Over six decades, Dorothy Iannone cultivated an epic and powerful personal imagery. At nearly 90 years old, she passed away in December 2022. Based on her own life and a myriad of historical references, she extols free love and ecstasy, and the ardent and spiritual union of lovers.
Freedom, free love, sexual liberation and ecstatic intercourse with another person are major themes in Dorothy Iannone’s explicitly autobiographical, erotic pictures. Born in 1933, since the 1960s the artist has developed colourful, ornamental imagery, which she expresses in paintings, drawings, books, video sculptures etc.
Often her works come over as ‘graphic novels’, in which, with a combination of hand-written text and images, she tells uninhibited stories, making humorous use of linguistic and pictorial details.
“Actually, there’s no difference between myself and my work. They are both about a longing for ecstatic unity and a journey towards unconditional love.”
– Dorothy Iannone
Dorothy Iannone Photograph: Frédéric Paul (2019)
Cover photo © Dorothy Iannone
The exhibition is a collaboration between Louisiana Museum of Modern Art and Kunsten Museum of Modern Art Aalborg.
Dorothy Iannone’s personal love affairs play an essential role in her work. But the autobiographical elements are rooted in an abundance of mythological and historical depictions of relationships and gender, love, sex and ecstasy. Iannone draws on an abundance of references ranging from antiquity, the Icelandic sagas, Christianity and the Baroque to Indian tantra, world literature and the history of film.
Though she has US roots, since 1967 she has lived and worked in Europe. Since 1976 she has been based in Berlin.
Dorothy Iannone has also been exhibited at Louisiana in 2022. These were the reviews:
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In Dorothy Iannone's unashamedly erotic art, lust, jokes and great love are equally important, and it's all worth spending a decent amount of time on this exhibition. An exhibition so heavy on erotica and content that the eyes almost go blind.
Wildly stimulating exhibition that shows how bold sexuality was in the 1960s & also a great artist's way of linking the myths of cultural history with feminism and personal matter.
I return home from Louisiana with a mantra that we must bring more love and sensuality into our lives. Isn't that a great idea?