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There, as in much of Europe, artists had to contend with the politicization of the discourse around artistic production. Immediately after the war, the Italian Communist Party called for realism as the most appropriate style for a national popular art, while a number of competing versions of abstraction emerged, all of which shared a belief in the moral necessity of art.
Before turning to iron, he experimented widely with burlap, wood, tar, cellotex, and, later, plastic, assembling these disparate materials into abstract, two-dimensional pictures with many of the same techniques used in his Sacchi—cutting, stitching, and gluing, as well as burning or torching the surface.
|Emilio Vedova||As early asItalian artists found themselves caught in the rhetorical battles that separated West from East, democracy from communism, and abstraction from representation. This entrenched binarism first gained credence in 1 This is particularly evident in Italian scholarship, which, for decades, has been dominated by the ideas of senior scholars and curators such as Mario De Micheli, Luciano Caramel, and Enrico Crispolti.|
Burri himself encouraged a purely formalist understanding of his works; inhe signed the manifesto of the Gruppo Origine, an association of artists attempting to reinvigorate abstraction after the war by assigning it a moral position associated with uncompromising creative freedom, but maintaining its separateness from political ideology.
This ideological disassociation was not an uncommon position for postwar European abstraction, and the Ferri were celebrated by critics in both Europe and the US on formalist terms, especially for their rhythm and proportion as well as the visual properties of the industrial materials.
It is possible to interpret the two iron works in the collection of the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, Gran Ferro M1 and Gran Ferro M3in terms that recall both the formalist and the existentialist rhetoric of the postwar moment. Both are large steel assemblages that have been cut, bent, and fused into abstract shapes, burnt with a welding torch, coated with lacquer and paint in some areas, then nailed to a wooden support.
Gran Ferro M1 is made of a series of small square or rectangular sheets of steel welded together or cut to form a rough grid; a circular shape has been carved out of a panel on the lower right with a welding torch.
The geometric order of the work is heightened by the application of black paint to selected squares, creating a checkerboard pattern. Where the once flat metal is bent and wrinkled at the joints, it reflects light and records the efforts of physical construction.
The lacquer that covers the surface also heightens the reflective qualities of the metal, interacting with the subtle tonal variations of the painted and unpainted areas, as well as the darker traces of the welding torch.
British critic Herbert Read understood them in these terms: To look at Gran Ferro M3 in that light, the combination of cuts and weld marks form a rough axis that divides the work into four sections with an open, protruding joint at the center. The slash of bright red paint at this juncture, the burns on the metal from the welding torch, and the precariousness of heavy sheets of metal only partially welded or nailed together seem to evoke a sensation of physical danger and also brute effort on the part of the artist.
Abstraction serves to heighten the ambiguity of the work, making it not just a record of specific actions on the part of the artist, but an evocation of sensations of peril in the viewer.
Indeed, the painting seems to have a symbolic wound and yet is also metaphorically capable of wounding. Perhaps, in the case of the Ferri, it is the materials that should speak for themselves, for they like the Sacchi are particularly tied to the postwar moment in Italy.
It is an irreducible presence that refuses to be converted into any other form of expression. It is a presence both imminent and active…. My painting is a reality which is part of myself, a reality that I cannot reveal in words.
For Hamilton, these discarded industrial materials speak to the useless remnants of historical modernism, as well as to a feeling of ambivalence towards the economic status of postwar Italy that was dependent on an influx of commercial support from its stronger international allies.
The iron sheets that Burri used to make his Ferri series belong to this industrial aesthetic as well, though Burri, as always, spoke about them in only formal terms, consistently resisting any reference to subjective experience outside of the properties of the materials themselves.
Inwriting about the Ferri series, he explained that his objectives were to serve formal innovation, and that his interest in the unusual material was primarily to break down the difference between painting and sculpture: The sheets were in fact the outcome of what is often referred to as the Italian Miracle, a period of rapid domestic economic growth that began in the mids and lasted through the early s, of which the steel industry was a particularly potent example.
Scratches and previously hidden traces of their manufacture, such as fingerprints and footprints, have become visible under the crackling lacquer. The upper left corner of Gran Ferro M3 has a number, possibly from the factory, scratched casually and faintly onto its surface, while ghostly footprints in the upper right and lower left are becoming increasingly visible.
And on Gran Ferro M1, a smudged handprint has emerged in the lower center section. With their rusty, now dim surfaces, they seem to be much more products of their time than they may have appeared when they held the promise of the new and innovative.
While the hope that abstract works such as these would somehow rejuvenate modernist strategies may now be anachronistic, Gran Ferro M1 and Gran Ferro M3 mark a key moment in art history.
The generation of artists who came after Burri, Arte Povera figures such as Pino Pascali, Jannis Kounellis, Mario Merz, and Michelangelo Pistoletto who emerged in the s, had a much more ambivalent relationship towards technology and a more overt ideological position, often looking to natural materials and artisanal processes as a direct refusal to participate in advanced consumer culture.
Another Italian group, Nuova Secessione, later transformed into the Fronte Nuovo delle Arti, was comprised of abstract and realist artists with similar beliefs. See Gerald Nordland, Alberto Burri: A Retrospective View —77 Los Angeles: Wight Art Gallery, Guggenheim Museum Publications, For an overview of painting in the postwar period with specific reference to the politics of the moment, see Marcia E.
For an overview of art informel in Italy, see Marcia E. The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston,n. Electa, Andrew Carnduff Ritchie New York: Museum of Modern Art, Fogg Art Museum, Longman,—This monograph documents the creative path, From the s to the present, of one of Italy’s most important living artists — Emilio Vedova, born in Venice in , and winner of the Leone d’Oro all’Opera prize at the Venice Biennale.
Emilio Vedova's artistic career began in Venice in the mids.
He immediately felt the deep allure of grand Venetian painting and sculpture and, guided by the restless agitation and dynamic mobility of the baroque, was soon plunged into total and extreme three-dimensional involvement.
Emilio Vedova was born into a working-class family in Venice on August 9 He left school for work in a factory before finding employment with a photographer and restorer. This monograph documents the creative path, From the s to the present, of one of Italy's most important living artists -- Emilio Vedova, born in Venice in , and winner of the Leone d'Oro all'Opera prize at the Venice Biennale.
Essays by Carlo Bertelli and Emilio Vedova.
The work of Emilio Vedova, born in Venice in , has always fused political critique and artistic engagement. From his early. Advice and examples on how to write a cover letter in English to apply for an English-speaking job · A good cover letter can help to “sell” best rated essay writing service your manuscript to Please let me emilio vedova essays know of your decision at your All cover letters should contain.