Carla Accardi was one of the most prominent female figures of the Italian 20th century. Feminist and abstractionist, Accardi choose to work on forms that are difficult to decipher, in order to break down prejudices such as the association of woman and delicacy, painting and compositional beauty. Hers is a painting studded with linguistic comparisons, through the balancing of a rigorous composition and the emotional intensity unleashed by colour. That expresses itself with courage and experimentation, in a historical period in which the instances of painting are almost a male domain. Born in 1924 in Trapani, Italy, she studied at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Florence, before moving to Rome in 1946. While in the Italian capital, she met the group of artists with which she would found Forma I, including Pietro Consagra and her future husband Antonio Sanfilippo. The group’s primary interest was in aligning their Marxist political beliefs with a formalist approach to abstraction. In the decades that followed, Accardi participated in a number of exhibitions and became an important influence on the development of Arte Povera during the mid-1970s. She died on February 23, 2014, in Rome, Italy.
“Rise to the challenge […]. Earlier we mentioned the coexistence of the anthropological and the abstract worlds. Something similar is true also of the support: certain paintings are not painted in their entirety while others are saturated with colour all over. Likewise, the sign is at times freer, less controlled, at others more clearly delineated in its form. Besides, my painting cannot come to a halt on a given problem, presenting it and defining it once and for all. I like to circle around the problem, observing the different and possible solutions to it; I like to be coherent but at the same time to be able to change.” Carla Accardi in a conversation with Walter Gudagnini, 1989.