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Mirtha Dermisache

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Mirtha Dermisache, Untitled (Text or Fragment of a Letter), 1970. Courtesy: The estate of Mirtha Dermisache and Henrique Faria, New York & Buenos Aires

Mirtha Dermisache, Untitled (Text or Fragment of a Letter), 1970. Courtesy: The estate of Mirtha Dermisache and Henrique Faria, New York & Buenos Aires

Henrique Faria’s presentation is dedicated to the work of Mirtha Dermisache (Argentina, 1940-2012). She developed her creative practice in the 1970s through the act of writing: “I started writing and the result was something unreadable. In fact, illegibility is a key aspect of my work.”

Dermisache’s works on paper examine the boundaries of written language and the transmission of information. She takes the media associated with everyday writing, such as books, newspapers and letters, and subverts their functionality through the creation of written languages without the alphabetic signifiers traditionally used to convey meaning. Roland Barthes, in a letter to the artist in 1972, called her works “illegible writing”, reaffirming Dermisache’s intention to explore the idea, or, the essence, of the self-referential act of writing. Diario No ̊ 1 Año 1 (1972) contains the columned format and linearly written “text” as commonly seen in any newspaper, but inspection of the work’s content leads the viewer to realize that the signs are the content, liberated from typical definitions of meaning.

Dermisache’s conceptual body of work, dealing with themes of communication, semiotics, freedom of expression and exchange of information, has earned her worldwide recognition, especially as these issues remain utterly current.

Mirtha Dermisache (1940-2012) studied art at the Manuel Belgrano National School of Fine Arts and two years of teaching at the Prilidiano Pueyrredón National School of Fine Arts. She published her first 500-page book in 1966-1967, and continued with the development of her graphisms until her death in January 2012. She has recently exhibited at the MALBA and the Fine Arts Pavilion at the Argentine Catholic University (UCA), both in Buenos Aires; the MACBA, Barcelona; and the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, where on the occasion of her recent incorporation in the collection she was part of the exhibition elles@centrepompidou, and in different institutional spaces in France, like the Centre des Livres d’Artistes and the Belfort School of Fine Arts Pavilion. Her latest group exhibition, dedicated to the issue of illegible writing, took place in gallery P420, in Bologna, Italy, along with artists such as Leon Ferrari, Hanne Darboven, Irma Blank and Daïdamano. Her works are part of private and public collections in Argentina, the United States and Europe.