Valerio Adami

1935 (Italie)

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Valerio Adami is an Italian painter born on March 17, 1935. He trained at the Academy di Brera in Milan before leaving to work in London and Paris. His art is strongly influenced by Pop Art.

Adami was born in Bologna. In 1945, at the age of ten, he began to study painting under Felice Carena. He was admitted to the Academy of Brera in 1951 and studied drawing there until 1954 in the studio of Achille Funi. In 1955 he went to Paris, where he met and was influenced by Roberto Matta and Wifredo Lam. His first solo exhibition took place in 1959 in Milan.

Early in his career, Adami’s work was expressionistic, but by his second exhibition in 1964 in Kassel, he had developed a style of painting reminiscent of French Cloisonnism, with areas of flat color bordered by black lines. Unlike Gauguin, however, Adami’s subjects are highly stylized and often presented in fragments, as in Telescoping Rooms (1965).

In the 1970s, Adami began to address politics in his art and incorporated subjects such as history, literature, philosophy and mythology of modern Europe. In 1971, he created with his brother Gioncarlo the film Holiday in the Desert. In 1974, he illustrated a poem by Helmut Heissenbuttel, Occasional Poem No. 27. Ten lessons on the Reich with ten original lithographs {Galerie Maeght}. In 1975, philosopher Jacques Derrida devoted a long essay, “+R: Into the Bargain,” to Adami’s work, using an exhibition of Adami’s drawings as a pretext to discuss the function of “the letter and the proper name in painting,” with reference to “narrative, technical reproduction, ideology, the phoneme, the biographer, and politics.”

Four retrospective exhibitions of Adami’s work took place between 1985 and 1998. They were held in Paris, at the Julio Gonzalez Center in Valencia (Spain), in Tel Aviv and in Buenos Aires. In 2010, the Boca Raton Museum of Art devoted a special exhibition to Adami’s paintings and drawings.