The Neue Nationalgalerie is showing a performance by the Italian-Brazilian artist Anna Maria Maiolino in the upper hall from 25 to 27 May 2023. “Entrevidas” was first realised in public space in Rio de Janeiro in 1981. On a street in the city centre, passers-by made their way through hundreds of raw chicken eggs. Within this setting, the egg as a symbol of life with its simultaneous fragility thematised the atmosphere of danger during the Brazilian military dictatorship (1964-1985). With the updated version in Berlin, Maiolino points to the uncertainties of the present time.
Image above: Portrait of Anna Maria Maiolino. Photo: Maycon Lima, 2016
Anna Maria Maiolino (born 1942) conceived “Entrevidas” (Engl: In-between Lives) at a time when the military dictatorship in Brazil had already been in power for over 15 years and severely restricted freedom in the country. At the beginning of the 1980s, the repressions on the population gradually decreased, but a democratic opening did not yet prevail. The performance illustrates this state of uncertainty, the people’s feeling of walking on eggshells. On a paved street in front of her studio in Rio de Janeiro, Maiolino distributed hundreds of uncooked chicken eggs and invited people passing by to move through this obstacle course. The egg represented on the one hand the fragility of life, but on the other hand also a moment of resistance by asserting itself in a perilous environment.
This historical piece of Latin American performance art takes on contemporary relevance through its revival at the Neue Nationalgalerie. Feelings of insecurity and threat are omnipresent in view of the war in Europe, the worldwide climate crisis or the profound shock caused by the global Corona pandemic. A performer walks through the extensive installation of eggs in the glass hall of the Neue Nationalgalerie, actively involving the audience. The serial arrangement of organic material in conjunction with the moving body unfolds a special aesthetic in Mies van der Rohe’s architecture, which is characterised by geometric austerity.
Anna Maria Maiolino has had a decisive influence on the Brazilian art scene since the 1960s. Born in Calabria in 1942, the artist emigrated from southern Italy to South America at the age of twelve. In 1960, she moved from Venezuela first to Rio de Janeiro and later to São Paulo, where she lives and works today. Based on her own biography, the themes of identity, political abuse of power and feminism occupy a central place in her work. Her artistic practice is characterised by a broad spectrum of disciplines, ranging from performance to drawing, printmaking, film and poetry to sculpture and installation. Major solo exhibitions have been hosted by MOCA – Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Ange-les (2017), MASP – Museu de Arte de São Paulo (2012), Malmö Kunsthalle (2011), Fundação Antoní Tàpies, Barcelona (2010) and Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo (2005), among others. Since its reopening in the summer of 2021, the New National Gallery has been pursuing a programme approach of increasingly showing female, non-Western and performative artistic approaches.
Kulturforum – Neue Nationalgalerie
Potsdamer Straße 50
Thursday, 25 May – Saturday, 27 May 2023
Tue – Wed 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., Thu 10 a.m. – 8 p.m., Fri – Sun 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Gabriel Sitchin performs the approximately 45-minute performance at the following times:
Thursday, 25 May 2023, 7 p.m.
Friday, 26 May 2023, 5 pm
Saturday, 27 May 2023, 4 p.m.
The artist will be present on Saturday, 27 May. The performance will be followed by an artist talk at 5pm.