The Story of Bern, [or] Showing Colors

Collection :

Monographs & Artists’ Books

Editor(s) :

Clément Dirié

Author(s) :

Dorothy IannoneFrédéric Paul

Cover type :


Dimensions :

228 x 220 mm

Pages :

74 pgs.

Pictures :

2 colors and 70 b/w

Price :

CHF50 / €40 / £30 / $55

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The seminal tale of Iannone’s advocacy for sexual liberation

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The seminal tale of Iannone’s advocacy for sexual liberation

“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 his exhibition entitled “Freunde, Friends, d’Fründe,” Harald Szeemann invited Karl Gerstner, Roth, Daniel Spoerri, and André Thomkins who all decided to exhibit their artists friends; Roth chose Iannone alongside Emmett Williams. The censorship of Iannone, and Roth’s protest, eventually led to Harald Szeemann’s resignation as the director of the institution.

Telling the story of this act of censorship as well as the context of the exhibition in Bern and its iteration in a non-censored version in Düsseldorf, “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, which encompasses 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 that includes 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 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.

It is published in collaboration with Air de Paris, Paris; on the occasion of the artist’s exhibition at the Centre Pompidou, Paris, from September 26, 2019, to January 6, 2020.