Maria A. Listur


The body has been used as object in the visual arts. But only since few years it became an instrument for painting. Titian had already discovered in the mature years of his long existence painting with hands, leaving the brush that was the instrument of his perennial fortune. Never he would have thought that Maria A. Listur would have gone well beyond the hands and that she would have taken the provocative lesson of Yves Klein, when she projected real bodies dipped in blue on the canvas, and would have brought it well beyond projecting her own body in the action of painting. It’s intriguing to realize that the paths of innovation do not stop. And if Jackson Pollock used to dance like a possessed Indian on the canvases where he controlled with a shamanic attention the dripping of the drops of color, and if Shiraga, the guru of Gutai, even danced on the canvas itself spreading the material through the sliding of his feet, Maria resumes the legacy of the past experimentations and makes it a personal and musical mystic. Because Maria is not a Parisian provocateur and a Japanese samurai, let alone a fanatic of Sioux dances. Maria is a female and follows Penelope’s indications, making and undoing the canvas in the anticipation of the magic event.

Philippe Daverio
Art Critic

Maria A. Listur

Actress – painter – performer – author, works in the interdisciplinary, multidisciplinary and performative research in the aesthetic line of what it has been the Gutai movement, now here in dialogue with Butoh dance. The body, time and space are – normally – the basic materials of the performance, ephemeral art from which generally nothing remains. Differently from what happens in theatre where time is at the service of fiction, times and spaces ‘in situ’ often constitute the essential elements of the performative practice, crumbs and cracks of truth; if we would put it in reflex with the literary tradition, poetry could be to prose what performance would be to theatre.
Maria offers us particles of ephemeral, some trace… Therefore, after her performance, a canvas or more together with a video remain and they constitute the prolongation of the artistic action.

In each event the previous works are exhibited.

Giorgio Dorfles
Art Critic



Trying to give a “rational” explanation of the painting works of Maria A. Listur presents an impossibility that inscribes its own defeat in the proof itself. For this is necessary to change strategy, re-accustom the perception; not trying to see to let raise a Gesthald of senses, of the body that let itself flood by the stroke and by the movement, by the color and by sound of that specific color, by the recreational material by which the stroke is weaved.
“Maria A. Listur always works with a sonorous and visual thematic matrix inscribed in another subterranean thematic, elusive, ethereal, impossible to capture but with the body, with time. Labirinti, Migrazioni, Oceani and Il Segno e La Luce are created with this matrixes.
The question we have asked ourselves is where to place the painting and sonorous practice of Maria A. Listur? I think that this marks a going back to minimalism to a ‘before modernism’, high modernism of Kandisnky – dissolved in Warhol in Pop Art – and in the aleatory painting and action of Jackson Pollock and of Josef Alberts, and in particular in that of Mark Rothko: The spot and the line on the surface of the aleatory space of Kandisnky and the indeterminable hazard of Pollock intersect themselves in the sound/color of Listur. It is about a liberation of the modernity in the color connected to sound.
A sound of composers who transcendent the post modernity of a humanity of Stockhausen, Berio, Boulez style. The connection with other cultures and other sounds, her material/canvas of algae is history, the past, the never always “Mnemonic”, but always in the present behind and over, inside, belonging to the curve and the angle. The spot and the line, the chaos and the hazard, the light and the sound; The life behind, subterranean like those Aztecs’ rivers that now cannot be seen but are there, in the underground world, the Manso river, The bravo river, The Churubusco river, The Piedad, The Magdalena, The Mixcoc, The Channel Tensotle. If we inquire on where they are, they tell us that they are under, they are dead but alive, they get agitated even when they suffer. The works of Maria Listur doesn’t make possible the determination, the belonging, because it is the product of a movement, of a wound; it is nomadic therefore, in a constant movement, like the voices of the others that intersect themselves and inscribe themselves always in a space already there, inexplicable, inevitable, un-traceable but only with the wings of the angels …but only from and with hell.
But there is more: After modernity, after Warhol’s deconstruction which does not only sets a limit to Modernity, concluded in a dead end street of the Pop Art (Let’s think about Josef Alberts, Mark Rothko, Morris Louis, Lasper Johns, Kenneth Noland, Claes Oldenberg o Jeff Koons, to name some known cases) a second Warhol’s intertextual deconstruction was produced, with those paintings that have Giorgio De Chirico as a reference, as an example, The Disquieting Muses, inserted in what we call postmodern art with which he creates his own version/adaptation of those works.

In this sense, Warhol connects himself to the painting of Meldron Visendrop, Sandro Chia, Carlo Maria Mariano, Stephen Mckenna, Mimo Paladino, Lorenzo Bonechi or David Lasalle. His work is highly deconstructive and intertextual, it reveals constantly a double codification which articulates between past and present, declaring constantly that that past is bond to history as it is clearly stated by Charles Jencks in his seminal book on architecture and postmodern culture, What is Postmodernism. In this contest, the word of Gianni Vattimo in his, La fine della modernità (The end of Modernism) are enlighting:

Things, though change if, as it seems to be recognized, the post modernism is characterized not only as news related to modern, but also as dissolution of the category of new, as an experience of “end of the story”, moreover than presenting itself of a different level, more advanced or regressed, it doesn’t matter, of the story itself. (1991: 12)

The end of Modernism just because what could be said after Beckett, Borges, Kafka, Gaudí, Ginsberg, Duchamp, Kandisnky or Schoenberg? None of these artists can be referred to a fixed paradigm, if not as a Nomadic performativity, always different and always open to other possibilities still not visible. End of the story, who knows, with no doubt, end of Modernity. And it is right here, in the end of the end where it is produced a return with the works of Maria Listur, as we have done a circle: from high modernity, to Pop Art, to new figuration/representation intertextual post modern, to the listurean abstraction which doesn’t place itself in ex novo (completely new), it means, in a Geshtalt which it is constituted in the form, in raising in the surprise of the significant. In Listur’s case, the Geshtalt there is no relation with the rise of the significant, with the raise of the meaning as playful experience, rhizomatic, cartographic, a place where the eyesight travels in a whirl of traces which can be only equalize to Pollock, Kandisnky and surely to Howl by Allen Ginsberg: to let himself flood by sound of the words –in Listur’s case- by the reflection of sound and color, by the material that becomes a part of that color. In the end, we assist at the extirpation of post, because there is no post, but a diasporic, nomadic art that has no other reference than its own inner pregnancy. There is no center, only spots and lines in constant movement: the past and the present, the whole culture, decodified and with no fixed path, but that shown by the movement given by the rhizome, therefore, infinite.

In music I do not listen to the re-writing of the words for what they mean, I listen to sound. We should try to remain not only with the sense of the known languages in order to Give/recognize them as sound, language of the sound and not only meaning. We should try to make possible a form of communication, which is not based only on comprehension, which could create an opening towards a language not yet codified.
Maria A. Listur

Fernando de Toro
University of Manitoba – Canada