Artist biography

Italian painter and printmaker. He was the son of an artisan and was essentially self-taught as an artist.

Vedova participated in the activities of the Corrente group; he was also a member of the Gruppo degli otto pittori italiani. These groups adopted an anti-19th-century style of painting that rejected aesthetic indulgence and demanded the spectator's participation. Vedova attempted to remain faithful to the sense of disinterested moral involvement that he regarded as the basis of each work of art. He reproposed the geometric strictness of Cubism in modern terms and tempered its tonal harshness with a sense of emotional involvement. The painting style developed by Vedova required the will to experiment and a great expenditure of physical energy. It is, therefore, no coincidence that his early studies give the impression of feverishness or convulsion.

From 1948 Vedova began producing series that are either dynamic themselves or structured to exploit the dynamic qualities of light. In 1959 he created large polyptychs, sometimes asymmetrical and L-shaped, consisting of a number of works on the same theme.

In his later creations Vedova continued to pursue his investigations into physical space independently of any prejudged attitudes towards balance, logic and behaviour; awareness of man's destiny and of his tendency to break rules also shows itself in his contributions to various discussions and international debates. Vedova appears to be attempting a ‘total art' dreamt of by the Futurists in 1913, with the difference that his spectacular, centralised creations are not a hymn to modern times, but rather a confirmation of the feelings of alarm and distress that pervade contemporary society.

Bibliography
G. Marchiori: Emilio Vedova (Venice, 1951)
W. Haftmann: Malerei im 20. Jahrhundert (Munich, 1954)
M. Brion: Art abstrait (Paris, 1956)
W. Haftmann: Emilio Vedova (Munich, 1960)
M. Tapié: Morphologie autre (Turin, 1960)
G. C. Argan and M. Calvesi: Vedova: Compresenze, 1946–1981 (Milan, 1981)
G. Celant: ‘Gli artisti nel loro studio', Vogue Italia Speciale, 10 (1985)
M. Wechsler: ‘Emilio Vedova', Wolkenkratzer A. J. (1985)
C. Schulz-Hoffmann and others: Emilio Vedova (Munich, 1986)

PIERO PACINI

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