„This Sweetness Outside of Time. Objects, Books and Films from 1959 to 2014“ is an extensive retrospective addressing all aspects of Dorothy Iannone’s opus, focusing on one of the most unusual women artists of the 20th/21st century. It is an overview of her multimedia work, from the fifties when she made her Abstract Expressionist works, through the sixties and the seventies when her work became more intimate and intermedial, to her most recent pop-referential pieces.
Her work is unique and easily recognizable – bold graphic paintings, objects, and books, rich in splendour, humour and the erotic, inspired by cultural history and folk art, as well as the places and the people she encountered in her many travels. As a young woman she had the need to change the scenery often and drastically, and all of that is evident in the way her artistic expression progressed.
In her time of discovering the world and different cultures, she obviously gained much more from the worldwide experience than any average intellectual type of vagabond seeking to expand own horizons. While the documents of high peaks of one's life abroad often say a thousand compromising words, Dorothy's own documents - elaborate paintings - consist of completely openly written-down intimate thoughts and stories about her sexual experiences. Many long-distance relationships ended abruptly as soon as a young lover's foot landed on a foreign ground, but none as famously as Dorothy's relationship upon arriving to Iceland and meeting the artist Dieter Roth.
Dorothy gloriously depicted her newfound love from the moment she first saw the object of her affection, to the moment they became pasionate lovers and best friends, in her series of drawings named "Icelandic Saga". All of her wordy artworks are actually something (or exactly) like diaries in which she reveals her most private experiences and feelings, coupled with ornamental drawings of nude characters and intimate scenes.
Today, Dorothy Iannone is 80 years old, and still evidently full of that same positive force that radiates from her artworks. She loves and enjoys life, with no place for overmoralizing or hiding - her art is explicitly about sex. It materializes very sexual, and yet very pure kind of thrill. What was in the seventies censored and labeled pornographic in her work, today is celebrated as playful, joyful, even spiritual, and above all mature in artistic expression, as well as in the highly conscious outlook on existence. Her artistic value complements personal, which fuels her work with delightful heaps of energy.
Her way of dealing with the issues of gender, sex, love, and the balance of power, could easily be taken as feminist activism, but it should actually be recognized as universal force. The writing on one of her most famous artwors - the video box "Follow Me“ - clearly shows her viewpoint: "It's not too late to remember who I am. You will not be vanquished although you are a man“. In addition to her artistic achievements, she is also known for her crusade against censorship in 1961, when her copy of Henry Miller's "Tropic of Cancer“ was confiscated and she successfully filed a lawsuit against the US government. One should consider her a freedom fighter, and her fight should give at least a bit of a push to the society to become more like her - liberated and loving.