Rovereto (Betty Danon Fund).

The exhibition, enriched by various documentary material, is realized in collaboration with the Betty Danon Archive and Galleria Tiziana Di Caro.

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Image: Betty Danon in her studio (1980s). Courtesy of Galleria Milano and Archivio Betty Danon.

In Milan an anthological exhibition dedicated to Betty Danon
In Milan an anthological exhibition dedicated to Betty Danon

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