fbpx Biennale Arte 2022 | Milly Canavero
La Biennale di Venezia

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Milly Canavero

1920 – 2010, Italy


  • TUE - SUN
    23/04 > 25/09
    11 AM - 7 PM

    27/09 > 27/11
    10 AM - 6 PM
  • Central Pavilion
  • Admission with ticket

A handful of “spirit drawings” by Milly Canavero are the only remaining trace of a private, independent life cloaked in mystery. In 1973, after a chance encounter with  a professional medium, she began producing a series of compositions – at first drawn with the aid of a planchette (a Ouija board for automatic writing) – which she believed to be messages from extraterrestrial forces. Canavero produced them with  a precision achieved through obsessive, seamless movements: after laying out a set of circles, ovals, or spirals, the artist cut through the composition with spiky shapes resembling upward arrows, straight lines, triangles, and a strange hieroglyphic alphabet. In the series exhibited here, Untitled (1982–1986), these alphanumeric codes have been added after the initial sketch to specify its meaning or aid interpretation. Though her tendency to use unknown languages makes her practice comparable to the glossolalia of mediums, the distinctive aspect of Canavero’s work is the unusual order of her pictographic writing process, and the fact that it did not stem from altered mental or physical states. In keeping with the occult views at the root of her practice, these spirit drawings are not just the result of inward and physical movements, but rather traces of a cosmological experience still shaped by reality.

Stefano Mudu

Central Pavilion
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