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ABSTRACT. Women and abstraction in Italy 1930-2000

Como, 18 March 2022. From 19 March to 29 May 2022 the eighteenth-century rooms of Villa Olmo in Como host ABSTRACT.

Women and abstraction in Italy 1930-2000, an exhibition organized by the Municipality of Como and curated by Elena Di Raddo which tells about some long-neglected or forgotten protagonists of Italian abstract art who, thanks to the critical activity carried out in particular in the last twenty years , are returning to the center of attention.

In fact, the history of abstract art, in Italy as in the rest of Europe, is a history substantially al

male, unhinged for the first time in 1980 by the important exhibition The other half

of the avant-garde, curated by Lea Vergine, who for the first time brings to light the women forgotten by the history of Elles font abstraction at the Center Pompidou in Paris and Women in Abstraction at the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao.



ABSTRACT. Women and abstraction in Italy 1930-2000 starts with those same Como artists

then broadening the focus on other protagonists of Italian art from the 1930s

until the beginning of 2000, years in which the investigation of abstraction is divided into groups and trends ranging from geometric, informal abstraction, analytical painting and post-pictorial abstraction.

«Villa Olmo hosts a new high profile exhibition, which will be very special, all at

feminine: these women, these abstractionists who will speak to us through their works,

represent an example of an artistic group that has made an important contribution to

panorama of modern and contemporary.

With "Abstract" the Como artists, such as Carla Prina and Carla Badiali, will be enhanced, extending the scenario to all of Italy.



I express my sincere gratitude to the President of the Culture Commission dr. Francesco Brenna, who must be recognized as having the birthright of the prestigious review, as well as an important contribution in defining the contents ”, declares the mayor of Como Mario Landriscina.

"It is an honor to close my experience as a councilor for culture with a major exhibition organized by the Municipality of Como which focuses on abstractionism and women.

I cannot fail to mention, alongside these great artists and great women, the office that supports me which is largely made up of women, and I thank the offices and citizens for how I was supported in this short term of office ", she declares the councilor for culture Livia Cioffi.

The exhibition itinerary - marked by thematic areas that highlight the different declinations, methods and lines of research in which aniconic art is expressed - starts with the Pioneers: Carla Badiali, Cordelia Cattaneo, Giannina Censi, Bice Lazzari, Regina and Carla Prina, many of which they had a close link with the city of Como, a unique place in Italy for abstract art thanks to the presence and dialogue of painting with rationalist architecture, but also to the presence of the institute of Setificio and to the practice of drawing for fabric, experimental and modern language such as photography, dance, cinema.



In this section a focus is dedicated to Regina's first abstract works, presented in

1936 at the Film Scenography Exhibition set up in Villa Olmo.

In the Sign / Writing section, the works of the early 1950s by Carla Accardi, Irma Blank and Betty Danon define a new way to abstraction, centered on the free flow of forms in the artist's mental space.

Those were years of renewal and rethinking of languages, those of the Milanese abstract and concrete art exhibition held at Palazzo Reale (1947) to which Rome responded with the birth of the Forma Group, which had Accardi as the only female component.

Geometries includes works by Nathalie du Pasquier, Chung Eun-Mo, Fernanda Fedi, Tilde Poli,

Carol Rama and Fausta Squatriti, artists who renew research itself in the name of geometry

of the historical avant-garde by building worlds based on mathematical laws.

The Matter section is dedicated to abstract investigation linked to the exploration of materials: the works of Luisa Albertini, Marion Baruch, Renata Boero, Gabriella Benedini, and Mirella Saluzzo tell

research on pigments, on the materials of traditional sculpture, as well as on more modern ones such as

steel and natural materials.



In Meditation / Concept the works of Mirella Bentivoglio, Alessandra Bonelli, Franca Ghitti, Maria

Lai, Luisa Lambri, Lucia Pescador and Claudia Peill show how they did at the end of the seventies

feels the need to reflect on the legacy of the avant-garde and the consequences of the first ones

experimental forms on modern language; the artists engage in dialogue with the history of art and define new lines of research.

In the Body / Action / Re-Action section the works of Carmengloria Morales and Maria Morganti there

they tell how, following the affirmation of the idea of ​​an open work at the end of the 1960s, even painting experiments with new ways of making it; for some artists a link is created between the physical act of painting and their own body, and the painting becomes the result of an action or a process.

The last part of the Space / Light itinerary is instead the area dedicated to the postwar period, when modernity is one of the most characteristic aspects of the research of abstraction.



Here we find works by Alice Cattaneo, Sonia Costantini, Dadamaino, Paola Di Bello, Elisabetta Di Maggio, Lia Drei, Nataly Maier, Eva Sørensen, Grazia Varisco and Nanda Vigo, which stand out for the use of new materials, such as glass or neon , and, also in painting, for the investigation of the perceptive and participatory dimension of art.

ABSTRACT. Women and abstraction in Italy 1930-2000 has the merit of bringing attention to these

protagonists of Italian art, a small but significant nucleus of the female contribution to

world of contemporary art, in a city that had already seen the birth around it in the 1930s

to the figure of the rationalist architect Giuseppe Terragni a cenacle of artists who, together with the Milan Million group, constituted at the time the only true Italian abstract research center.

The Villa Olmo exhibition will also have an appendix in the Civic Art Gallery, where, in the same period,

will be exhibited a luminous work in frosted glass, mirrors, metal and neon by Nanda Vigo, in

loan from a private collection.



The work will be presented in Campo quadro, a space on the noble floor of the Pinacoteca dedicated to temporary projects.

The Pinacoteca houses and conserves the works of Como's abstract art, including Badiali and Prina, a selection of which will be on display at Villa Olmo, while a nucleus from the museum deposits will be exhibited in the twentieth century museum rooms of the Pinacoteca.

Furthermore, as the curator Elena Di Raddo specifies: "The Villa Olmo exhibition is accompanied by a dedicated site and thanks to a detailed mediation work, it does not end in the exhibition halls, but continues in the territory according to itineraries proposed by an app created for hoc that not only guides the visitor among the works on display, but also allows you to visit the Larian territory by deepening its rationalist architecture ".

The exhibition will be accompanied by a bilingual catalog published by Antiga Edizioni, edited by Elena Di Raddo, with texts and critical essays by Elena Di Raddo, Cristina Casero and Ginevra Addis.




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