Eduarda Emilia Maino was born in Milan on 1930. A self-taught painter Dada (diminutive for Eduarda) took up art after completing a medical degree. In 1957 she met Piero Manzoni who became a life-long friend. The following year she adhered to the Milanese avant-garde and had her first solo show at the Galleria dei Bossi in Milan.
In 1959 she joined the Milan-based experimental group Azimuth (founded by Bonalumi, Castellani and Manzoni) which had connections with Group Zero in Germany, Group Nul in the Netherlands, and Group Motus in France. In 1961 the artist took part in a show in the Netherlands, where her name was mistakenly spelt as one word, Dadamaino. From 1963-64 onwards she would adopt this name. In 1962 her work was featured in the major Nul group exhibition at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. This same year she joined the newly founded New Tendencies movement whose members included Getulio Alviani, Bruno Munari, Raphael Soto and Enzo Mari. In the first half of the decade, particularly fascinated with the idea of movement she created a series of optical-dynamic objects, these were followed by the Ricerca del colore (Color’s Research 1966-68) in which she undertook a scrupulous analysis of the solar spectrum’s chromatic combinations.
In the 1970s Dadamaino’s work took on a different direction as she developed a set of invented signs. Notable among these is L’Alfabeto della mente (The Mind’s Alphabet), a series of seven alphabet-like signs. Dadamaino filled her compositions which resembled written letters by selecting one sign at the time and repeating it endlessly. She resorted to the same set of signs in her following cycle, I fatti della vita (The facts of life), which she showed in a solo room at the Venice Biennale in 1980. The Inconsci Razionali (The Rational Unconscious) and Alfabeti della mente (Mind’s Alphabets), to her more recent Movimenti delle cose (The Things Movement), the artist irrepressible ability to perpetuate a refined lightness in all her works shines out. Exemplar of this research is the artwork Il movimento delle cose (The things movement), dated 1993, a beautiful space where the signs run with grace on the canvas. Three years later a large retrospective of her work was organized by the Padiglione d’Arte Contemporanea (PAC) in Milan, and in 1990 she participated again in the Venice Biennale. A full retrospective of her work was mounted in 2000 by the Bochum museum in Bochum.