MilanCarla Accardi At Home
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The non-linear installation of the exhibition evokes a domestic and private atmosphere that criss-crosses the rooms of Casa Corbellini-Wasserman, the gallery’s headquarters, and includes objects, photographs and decorative elements that bring together a complex and multifaceted portrait of Carla Accardi. The project is organized with the collaboration of Francesco Impellizzeri (artist and member of the Scientific Committee of the Accardi Sanfilippo Archive).
Carla Accardi at Home not only documents the long career of the artist, a central figure of the Italian and international art scene since the mid-twentieth century but also reflects a personal and emotional narrative about the artist. The exhibition unfolds through pivotal works that punctuate Accardi’s entire career, together with archival photographs and symbolic objects from her home and studio in Rome, where the artist used to welcome friends and artists each day for aperitif, events that have since become legendary. In the spaces of MASSIMODECARLO the works are mixed together to recreate the informal intimate atmosphere that one would have experienced in Accardi’s home, thus works from the 1950s meet and interact with those of the following decades up to the 2000s.
Artistically trained in post-war Italy, in her practice Accardi intertwines individual and social experiences, the personal and collective condition, making history, reality and artifice merge and coincide. Her works combine opposing yet indistinguishable elements that coexist in color and signs, concrete images of a dynamic language. Carla Accardi’s art incorporates the supple sensuality of the sign, which revives static and impersonal materials with its irregular and chaotic richness, giving life to fluid and organic compositions made of signs, materials, colors and shapes.
In Negativo grande (1954) the lines intertwine to create a free and spontaneous plot of positive over negative. Of this period are the works in casein that the artist created kneeling on the ground, placing opaque white on black, in order to overturn the hierarchies of colors and emphasize the positive individuality of an element that detaches itself from the black uniformity, without however opposing it. In Assedio rosso n.7 (1956), white is replaced by red, creating an optical pattern with an irregular and instinctive power.
Color stabilised a primary role in the works starting from the 1960s, as in Azzurro argento (1964), whose surface is overloaded with a dense and luminous turquoise. Having overcome the neutral duality of black and white, the disruptive universe of the Sicilian artist emerges. On the monochrome surface, calligraphic signs are no longer intertwined but dense and rigorous, grouped and isolated in enclosures that oppose the plots of the previous works. The signs seem to be analyzed and controlled in a serial way, as if to reflect a more mature and a greater awareness by the artist. Furthermore, the juxtaposition with silver accentuates the brightness of the work.
Transparency, color and brightness distinguish Accardi’s artistic research up to the 1980s. Combinations of paints and sicofoil produces limitless possibilities. The liquidity of the paints creates, in association with the translucent surfaces of the support, layers of light in which full and empty, presence and absence interweave, as exemplified by Quadrato (1981). In this work, the frame, by means of the sicofoil, is revealed and covered with color, becoming its primary visual element. The sicofoil, crossed by traces of colors, creates surfaces and geometries that flow into the shape of the cone or roll, then taken up again in the series of lamps. Accardi’s work becomes three-dimensional and architectural, moving beyond the boundaries of the picture through the material, the transparency and the lucidity of the colors and finally through the form, placing the work in a fluid dialogue with the surrounding environment.
From the Eighties, the rough surface of the hemp canvas replaced the sicofoil and the invisible becomes visible. The weavings of signs and shapes become an ornamental motif with a musical rhythm, a reflection not only of an inner emphasis but of an ever-growing artistic path. The fields of color are homogeneous and the backgrounds blend together, with tortuous intertwining that flow from every part of the work, as in Collisione dei Tempi (2011) or Luci d’Inverno (2009). The rational image of simple geometric figures is mixed with the labyrinthine image, and sparkling and dark colors are placed side by side, as exemplified by the large work Pavimento in feltro nero rosso e bianco (2009-2010).
The artist has always entrusted the possibility of projecting a personality that escapes any definition and welcomes the possibility of multiple ways of being and existing to the harmony of contrasts. Carla Accardi experiments with the vocabulary of expression to convey her feminine identity, making art an instrument capable of merging dualities: architecture and painting, empty and full, material and immaterial, function and ornament, transparency and opacity, art and life. A horizontal approach well represented by the artist’s will to intervene in the environment in its entirety, starting from the objects with the creation of vases, plates and decorative elements. With her art and the liturgy of her home studio, Carla Accardi invites us to enter an inner universe, conscious of her own individuality, existence and autonomy that materialises in abstract colour, shapes, lines and space.
The Carla Accardi at Home exhibition is accompanied by a selection of images from the Accardi Sanfilippo Archive, which will be made visible on @massimodecarlogallery Instagram account starting from the inauguration of the exhibition. The project also marks the arrival of MASSIMODECARLO on the social media Clubhouse: on May 5th, starting at 7:00pm CET, @ MASSIMODECARLO will open its microphones to the voices of friends, travel companions and scholars who have accompanied Carla Accardi’s life and her career, in the special Aperitivo con Carla (Accardi), moderated by Massimiliano Tonelli (Editorial Director of Artribune).
Carla Accardi (Trapani 1924 – Rome 2014) is considered one of the most influential abstract painters of the twentieth century. Recent exhibitions dedicated to her work include those at: Museo del Novecento, Milano (2020); MUSMA, Matera (2013); Moscow Museum of Modern Art, Moscow (2008); MACRO, Rome (2004); Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Paris (2002); MoMA PS1, New York (2001). Her work has been shown in numerous group exhibition in prestigious institutions such as: Fondazione Prada, Milan; MAXXI, Rome; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Palazzo Grassi, Venice; MoMA PS1, New York; MoCA, Los Angeles; Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice; The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Castello di Rivoli, Rivoli; Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna, Rome. She took part in Venice Biennale on several occasions (1948, 1964, 1976, 1978, 1993). Works by Accardi are part of major museum collections such as the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; MoMA, New York; Centre George Pompidou, Paris; MACRO, Rome; Museion, Bolzano; the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice.