Italian poet, artist, born 1922
(Klagenfurt, Austria, March 28, 1922 - March 23, 2017, Rome, Italy)
Mirella Bentivoglio was born in Klagenfurt, Austria, of Italian parents, in 1922 and currently lives in Rome. She pursued her early education in Milan, German Switzerland and England. After establishing herself as a poet and art critic, she entered, in the mid-1960s, the world of Concrete poetry and Visual poetry, gaining recognition as one of the leading artists of these movements in Italy.
In the 1970s Bentivoglio turned increasingly to the production of three-dimensional work, in particular the forms of the egg and book, and to performance art. In 1976 in the town of Gubbio, Italy she created a large stone sculpture of an egg and organized a performance piece that resulted in the first poem written collectively by a town, “The Poem to the Tree.” Since then she has created several large-scale public art pieces, as well as smaller sculptural works and two-dimensional works, and has performed in Italy, France, Japan and the United States.
Bentivoglio has been the focus of over sixty one-person shows in Italy, Germany, Holland, Spain, England, Brazil and the United States (two of the most recent were at the Palazzo delle Esposizioni in Rome in 1996 and at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C. in 1999). She has also participated in over 1,000 group shows throughout the world (she appeared eight times at the Venice Biennial between 1969 and 2001, three times at the San Paolo Biennial between 1973 and 1994, at the Documeta in Kassel and the Georges Pompidou Center in Paris in 1982, and at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1992).
Bentivoglio has been a prolific writer. In addition to three books of poetry (Giardino, Scheiwiller, 1943; Calendario, Vallecchi, 1968; Jet P 68, Edikon, 1976), she has authored several other volumes, among which are a book on Ben Shahn (De Luca, 1963), a collection of art criticism (La Collezione Astaldi, De Luca, 1971), a history, with Franca Zoccoli, of Italian Futurist women artists (Women Artists of Italian Futurism: Almost Lost to History, Midmarch Arts Press, 1997), and a collection of short stories (Mezzo Secolo Fa [Half a Century Ago], Il Bulino, 1998). She has also written innumerable critical essays in Italian journals, newspapers and exhibition catalogues. She has been active as a curator, organizing exhibitions on Visual poetry (e.g. Materializzazione del Linguaggio [The Materialization of Language], Venice Biennial, 1978), and on artists dealing with the form and concept of the book (e.g. Il Non Libro [The Non Book], Biblioteca Centrale della Regione Siciliana, 1985).
In 2002 Bentivoglio was awarded the Silver Plate of the President of the Italian Republic in recognition of her successful career as an artist.
For further information on Bentivoglio see National Museum of Women in the Arts, The Visual Poetry of Mirella Bentivoglio (Edizioni De Luca, 1999); Palazzo delle Esposizioni, Mirella Bentivoglio, dalla parola al simbolo (Mirella Bentivoglio, drom word to symbol) (Edizioni de Luca, 1996); Frances K. Pohl, “Language/Image/Object: The Work of Mirella Bentivoglio,” Woman’s Art Journal (Spring/Summer 1985): 19-22.