Overview

The exhibition at Thaddaeus Ropac will present previously unexhibited works by Emilio Vedova from a late period in the artist’s career, ranging from the year 1986 up to the realisation of his monumental pentaptych titled Venezia Muore, completed in 1992.

The exhibition at Thaddaeus Ropac will present previously unexhibited works by Emilio Vedova from a late period in the artist’s career, ranging from the year 1986 up to the realisation of his monumental pentaptych titled Venezia Muore, completed in 1992.

A constant experimenter and innovator, Emilio Vedova continually challenged the potential of materials and his mixed media approach was a fundamental part of his practice. Influenced by alchemy and specifically the proximity of the sea, which surrounded Vedova in Venice, his hometown, the works from this late period are characterised by his use of acrylic and nitro paint. The repellent qualities of these two materials allows them to settle with a ghostly materiality on the surface of the canvases, recalling works by Anselm Kiefer, Sigmar Polke or Robert Rauschenberg. The crystalised appearance of his brushstrokes is reminiscent of the delicate crust or flower-like patterns of salt sedimentation, alluding to the sea’s relentless accumulations, destructions and corrosions.

In Venezia Muore, the monumental five-part work that lends the exhibition its title, themes of decomposition and decay play a prevalent role. The work, which Vedova initially envisioned as an installation of boat wrecks found in the swamps around Venice, alludes to the downfall of the Republic during the 18th century. The paintings are likewise informed by Vedova’s personal experiences of destruction during the Second World War and his experiences of working in the devastated city of Berlin during the 1960s. Throughout his practice, Vedova ceaselessly explored ways in which, as an artist, he could respond to political and social challenges, and the works in the exhibition reflect on ideas of decadence and demise.

Exhibited in Salzburg for the first time, the works will be on view from 28 January until 11 March 2023.

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