(Milano, 1930 – 2004)
Eduarda Emilia Maino was born in Milan in 1930. She began painting in the early 1950s after completing a medical degree.
In 1957 she met Piero Manzoni who became a life-long friend. The following year she adhered to the Milanese avant-garde and created her first substantial body of work, the Volumi, punctured canvases which bear a strong resemblance to Fontana’s Buchi. In 1959 she joined “Azimuth”, Milan-based experimental group founded by Agostino Bonalumi, Enrico Castellani and Manzoni, which had connections with Gruppo Zero in Germany, Gruppo Nul in the Netherlands and Gruppo Motus in France.
In the Sixties Dadamaino took part in numerous national and international exhibitions: Netherlands, Belgium, England, Germany, France, Spain, Switzerland. It was during this period that Dada Maino became Dadamaino: in 1961 the artist took part in a show in the Netherlands, where her name was mistakenly spelt as one word (Dada as a diminutive of Eduarda). In 1962 her work was featured in the major Nul group exhibition at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. This same year she joined the newly founded Nouvelle Tendence movement whose members included Getulio Alviani, Bruno Munari, Raphael Soto and Enzo Mari.
Dadamaino’s artistic production of the first half of the decade was characterized by the idea of movement. In 1961 she created the Optical-Dynamic Objects, aluminum plates glued to a board that generate optical effects, giving the impression of a dynamic flow. In 1966 she created the Componibili series, small cut-out squares that, flowing along a nylon thread, create new combinations. In the second half of the sixties she began the Ricerca del colore in which she undertook a scrupulous analysis of the solar spectrum’s chromatic combinations.
In the 1970s Dadamaino’s work took on a different direction as she developed a set of invented signs. Notable among these is L’Alfabeto della mente, a series of seven alphabet-like signs. Dadamaino filled her compositions which resembled written letters by selecting one sign at the time and repeating it endlessly. She resorted to the same set of signs in her following cycle, I fatti della vita, which she showed in a solo room at the Venice Biennale in 1980.
In 1983 a large retrospective of her work was organized by the Padiglione d’Arte Contemporanea in Milan, and in 1990 she participated again in the Venice Biennale. A full retrospective of her work was mounted in 2000 by the Bochum Museum.
Dadamaino died in Milan on April 13, 2004.