The work of Anna Maria Maiolino presented as the fulcrum of her contribution to the Pompeii Commitment. Archaeological Matters – Um Momento, Por Favor (“One Moment, Please”), 1999-2004 – involves geographies of oceanic distance, profoundly significant for the artist’s biography, bringing them closer to a single point – indeed, a single moment – of encounter: on the one hand Italy, Maiolino’s native country, evoked through the song “Napule Canta” (1958) by the Neapolitan singer-songwriter Roberto Murolo that the artist herself interprets, overlapping the original track and offering an execution that remains faithful to the interpretative act of one’s own memory, rather than attempting to achieve the flawless, alien (and perhaps impossible) perfection of “authenticity”. On the other hand, Brazil – Maiolino’s adoptive country where the artist moved very young with her family, and where her children grew up – is present in the film as the phenomenological site of the performative act recorded by the camera in 1999. Evoking the past is not, for Maiolino, a nostalgic exercise but a poetic and epistemic practice that has to do with the ongoing construction of her own identity as a woman, as a woman artist, and as an emigrant and immigrant woman. The final version of Um Momento, Por Favor is dated 1999-2004, encapsulating the extended time between the genesis and the publication of the film. The moving images show extremely close-up glimpses of Maiolino’s face, which never allow the vision of a whole – the close-up is a filmic style very present in her creative vocabulary –, composing a visual and aural self-portrait, intimate though fragmentary, which the artist herself has defined as a “cartography of worn and aged skin, like certain territories that appear degraded and deserted.” Responding to the invitation to participate in Pompeii Commitment. Archaeological Matters, Maiolino has generously chosen to donate her work Um Momento, Por Favor, 1999-2004, to Collectio, almost as a further act of intimate truthfulness and claiming of her roots intertwined between continents and different eras, immersed in the passing of time and in the unfolding of space.
Anna Maria Maiolino (Scalea, 1942. Lives and works in São Paulo, Brasil)
Text from the introduction of Anna Maria Maiolino’s POMPEII COMMITMENT 29, by Stella Bottai.