Dorothy Iannone

The Story of Bern [or] Showing Colors

As much as Love and Eros have defined my work since its beginnings, so too has censorship or its shadow, accompanied it,’ recalls Dorothy Iannone in her introduction to this facsimile publication of her legendary ‘The Story of Bern, [or] Showing Colors.

First published in 1970, the book documents the censorship of Iannone’s work The (Ta)Rot Pack (1968–1969) and the subsequent removal of all his works by her then companion, artist Dieter Roth, from a collective exhibition at the Kunsthalle Bern. For this exhibition entitled Freunde, curator Harald Szeemann had invited Karl Gertsner, Roth, Daniel Spoerri, and André Thomkins to exhibit artists friends, Roth having chosen Iannone. Her censorship and Roth’s protest eventually led to Harald Szeemann’s resignation from the institution.

Telling the story of this act of censorship as well as the Bern show’s context and its iteration in a non-censored version in Dusseldorf, The Story of Bern is emblematic of Iannone’s distinctive, explicit, and comic book style, and of her openness about sexuality and the strengthening of female autonomy. Born in 1933 in Boston, Dorothy Iannone lives and works in Berlin. Since the 1960s, she has attempted to represent ecstatic love, ‘the union of gender, feeling, and pleasure.’

Today her oeuvre, encompassing painting, drawing, collage, video, sculpture, objects, and artist’s books, is widely recognized as one of the most provocative and fruitful bodies of work in recent decades in terms of the liberalization of female sexuality, and political and feminist issues. As Robert Filliou stated as early as in 1972, ‘She is a freedom fighter, and a forceful and dedicated artist, skillfully blending imagery and text, beauty and truth. Her aim is no less than human liberation.’

Accompanied by a 4-page insert including a new text by Dorothy Iannone and an essay about the context of the book publication by Centre Pompidou curator Frédéric Paul, this publication is a limited edition facsimile of the original 1970 The Story of Bern, [or] Showing Colors‘. It follows the facsimile publication of A Cookbook by JRP|Editions in 2018.

Published on the occasion of the artist’s major exhibition at Centre Pompidou, Paris (26 September 2019 – 6 January 2020).

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