AWA’s restorer reflects on the challenges of ‘Astract’ conservation

‘Red and Green’ for Carla Accardi

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Accardi is Italy’s ”Grand Dame” of Abstractionism. Indeed, Accardi (1924-2014) is known for her significant contribution to the acceptance of abstract art throughout the peninsula. In the 1960s, Accardi’s bi-chrome script-like canvases turned transparent and three dimensional. Using Sicofoil, a clear plastic sheeting seen in commercial packaging, she produced myriad tent-like works that were large enough for the viewer to access. Accardi was a dynamic part of the international art scene for nearly 70 years, appearing in countless collective and personal exhibitions in Paris, Moscow, Shanghai and New York. Her works can be found as part of the permanent collection in several Italian museums. Accardi’s Self-portrait, together with others by cutting-edge international women artists such as Vanessa Beecroft and Yayoi Kusama, were added to the Vasari Self-Portrait Collection at Florence’s Uffizi Gallery in 2010.

AWA Sojourners tour Florence’s Twentieth-century Museum

Red and Green, the tempera-on-canvas work she painted in 1966, is a stunning example of how the Sicilian artist returned to using color after a period of focusing on paintings that emulated black and white photography. AWA restored this painting in 2014 and it has since been on show at Florence’s Twentieth-century Museum in Piazza Santa Maria Novella. Restorer Rossella Lari comments on the challenges of the restoration saying, ”Accardi’s colors are not ‘usual’—like her pure hot pink pigment that was applied with a spray nozzle not a brush. Try duplicating that!”