In the 1930s,Emilio Vedova began to devote himself to figurative painting and drawing, which convey the emotional urgency that characterizes the artist ’s oeuvre. This is apparent in the oil paintings he produced during the 1930s and 1940s reminiscent of Goya, Daumier, and Rouault.
During the 1940s,he was a member of the “Corrente ” group ,an important core of opposition to the official art of the period. After World War II, he became a leading member of the group of abstract painters opposed to Realism. Vedova is one of the most important representatives of the pictorial movement known as
Informel, which arose during the 1950s in Europe and the United States. After that time, the artist remained faithful to this extreme expressive choice, which represents a radical rejection and transcendence of the idea of a defined image,and even of form itself, if form can be said to denote a statement of fixed identity. His choice also refers to his strong desire to testify to the tension of an individual when faced with an ungovernable unconscious urge and having to live in a society with which he feels at odds.
To be true to these urges, Vedova employed a style of painting based on pure gesture —free of impediments —and pure color —free to express its own significant autonomous power. All Vedova ’s paintings hinge on the constantly fluctuating dialectic between gesture or sign and color, and between different functions of sign and color, seen within the context of the real dialectic of struggle between the artist and his work.This conflictual relationship, apparent in all his work, nevertheless reveals a deeper understanding:of composition, of space and pictorial sign, and of the relationship between color and form.
The work Da dove … ((1984-1)(From Where…– 1984–1), 1984,forms part of a series that the artist created between 1983 and 1984. Form for Vedova is a hypothesis that we see worked out before our eyes. The title “From Where,” in fact, emphasizes an important feature of all the artist ’s work —that it is gesture that sets out to delineate the original hypotheses of form; it touches the origins of language. Each element is granted a momentary appearance, and each work is a sequence of different moments, in which a differentiation of function is already apparent. These functions derive from color and its relationship to gesture. Whites and yellows denote a decidedly luminous component, while red conveys the violent charge that we, even if at an unconscious level, associate with this color. All these factors interact in accordance with an order that, albeit irrational, nevertheless designates a structure. The task of imposing structure is delegated to the color black. The weight and decisiveness of the black brushstrokes order the surface into spatial areas. The viscousness of the black paint appears to stand out in the foreground and to build up a fluctuating structure made up of large oblique signs that seem to be converging on the oval figure located at the top. Yet this relationship or slow movement may also be interpreted in the opposite sense, as a silent deflation of the figure from top to bottom. Vedova’s hypotheses of form never work solely in one direction.
Di umano ’85 – II (Of Human ’85 II),1985,consists of a canvas articulated by an X-shaped structure, organized along the diagonals of the painting. At the center of the canvas, a decisive black brushstroke, loaded with paint, opens up into a whirl of whites and grays that accentuate the semicircular movement animating the work. At the center, an area of burned color and sparse violet brushstrokes amid the blacks and grays indicate the imprint of the bruised and profoundly earthly corporeality of human condition.