Valerio Adami has been a recurring presence in the history of Studio Marconi, from his inaugural exhibition in 1965 up until 1992, when the exhibition space became the Giò Marconi Gallery (where the artist exhibited twice: in 1995 and 1997), then again at the Marconi Foundation, with shows in 2007 and 2009.
The next exhibition season will mark the great artist’s return with an extensive monographic show that traces his work from 1956 to the end of the Nineties. Born in Bologna in 1935, Valerio Adami lives between Paris, his adopted city, Monte Carlo and Lake Maggiore. After his early studies at Felice Carena’s studio, followed by courses with Achille Funi, he graduated from the Accademia di Brera in 1955. His travels have led him to live and work in Europe, the United States, Latin America and India.
Recognised as one of the greatest Italian artists of the postwar period and the recipient of major international awards for painting, Valerio Adami was initially influenced by the expressionist painting of Oskar Kokoschka and Francis Bacon. He also drew on the visual culture of American pop art, experiencing and conceiving painting as a mental tool for transforming the world in order to achieve “an integral representation of our reality”. (Emilio Tadini, 1965).
At first he shared with Matta and Magnelli the destruction of forms and the fundamental relationship between painting and drawing; later, with de Chirico, it was extirpation, a vision both dreamlike and absolute, with elements taken from various eras and an unsettling nostalgia for neoclassicism and myth.
In this way Adami gradually developed his very personal style, where subjects taken from everyday life contrast with harmonious backgrounds of pure colour edged in black and totally devoid of chiaroscuro. Over the years, the wealth of experience, culture and knowledge he gained in the course of his numerous travels, worldwide exhibitions and encounters with international artists and intellectuals, transformed his art into something entirely different from the early days. The fragments of detonated bodies typical of the Sixties were gradually recomposed, and his painting became increasingly filled with solemn, classical figures.
What has remained unchanged, however, is his starting point: drawing. Adami follows a virtuous process, first through the drawing and then the painting, in which associations of ideas, classical myths, references to literature, music and film, and distant memories of personal experience converge. The drawing divides and organises the space; it establishes a hierarchy, a positive and negative, bringing order and structure. Lines and shapes emerge, intersect and unfold as they acquire new identities in an imaginative flow reminiscent of Joyce’s stream of consciousness.
“Without the precious seed of drawings, there’ll be no harvest of paintings (…)”, said Adami, offering us a poetic and eloquent image of his creative process. This “circular path” which exists between drawing and painting in Valerio Adami’s work is to be the focal point of this exhibition of about 70 works, displayed chronologically over four levels: ground floor, basement, and first and second floors.
The exhibition will include paintings dating from the Fifties: “L’asino di Empoli and Ballata popolare” (1956), and works from the Sixties and Seventies: “L’uovo rotto” (1964), “Il miraggio” (1965), “Henry Matisse che lavora a un quaderno di disegni” (1966), “La vetrina” (1969), “L’università di Lipsia al tempo di Nietzsche” (1972), “the triptych Intolerance” (1974) and “Etude pour un dessin d’après Glas” (1976), based on the drawing inspired by a Jacques Derrida text, which over time has become an icon of “deconstruction”.
Among the mature works from the Nineties will be “Marathon” (1990), “L’ora del ballo” (1991), “Amplesso” (1995) and “Fortepiano” (1997), alongside drawings that either precede these or in many cases were executed at a later stage.
The exhibition will also continue at Studio Marconi ’65 with a nucleus of drawings and graphic work.
- Valerio Adami, The broken egg, 1964. Courtesy of Fondazione Marconi
- Valerio Adami, The jodhpurs, 1969. Courtesy of Fondazione Marconi
- Valerio Adami, Ritual, 1972. Courtesy of Fondazione Marconi
- Valerio Adami, Three small paintings (different Places and times) 1995. Courtesy of Fondazione Marconi
- Valerio Adami, The showcase, 1995. Courtesy of Fondazione Marconi