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Woodman, LeWitt, Accardi

14.05 - 30.07.2009

I met Sol in 1972 when I was working for Flash Art. I saw him appear in the doorway on the fourth floor of the building in Viale Piave in Milan where the editorial office was at that time. We had published a rather brutal advertisement for a German gallery against his work and he was angry; angry in a way I have never seen him since, this gentle and calm man, inventor of conceptual art as a working method, as intense as a Bach score, as the Platonic idea.

His first exhibition at the gallery was in 1980, perhaps already a little late in my life but early enough to have time to organize another four exhibitions, the last of which was in 2005 with his “splotches”, colourful computer-generated sculptures.

Carla Accardi arrived at the gallery after Sol, in 1983. She, too, came from faraway, from post-war abstract painting and in those years she was the painter who, with the stubbornness of her work, had worn down the opposition to letting a woman into a man’s world. Three more exhibitions would crown our close friendship based on respect and collaboration, books and constantly evolving exhibitions, from the severe Spanish capricci (whims) to the colourless plastics and the latest colourful canvasses with wide painting of the background.

Finally, this is Betty Woodman’s first exhibition at the gallery along with my other two friends.

Betty, who had been for me the mother of Francesca, I encountered on the road to Antella (Florence) where I had gone on what was almost a pilgrimage to meet the legendary photographer’s parents. These visits, some of which were highly emotional, including those in New York where Betty and George live in the winter months, gradually led me into Betty’s pictorial world which combines the authoritativeness of Matisse with the simplicity of a pioneer of the West; the grace of a gesture to the shrewdness of someone who has experienced joy and pain and knows how to see the bright side of life.

All three artists have a common decorative side; a matching of colours and shapes that has led them to invent structures which were perhaps a little rigid at the start of their career but which have gradually became freer, happier and more fluid as if they had come from the abyss, an inner place where theories settle and the true Self rises up.

A longing to let themselves go at a certain point of a “career” in which the first steps are often highly competitive and then, having reached the peak (or perhaps the plateau), the path continues, winding through meadows coloured by the light of a summer full of promise.