Anna Esposito (1935) lives and works in Rome. From a young age she showed a strong aptitude for manual and creative work, so in 1958, after graduating, she decided to enrol in the Academy of Fine Arts in Rome, where she attended a sculpture course, under the guidance of Pericle Fazzini. After her sculptural phase, she began to devote herself to painting and frequented the leading galleries of the Roman art scene of the time, and in a short time became one of the most appreciated artists by critics and the public. During the seventies she exhibited in numerous solo and group exhibitions, in public and private institutions. In 1978 she took part in the exhibition Materialization of Language, curated by Mirella Bentivoglio, organized for the Venice Biennial. Between the late seventies and early eighties, her work was exhibited in several national galleries (Spazio Alternativo, Rome, 1979-1980; Unde Gallery, Turin 1980; NSM Gallery, Milan, 1983) and internationally, and she participated in four consecutive editions of the Art Basel fair (Galleria Artivisive, Rome, 1979-1980-1981-1982). In 1979 she was present in the collective exhibition From Page to Space – Women in the Italian Avant-garde between Language and Image, curated by Mirella Bentivoglio, at Columbia University in New York, while in 1981 she was included, again by Bentivoglio, in the exhibition O quadrato do dizer/ The Square of Saying, created as part of the XVI Biennale in São Paulo, Brazil.
In the following decade she held a series of important solo exhibitions curated by the main exponents of Italian criticism of the time, such as Enrico Crispolti (Galleria Sala 1, Rome, 1985) and Palma Bucarelli (Galleria Banchi Nuovi, Rome, 1987-1991). Her works were included in the XI Rome Quadriennial (1986) and the International Biennial in Naples, curated by Marcello Venturoli (1988), and in numerous other collective exhibitions, including those curated by Mirella Bentivoglio, and Achille Bonito Oliva (Erice; Rome, 1995). She exhibited thirty-three works from the anthology ‘Appearances’ (Apparenze, 1970-1998), which opened to the public in December 1998 in the Municipality of Marino Exhibition Hall (Rome). The exhibition, expanded with her production in the early 2000s, was revived in 2006 at the Palazzo Comunale in Serra dè Conti (Ancona). Her works appear in several collective exhibitions aimed at historicizing artistic production at the turn of the sixties and seventies, such as Post-scriptum – Female Artists in Italy between language and image in the 60’s and 70’s, curated by Mirella Bentivoglio, at Palazzo Massari in Ferrara in 1998 and Le immagini affamate (‘Hungry Images’), Donne e cibo nell’arte (Women and food in art) Regional Archeological Museum in Aosta in 2005. Among the exhibitions held since 2010, it is worth noting the anthologies Per interposte immagini (‘interposed images’), curated by Elio Pecora, at Palazzo Flangini in Venice in 2016, Questo nostro mondo, curated by Cornelia Bujin, at Alson Gallery in Milan in 2019 and What I’ve done, curated by D. Mariani at Gramma_Epsilon Gallery in Athens. Her works have also been included in several reconnaissance surveys dedicated to artists operating between the sixties and seventies, including La donazione Bentivoglio, curated by Daniela Ferrari, at MART in Rovereto (2011), and ‘Unexpected subject’ (Soggetto Imprevisto,1978), Art and Feminism in Italy at FM Centro for Contemporary Art in Milan (2019), curated by Marco Scotini and Raffaella Perna. Recently she has also been included in L’arte e la città, curated by Stefano Pezzato at Centro Pecci in Prato (2021), The poetry of translation, curated by Judith Waldmann, at Kunst Meran Merano Arte in Merano (2021) and Ri-materializzazione del linguaggio, curated by C. Perrella and A. Villiani at Dalle Nogare Foundation in Bolzano (2022).
“Over recent years, photography has been the main basis for Esposito’s works, on which she composes with her materials, integrating the various parts to achieve unity and complementarity of the various elements. Irony, humour and sarcasm which can sometimes be grotesque, and playfulness are behind all her works of art and animate her inventions so that the viewer can participate as much as possible. Her art is original and extends across a wide range of intelligent, imaginative and stimulating images that place her among the most interesting in contemporary art.”
“News and more news, footage and images, some projected, some printed, loud or muted, all with the latest truths to alert us, and update us with what is really going on. The meticulous and relentless updates last no more than a day and then become outdated or overturned. They are followed by the new and latest takes, often to which pressing economic and ideological motivations are not indifferent. And how can we be sure that those who spread it are always objective and are not hiding the other side of the coin from us? What is behind those glossy images of lush nature, cities of well-being, clean and deserted beaches, dewy woodland, and the smiling and persuasive faces of those characters in the foreground? Behind them there are mountains of waste, cities assailed by concrete, seas of plastic and paper, polluted rivers and floods of people searching for the promised land, mud landslides that carry away just the most desperate, and young people with their arms crossed, waiting for the Messiah.
This is why I try to highlight the hidden parts of the truth in my work. I work with the mixture like a dough, to get a feeling of all the moods and extract the poison. I use my hands, scissors, colours and whatever tools I can get hold of. I cut, blow up, glue, cut holes, sew, add and remove what is needed from the original images to portray them in a new light and sometimes reverse their meaning. Everything is slightly tongue in cheek, grotesque and playful, but also tragic. The aim is to make people think about the facts in our world with a bitter smile.”