‘For me, art and life run parallel to each other. On one hand, I made art mythical. On the other, I wanted to understand what lay behind it and I wanted for people not to feel stuck in front of a work. I found that to be too automatic a position. I wanted the audience to be shaken, to love art while discovering that life lies behind it. I understood that life could be combined with art, as had already been done in the past.’ (C. Accardi quoted in H.U. Obrist, ‘Dig Deep’, in Flash Art, no. 260, May-June 2008).
Executed in 1962, Carla Accardi presents a symphony of blues and purples in Integrazione blu viola azzurro. This work exemplifies a period in the artist’s oeuvre when she began to focus on saturated blue fields, interrupted by an abstract yet ordered calligraphy of forms. Accardi has divided her canvas into two sections: in the upper half we see a powerful violet covered in abstract blue shapes, and in the lower section she has used a softer, lilac paint which is still covered in the same blue forms. This use of the same blue pigment upon the two different hues of purple almost acts like an optical illusion as the blue takes on a different quality in each section, demonstrating Accardi’s strong grasp of the enthralling effects of colour combining.
Delighting in the qualities of paint whilst her contemporaries in Italy were embracing more humble materials which resulted in the Arte Povera movement, through her canvases she made significant contributions to the development of abstract art in Italy. In 1947, Accardi became a founding member of Forma 1, a group of artists from Rome who defined themselves as both Marxist and formalist, and participated in the post-war figuration/non-figuration debate. It was Accardi who leaned most heavily towards abstraction in her work, and this has developed throughout her oeuvre as she explored the egalitarian quality of non-figurative forms. Her early works consisted of interlocking, geometric forms in black and white, before she began to adopt colour and more fluid shapes, as seen in the present work. Integrazione blu viola azzurro is from a later period when she began to focus on colour, such as the blues and purples shown here to attempt to find a connection between art and life, using chromatic nuances to lure the viewer towards her canvas. Bold, bright and enticing, the present work is an explosion of joy and colour, as Accardi channelled her extensive artistic energies into a harmonious rumination on the power of colourful organic forms.