Emilio Vedova

About Artist: Emilio Vedova (Venice, 1919 – Venice, 2006) Vedova was self-taught as an artist. However, while still very young he became part of the avant-garde Corrente group which had been founded in 1938, at first as a magazine, by Ernesto Treccani and around which congregated such other young artists as Birolli, Migneco, Valenti, Cassinari, Guttuso, Sassu, Morlotti. They had in common an expressionist approach to painting and were influenced by Van Gogh, Ensor, Matisse, and Picasso. The magazine was closed down in 1940 but the group itself continued until 1943. From then on, until 1945, Vedova was active in the Resistance movement. In Milan in 1946, together with Morlotti, he signed the Oltre Guernica manifesto and in the same year was one of the founders of the group Fronte Nuova delle Arti. In 1952 he also joined the avant-garde Gruppo degli Otto (the others were Afro, Birolli, Corpora, Santomaso, Morlotti, Vedova, Moreni, and Turcato) from which he was later to dissociate himself. It was in this period that he consolidated his highly personal style, creating collages and assemblages, partly influenced by the Informale movement, with an expressionist handling of thick paint and the use of a rigorous color-range: white, black and, occasionally, blood red. In 1951 he held his first solo show in New York in the Catherine Viviano Gallery which led to his work being noticed by such important collectors as Peggy Guggenheim. He was invited to take part in Documenta I in Kassel in 1955, where he was to be seen again in 1964, and he won a Guggenheim International Award in 1956. An important turning point occurred in 1958 when he made his first prints and, in fact, it can be debated whether his prints were more of an influence on his painting or vice versa. In the same year he had a retrospective exhibition in the Muzeum Narodowe, Poznań, and the Zachęta Narodowa Galeria Sztuki, Warsaw. In 1959 he exhibited a series of works, Scontro di situazioni, in Palazzo Grassi, Venice, and the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam. This series was followed by Plurini, 1961-1965, which were a cross between painting and sculpture. During an artist-in-residence period in Berlin in 1964 Vedova created Absurdes Berliner Tagebuch, seven Plurimi which are now in the Berlinische Galerie. He was awarded the Grand Prize for painting at the 1960 Venice Biennale. From 1963 to1965 he worked in the Deutsche Akademischer Austausch Dienst, Berlin; from 1965 to 1969, and again in 1988, he taught at the Internationale Sommerakademie, Salzburg; in 1965 and 1983 he traveled around the United States, where he lectured extensively. From the late 1970s onwards he experimented with various techniques and formats such as mobiles, monotypes, double-sided circular panels, and large-scale glass engraving. In 1995 he began a new series called Disco-Plurimo and, in 2005, he produced a new series of monotypes Spazi/Opposti which were exhibited in the following year at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice. He was awarded the Leon d’Oro prize for lifetime achievement at the Venice Biennale in1997. Vedova continued to experiment actively in painting and printmaking until he died.

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