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Emilio Vedova, Immagine del tempo ’59, n. 3
Material and technique
oil on canvas
275 x 105 cm
Fabrizio D'Amico
Within the vast turmoil of this oblong canvas nearly three metres tall, blacks race over a mantle of whites; a torrid yellow – almost a heart – crackles at the centre of the composition, which is ruptured throughout by hiccups, clashes, violence.
In 1959, Vedova was at the height of his frenzy – which it would be improper to call sign-directed (he would announce his detachment from the “signs” of Hartung and of Mathieu), informal, or gestural like New York’s action painters. This is no self-confession (as it so often was for the American artists), nor a more or less masked reconsideration of the nerve centres of nature via an exaltation of material (as in Morlotti, for instance, the maestro of the northern Italian Informal school, even though along with Vedova he was a member of the Group of Eight), but an explosion of rage on canvas, testimony to the artist’s persistent refusal of abuse of power, the domination of man by man.
In this sense Vedova is heir to the Corrente group, the intransigent morality of the wartime art movement in Milan, rather than the eminently strategic aggregation of the Fronte Nuovo delle Arti – both of which he joined. This Immagine del tempo ’59 and the other paintings of the series testify to his radical abstract expressionism, his use of a sign that the surface of the canvas can no longer contain. Soon he would be producing Plurimi, physical works torn by an incendiary painting that detach themselves from the walls and aggressively invade the viewer’s space.
Immagine del tempo ’59, n. 3
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