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    Sale 12245

    Post-War & Contemporary Art Day Auction

    7 October 2016, London, King Street

  • Lot 243

    DADAMAINO (1930-2004)


    Price Realised  


    DADAMAINO (1930-2004)
    signed, titled and dated ‘DADAMAINO VOLUME 1959’ (on the stretcher)
    waterpaint on canvas
    51 1/8 x 31 ½in. (130 x 80cm.)
    Executed in 1959

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    “In her studio on Via dei Bossi ... Dadamaino addresses a blank canvas but does not think of beginning a new painting. She is weary of the rhetoric of painting, of the now outworn repertoire of Art Informel ... She contemplates a different form of expression: sober and controlled, simultaneously crystalline and elusive. Hence the birth of the Volumes. With a pondered but resolute act, Dada cuts the surface of the canvas, not a small incision but a gaping hole, an expanding ellipse ... The place of painting is now a place of silence.”
    —E. PONTIGGIA,‘Dadamaino’, 1990, in Elementi spaziali: Bonalumi, Castellani, Dadamaino, Scheggi, exh. cat., Galleria Tega, Milan, 2011, pp. 28-32

    With its stark black surface punctuated by two vacuums, Dadamaino’s Volume (1959) is a monochromatic investigation into the properties of the canvas. The pierced fabric is pulled taut upon its frame, revealing the dimensional space that lies beneath its surface. Dadamaino explains the effect of this spatial interrogation, stating ‘behind the large holes I could see a wall full of light and shadow that vibrated’ (Dadamaino, quoted in http:/www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/dadamaino-volume-of-displaced-modules-t13288 [accessed 2 September 2016]). The present work is an early example of her Volumes series, commenced in the late 1950s and typified by monochromatic canvases infiltrated with cavernous biomorphic and elliptical holes. Shortly before it was made, Dadamaino relinquished her figurative idioms, inspired by Lucio Fontana and her blossoming friendship with Piero Manzoni. Elaborating upon the slashed and perforated canvases of Fontana’s tagli and buchi, Dadamaino explains ‘I always hated matter and sought immateriality of course, Fontana played a decisive role in the history of my painting ... If Fontana had not pierced the canvas, probably I would not have dared to do so either’ (Dadamaino, quoted in ‘Volume of Displaced Modules’ http:/www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/dadamaino-volume-of-displaced-modules-t13288 [accessed 2 September 2016]). Distancing herself from the other abstract artists influenced by Fontana, such as Bonalumi and Castellani, Dadamaino did not aim to emphasize the materiality of her work, but rather diminished it by drawing attention to the surrounding negative space. Volume demonstrates a liberating and visceral exploration into the tangible and spectral qualities of the canvas.

    Special Notice

    Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent.


    Fondazione D’Ars, Milan.
    Private Collection.
    Anon. sale, Sotheby’s London, 17 October 2013, lot 45.
    Acquired at the above sale by the present owner.

    Pre-Lot Text


    Post Lot Text

    This work is registered in the Archivio Generale Dadamaino, Milan, under no. 347/11.