Grafic artworks by Emilio Vedova from the Albicocco collection
a cura di Roberto Budassi e Marzia Ratti
A homage to Emilio Vedova, the great master of Italian informal art, through thirty years of his engraving production.
On display are more than 70 graphic artworks from the Albicocco collection. Albicocco is the historic art printing press of Udine with which Vedova collaborated on frequent, challenging projects from 1979 up to 2006, the year of his death.
Emilio Vedova’s vast, significant graphic work, which started in the 1950s, is one of the fundamental expressive components of his art. This work consists above all of etchings and aquatints which support his explosions of black marks with great intensity. The collaboration with Corrado Albicocco goes back to 1979, within the AS printing press of Albicocco and Santini in Viale Volontari della Libertà in Udine. It continued in the 1980s in the Via Gemona 100 premises, and reached was perfected in the Stamperia d’arte Albicocco in Via Ermes di Colloredo, where Vedova created several sets of etchings and participated in precious artist’s books such as Frammenti (Fragments), with five etchings and aquatints, and Gli angeli di Vedova (The angels of Vedova), with a critical commentary by Massimo Cacciari, published for the Tavolo Rosso editions.
This fruitful collaboration culminated in 2002 when the Udine printing press dedicated a monographic exhibition to the artist’s etchings. Corrado Albicocco has clear memories of that long, intense period: “Emilio had scattered all the printing proofs around the studio, he explained to me with an unseen enthusiasm that what we had created together was everything he had always wanted: deep, velvety blacks, non-chalky whites and incredible greys. The Oltre (Beyond), for me the most important and powerful cycle of his whole production, had been born. And he told me with an almost disarming candour: ‘I wish I could achieve in painting what we’ve managed to do in etching’.
The exhibition is enriched by some works from the Cozzani and Premio del Golfo collections of the CAMeC, thus testifying to Vedova’s special bond with the town of La Spezia. This culminated in 1954, the year in which the work Le vie del mondo (Roads of the world, tempera on canvas, 210x90 cm, 1953) was awarded the Ministry of Education prize/purchase.
The lithography Immagine del nostro tempo (Image of our time, 1962), from the same collection, participated in the prize in the 1963 edition. This work has close connections with the birth of the contemporary art museum, as shown by the words the author has written on the plywood enclosing the cardboard, which reveals that the artist intended it for the still-to-be-created “La Spezia gallery”.
Born in Venice in 1919 into a family of workers and artisans, from the 1930s onwards Vedova began an intense activity as a self-taught artist. In 1942 he joined the anti-Novecento movement known as Corrente. An anti-Fascist, he participated to the Resistance from 1944 to 1945 and in 1946, he was one of the co-signers of the Beyond Guernica manifesto in Milan. In the same year he was one of the founders of the Nuova Secessione Italiana followed by the Fronte Nuovo delle Arti. In 1948 he made his debut in the Venice Biennale, the first of many appearances in this event: in 1952 an entire room was devoted to his work, in 1960 he was awarded the Grand Prize for Painting and in 1997 the Golden Lion award for Lifetime Achievement. In the early 1950s he created his celebrated cycles of works: Scontro di situazioni, Ciclo della Protesta, Cicli della Natura. In 1954, at the São Paolo Art Biennial he won a prize that would allow him to spend three months in Brazil, where he encountered a hard reality that would leave its mark on him. In 1961 he designed the sets and costumes for Luigi Nono’s Intolleranza ’60; in 1984 he would work with the composer again on Prometeo. From 1961 onwards he worked on his Plurimi, creating the Venetian series followed by works made from 1963 to 1964 in Berlin including the seven pieces forming the Absurdes Berliner Tagebuch ’64 presented at the 1964 Kassel documenta, where he showed in many occasions.
