Mazzoleni is pleased to announce its forthcoming exhibition Emilio Vedova, Tondo Non Dove, the first of a biannual Focus exhibition series at the gallery’s London location. For each of these Focus exhibitions Mazzoleni will present a single, exceptional work, previously unseen in London, by a Post-War Italian artist. By focusing on one single work, the exhibition immerses the viewer in the artist’s concerns, through a closer examination of a particular, rarely displayed piece. The Focus exhibition series demonstrates the gallery’s continuing commitment to their programme of exhibitions on Post-War Italian artists.
Emilio Vedova (1919-2006) was born in Venice to an artisan family and was engaged in art from an early age. At 23 he joined the anti-fascist artistic and literary movement, the Corrente. The group proposed a new revolutionary aesthetic that stood apart from the mainstream which at that moment focused on the figurative. Vedova’s artistic approach mirrored his political beliefs and in 1943, he joined the Italian resistance. Soon after, Vedova signed the Oltre Guernica manifesto in Milan 1946, which advocated that painters extend the tradition of Picasso’s famous anti-fascist Guernica (1937), and depart from figurative painting altogether. Artists used abstraction to communicate a total rejection of fascism.
After the war, Vedova became a leading figure in the Italian art scene and quickly gained the attention of influential European art critics. He held his first exhibition at the Venice Biennale in 1948, and was later awarded the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at the Venice Biennale of 1997.
Tondo Non Dove, 1986 is one of the artist’s final works. In the 1980s he began experimenting with circular forms and frequently executed paintings in large-scale formats. Both the artist’s Tondi and Dischi series emerged during this period. While the Tondi works remain two-dimensional, the Dischi exist as three-dimensional structures. The circular forms that characterise both series allowed the artist to experiment with gestural action, a key aspect of Post-War art. For this reason, Vedova’s paintings have been likened to those of the American Abstract Expressionists. As with many of his contemporaries, Vedova was preoccupied with escaping from the narrow parameters of painting through the gestural strokes of his Tondi as well as the sculptural nature of the Dischi. Through these works, Vedova demonstrated greater artistic freedom, foreshadowing the arrival of installation art.
Although Vedova is undeniably a ‘modern’ artist, he never fully negated traditional elements from his work. Rather than painting on canvas, the artist preferred to paint on wooden board, a typically Venetian practice dating back to Medieval and Renaissance times. The artist was always fascinated by the history of his roots and the traditional artistic customs of Venice.