At 87, Valerio Adami is unveiling a new series of introspective and poignant canvases at Templon, the result of over two years of work. The exhibition plunges visitors into the artist's striking universe, a world of vivid colours, yet more thoughtful than ever, haunted by the artist-philosopher’s elegant hand-writing.
Although long associated with Narrative Figuration, here Valerio Adami evokes the neo-classical drawing tradition, returning to his roots when he studied at the Accademia di belle arti di Brera a Milano. He created most of the dozen previously unseen new works in his Montmartre studio. They feature complex compositions where his famous wavy black line encircles and dissects each shape as the nomadic artist continues to explore his favourite themes: travel, music, literature and theatre. While some pieces have autobiographical touches or suggest vignettes from daily life, others pay explicit tribute to figures he admires, such as a work dedicated to the great poet Walt Whitman and another to Shakespeare's Hamlet.
Now more than ever, Valerio Adami defines his practices as a "philosophical questioning of the verb." Enigmatic and accomplished, his painting defies the laws of perspective by multiplying planes and vanishing lines. The bright, unusual colours contrast with the apparent melancholy of the characters who populate his work. The painter seeks to use these distortions to give rise to new meanings. As he explains: "Therein lies the mystery and magic of painting: the creation of a myth, of this conflict between the temporal and the timeless."
Born in 1935 in Bologna (Italy), Valerio Adami lives in Paris and Meina (Italy). He began exhibiting his work internationally in 1958, including at Documenta III in Germany (1964), the Jewish Museum in New York (1968), Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (1970), Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris (1985) and Tel Aviv Museum in Israel (1996). He took part in the major exhibition on Narrative Figuration at the Grand Palais in Paris in 2008 and exhibited at the Boca Raton Museum of Art in Florida in 2010. A major retrospective of his work was held in 2015 to mark his 80th birthday, travelling from Turin to Mantua then Perpignan. 2016 saw the Vienna Secession exhibit his early drawings, his oils on canvas on show at the Chapelle Saint-Sauveur in Saint-Malo, and the Transfigurations exhibition at the Musée de l’Hospice de Saint Roch in Issoudun. The Musée Jean Cocteau in Menton held a major retrospective of his work in 2018.
Valerio Adami's work also features in numerous museum collections in Europe and the United States, including at the Musée National d’Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Fonds National d’Art Contemporain, Paris; Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Paris; Fondation Maeght, Saint-Paul-de-Vence; Musée des Beaux-Arts, Brussels; Rotterdam Museum, Rotterdam; Amos Anderson Art Museum, Helsinki; Museo d’Arte Moderna, Rome; Frissiras Museum, Athens; Fondaccion Miro, Barcelona; Museu Coleção Berardo, Lisbon; Museum of Modern Art, Minneapolis; Museum of Modern Art, Pittsburg, and Museum of Art, Tel Aviv.