Trapani, 1924 – Rome, 2014
Carla Accardi was born in Trapani on the 9th of October 1924. She went to the Academy of Fine Arts in Palermo, where in 1944 she met Antonio Sanfilippo. In 1946, she left the Academy of Fine Arts in Florence to move to Rome with Sanfilippo. In Pietro Consagra’s studio in Rome, she met Ugo Attardi, Piero Dorazio, Mino Guerrini, Achille Perilli and Giulio Turcato. It was with them and with Sanfilippo that in 1947 she signed the manifesto of the “Forma 1” magazine. In the same year she produced her first abstract painting. In 1948 during the 24th Venice Biennale she exhibited Composizione. She also took part in the exhibition “Arte Astratta in Italia” at the Galleria di Roma and exhibited with Sanfilippo and Attardi at the Art Club of Rome. In 1949 she married Sanfilippo.
In 1950 she exhibited in personal shows at the Galleria Numero in Florence and at the Galleria Age d’or in Rome, introduced by Turcato. At the beginning of the Fifties she took part in the exhibition “Arte astratta e concreta in Italia” (1951) held at the National Gallery of Modern Art in Rome and again at “Arte d’Oggi” in Florence at the Palazzo Strozzi. In 1952 in Rome, she presented her work in a personal exhibition at the Galleria Il Pincio, then in July, with Sanfilippo, at the Galleria del Cavallino in Venice. The same year, she exhibited at the Fondazione Origine in Rome. In 1954 Accardi met Michel Tapié who encouraged her to exhibit in Paris, in 1955 at the Galerie Rive Droite and in 1956 at the Galerie Stadler.
In Rome, she took part in the inaugural exhibition of the Rome-New York Art Foundation and in 1958 the Galleria La Salita in Rome dedicated a solo show to her. In the same year, she participated in “International Art of a New Era (Informal and Gutai)” at the Osaka International Festival and in Lausanne she had a solo exhibition at the L’Entracte Gallery. Her exhibition “Dipinti e tempere di Carla Accardi” at the Notizie Gallery in Turin took place in 1959, the same year she also participated in the “Painters of Rome” show at the New Vision Centre in London. Her exhibition activity intensifies: with two solo exhibitions held in London at the New Vision Centre and in New York at the Parma Gallery, and several group exhibitions, in Italy and abroad, including the exhibition at the Galleria Notizie, and “Eight Contemporary Artists of Rome” at the Minneapolis Institute of Art.
At the Venice Biennale, in the 32nd edition of 1964, Accardi won the Mario Carena Prize. At the Quadrennial of Rome she displays for the first time her cylinders painted on sicofoil. The following year she presented the Tenda (tent) environment in sicofoil at the Notizie Gallery in Turin. Accardi is present in several group shows abroad – at the Universale of Montreal and at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Tokyo, for the “Exhibition of Contemporary Italian Art”.
She unveils Ambiente arancio (orange environment) on the occasion of her solo exhibition in 1968 at the Marlborough Gallery in Rome. La Tenda, on the other hand, is present in the group exhibition “Recent Italian Painting and Sculpture”, organised at the Jewish Museum of New York in collaboration with the Italian Cultural Institute. Triplice tenda is exhibited in 1971 in Rome, in a solo show at Galleria Editalia. In 1976, Accardi presents Origine on the premises of the feminist cooperative in Via Beato Angelico in Rome. In the same year, Tenda was exhibited at the 37th Venice Biennale. She continued to exhibit in numerous group exhibitions, including “L’altra metà dell’avanguardia 1910-1940”, under the direction of Lea Vergine, held at the Palazzo Reale in Milan in 1980.
At the beginning of the 1980s, Accardi created the Parentesi series through which she returned to the use of the raw canvas. She chose to present these for the first time in 1982 in Rome, in the collective exhibition “Avanguardia Transavanguardia” curated by Bonito Oliva. In 1983 she exhibited at the Pinacoteca di Ravenna and at the Padiglione d’Arte Contemporanea in Milan, while in 1988 she was once again invited to take part in the Venice Biennale, displaying large diptychs and triptychs in a personal room in the Italian pavilion. In 1989 she was present at the prestigious exhibition “Italian Art in the 20th Century” at the Royal Academy of Arts in London and at the Salvatore Ala Gallery in New York. In the same year, a major retrospective opened at the Galleria Civica in Modena.
At the beginning of the 1990s, Accardi was invited to show her work in many solo exhibitions in Italy and abroad – at the Frankfurter Westend Gallery, Galleria Toselli in Milan and the Civic Museum of Gibellina among others – followed by important group exhibitions such as “Un’avventura Internazionale. Torino e le arti 1950-1970” at the Museo d’Arte Contemporanea del Castello di Rivoli. She is again present at the Venice Biennale invited by Achille Bonito Oliva. A major retrospective opened in 1994 in the historical rooms of the Museo d’Arte Contemporanea del Castello di Rivoli. She also took part in the exhibition organised by Celant “The Italian Metamorphosis 1943-1968”, inaugurated at the Solomon R. Guggenheim in New York. In 1998, her hometown dedicated her first retrospective to her.
In 2001, a solo exhibition was opened at the P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center in New York. In 2002 a major retrospective was inaugurated at the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris and in 2004, another retrospective was inaugurated in Rome at the MACRO. In 2005, Triplice tenda entered the collections of the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris. In 2006 at the Sperone Westwater Gallery in New York her works were compared with those of Lucio Fontana.
After taking part in the third Prague Biennial in 2007, the work Superficie in ceramica, conceived with sound design by Gianna Nannini, is presented for the first time in Milan. In Rome, for the Fondazione Volume! she designed an installation entitled Segni e forme (Signs and Forms), which was displayed again in Ljubljana at gallery P74.
From 2008 to 2010, the work Superficie in ceramica is the protagonist of several solo exhibitions in Italy and abroad: Rome, Moscow, Lima, Buenos Aires and Cordoba. In 2010, the Haunch of Venison Gallery in New York hosted an important solo exhibition dedicated to the artist. Meanwhile, in Rome, at the Carlo Bilotti Museum, she inaugurates the retrospective “Spazio Ritmo Colore”. In 2011 the Fondazione Puglisi in Catania “Carla Accardi. Sign and Transparency” and the year after the exhibition “Carla Accardi. Smarrire i fili della voce” (Carla Accardi. Losing the threads of the voice) begins at the Menegaz Foundation in Castelbasso (Teramo) and continues in Budapest, Athens and Thessaloniki.
The artist died in Rome on the 23rd of February 2014.
In recent years there has been a succession of group and solo exhibitions, such as the collective “Women House” at the Monnaie de Paris in 2017 and the solo “Carla Accardi – Contesti” at the Museo del Novecento in Milan in 2020-2021 and the collective ‘‘Elles font l’abstraction’’ at the Centre Pompidou in 2021.
© ACCARDI CARLA, by SIAE 2023
Carla Accardi and Dadamaino: Between Sign and Transparency
exhibition catalogue edited by Forma Edizioni and Tornabuoni Art Paris. Texts by Valérie Da Costa, Margit Rowell, Jean-Pierre Criqui, Elizabeth de Bertier. B/w and colored illustrations, 220 pages, 9,4×11,8 in, French/English, 2021.
Boom. Art and Industry in 1960s Italy
exhibition catalogue edited by Tornabuoni Art London and Flavia Frigeri. Texts by Flavia Frigeri and Ursula Casamonti. B/w and colored illustrations, 92 pages, 11×8,2 in, English, 2018.