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Emilio Vedova, Biafra


EMILIO VEDOVA (Venice 1919 - 2006) BIAFRA
Multiple lithograph (Litografia Plurima), late sixties. Numbered and signed 13/70 Vedova. 500 x 707 mm; minor defects at sides, generally in good condition.
The Litografie Plurime (multiple lithographs) were the transposition in printmaking of the Plurimi Vedova began producing in the early sixties: freestanding painted sculpture-paintings made of wood and metal. The Litografie Plurime, printed on both sides of the sheet and folded in the manner of oriental screens, could stand alone and be viewed comfortably from both sides.

Essentially a self-taught artist, Vedova joined the Milanese anti-Fascist artists’ association Corrente (1938–43), which also included Renato Birolli, Renato Guttuso, Ennio Morlotti, and Umberto Vittorini, around 1942. He participated in the resistance movement from 1943 to 1945. In 1946 in Milan he collaborated with Morlotti on the manifesto Oltre Guernica and was a founding member of the Fronte Nuovo delle Arti (1946–50), in Venice. He described his paintings of this period as Geometrie nere (Black geometries). In 1952 he participated in the Gruppo degli Otto Pittori Italiani (1952–54), organized by Lionello Venturi, and exhibited at the Venice Biennale. Vedova was the Italian representative at the first Documenta, Kassel, in 1955 (again exhibiting in 1964) and won a Guggenheim International Award in 1956. He executed his first lithographs in 1958. In 1959 he exhibited his large L-shaped canvases, a cycle of work called Collision of Situations in an environment created by Carlo Scarpa for Vitalità nell’arte (Vitality in art), which opened at the Palazzo Grassi, Venice. This led to the first Multiples (Plurimi, 1961–65): freestanding, hinged, and painted sculpture-paintings made of wood and metal. Vedova was awarded the Grand Prize for painting at the 1960 Venice Biennale, the year in which he created moving light sets and costumes for Luigi Nono’s opera Intolleranza ’60. Vedova worked at the Deutsche Akademischer Austausch Dienst, Berlin (1963–65); Internationale Sommerakademie, Salzburg, Austria (1965–69, 1988); and Accademia di belle arti, Venice (1975–86). After the late 1970s, he experimented with a variety of techniques and formats such as the mobile works on steel rails (Binary-Multiples [Plurimi-Binari]), monotypes, double-sided circular panels , and large-scale glass engraving. In 1995 he began a new series of multifaceted and manipulable painted objects called Disk-Multiple (Disco-Plurimo). In 2005 he created a new group of monotypes, which was exhibited at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice, the following year. In the last ten years of his life, Vedova’s contributions to art were recognized with numerous solo exhibitions as well as distinguished prizes, including the title of Cavaliere di Gran Croce della Repubblica Italiana (1996) and the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at the Venice Biennale (1997). Vedova continued to actively experiment in painting and printmaking until he died.


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