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Vesper No. 2 | Author-Matter | Spring-Summer 2020



Luigia Lonardelli

Maria Lai. Trickling Away in the Work


Maria Lai (Ulassai, 1919 - Cardedu, 2013) holds a place of prominence in the Italian artistic research of the second half of the 20th century, her imaginative genius propelling her work towards the innovative community practices of the new millennium. While deliberately keeping a distance from international art circles, Lai developed a universal idiom which expertly combined the language and traditions of her place of origin, Ogliastra, with a new globally understandable lexicon in which Sardinia becomes the metaphor for a condition of personal and collective insularity. This article examines the selection and manipulation of some of her preferred materials interpreting them as emblematic of a stance that affirms, on the one hand, the anonymity of the artist’s hand, and, on the other, the choice to embark on a path of deculturation and unlearning in order to define a research territory free from identity and language bias.





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