Emilio Vedova Foundation Past | Present
In honour of Germano Celant (1940–2020), we look back at the last exhibition he curated, Emilio Vedova at the Palazzo Reale, Milan (6 December 2019 – 9 February 2020), a major retrospective to mark the centenary of the Italian artist’s birth. The two first worked together on the occasion of Vedova’s 1984 exhibition in Venice, described by Celant as ‘an intense experience which initiated a forthright and sincere conversation about his work which would be extended into a friendship and collaboration over the years that followed, through to his death in 2006.’
In the historical setting of the Palazzo Reale’s Sala delle Cariatidi, which still bears the scars of bombardment during WWII, this exhibition was conceived as a dialogue between two key periods of Vedova’s work: his Plurimi of the 1960s, and the large Tondi and floor-mounted Dischi from the 1980s. The relationships between these works, amplified through the innovative use of mirrors in the space, conjured the ‘clash of situations’ that was so central to Vedova’s vocabulary.
Emilio Vedova’s work, I wrote in 1984, is not easily manageable, and trying to take it in from only one angle risks neutralising it. Instead, accepting it in all its complexity means losing oneself in an archipelago of islands and volcanic atolls, subject to the fluctuations of the tides of time. […] There is nothing monistic about Vedova: he is heterogeneous. He doesn’t proceed in a tame fashion but by friction and collision. He shreds the rules to retie the Gordian knot of painting and painted sculpture. – Germano Celant