From 1965 to 1967 he worked on Percorso/Plurimo/Luce for the Montreal Expo. He carried out intense teaching activities in various American universities followed by the Sommerakademie in Salzburg and the Academy of Venice. His artistic career was characterized by a constant desire to explore and innovate. In the 1970s he created the Plurimi/Binari in the Lacerazione and Carnevali cycles followed by the vast cycles of “teleri” (big canvases) and his Dischi, Tondi, Oltre and ...in continuum works. His last solo exhibitions included the major retrospective held at Castello di Rivoli (1998) and, after his death in 2006, the shows at Rome’s Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna and the Berlinische Galerie.
ALBICOCCO ART PRESS
The Stamperia d’arte Albicocco/Santini was set up in 1974 in Udine by Corrado Albicocco and Federico Santini.
Specialising in intaglio art printing, the A/S press worked for numerous internationally famous artists including Giuseppe Zigaina, Giuseppe Santomaso, Emilio Vedova, Jiří Kolář e Piero Dorazio.
In 1994 Corrado Albicocco left A/S to open the Stamperia d’arte Albicocco, again in Udine. In those years collaborations between Albicocco and numerous next-generation artists began, bringing new life to the world of graphic art. Artists from the Milanese and Roman studios turned up at the Udine printing press, as well as a generation of different origins, schools and styles; Albicocco collaborated with artists such as Giovanni Frangi, Marco Petrus, Luca Pignatelli, Velasco, Piero Pizzi Cannella, Marco Tirelli, Bruno Ceccobelli, Nunzio, Stefano Di Stasio, Klaus Karl Mehrkens, Matteo Massagrande.
He also worked with Carla Accardi, Kengiro Azuma, Gianfranco Ferroni, Mersad Berber, Sandro Chia, Peter Halley, Irwin, Živko Marušič, Vettor Pisani, Ercole Pignatelli, Giancarlo Vitali, David Tremlett, Albert Merz.
The cultural activity of the Stamperia d’arte Albicocco received recognition in 2013 from the Friuli Venezia Giulia Region, which sponsored a homage to the Udine workshop at Villa Manini. In the Eastern exedra, over 200 etchings by 60 artists testified to the wide range of the press’s art work, which was documented and scientifically supported by the sizeable catalogue published for the occasion. In 2014, the Municipality of Maniago produced a retrospective on the press’s activity; in summer 2015 the Municipality of Urbino presented another retrospective in the DATA (old ducal stables).
In November 2015 it was the turn of the Municipality of Pordenone, with the exhibition Impressione Astratta (Abstract Impression), dedicated to the Stamperia d’arte Albicocco. Abstract art in graphics was the protagonist of this important exhibition held at the Galleria d’arte Moderna e Contemporanea Armando Pizzinato. The following year, again in the Armando Pizzinato gallery in Pordenone, the exhibition Filando I remi (Resting the oars) was presented, dedicated to artist’s books created and published by the Stamperia d’arte Albicocco, in collaboration with the Industrie Electrolux Zanussi. In 2016, the Stamperia completed an important project with the Arte Povera master Jannis Kounellis, consisting of 12 carborundum etchings presented in December 2017 at the Istituto Centrale per la Grafica of Rome in collaboration with Bruno Corà and the Kounellis Archive.
Exhibition promoted by
Municipality of La Spezia
The Mayor, Pierluigi Peracchini
Councillor for Culture, Paolo Asti
and produced by
CAMeC Centre of Modern and Contemporary Art
Director of Museums and Cultural Services, Marzia Ratti
with the contribution of
Enel, Cora's, Coop Liguria
catalogue: Silvana Editoriale with texts by Marzia Ratti, Roberto Budassi, Corrado Albicocco
technical/scientific coordination: Eleonora Acerbi, Cinzia Compalati, Cristiana Maucci
graphics: Sarah Fontana
press conference: December 6, 2018 at midday
opening: December 7, 2018 at 6 p.m.
press office: Municipality of La Spezia Press Office, Luca Della Torre | Tel. +39 0187 727324 | email@example.com