My Weapon Against the Atom Bomb is a Blade of Grass. Tancredi. A Retrospective

My Weapon Against the Atom Bomb is a Blade of Grass. Tancredi. A Retrospective_001Image courtesy of Peggy Guggenheim Collection

My Weapon Against the Atom Bomb is a Blade of Grass. Tancredi. A Retrospective
Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice
From 12 November 2016 to 13 March 2017

 

From 12 November 2016 to 13 March 2017 the Peggy Guggenheim Collection presents the exhibition My Weapon Against the Atom Bomb is a Blade of Grass. Tancredi. A Retrospective. With over ninety works, this much-awaited retrospective marks the return to Venice of Tancredi Parmeggiani, among the most original and prolific Italian painters of the second half of the twentieth century.

 

My Weapon Against the Atom Bomb is a Blade of Grass. Tancredi. A Retrospective_002Image courtesy of Peggy Guggenheim Collection

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Tancredi was the only artist, after Jackson Pollock, whom Peggy Guggenheim placed under contract, promoting his work, making it known to museums and collectors in the USA, and organizing shows, including one in her own home, Palazzo Venier dei Leoni, in 1954. More than sixty years later, Tancredi returns to the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, his reputation now beyond question, with remarkable paintings that re-create, step by step in intimate galleries, between creative fury and lyrical expressionism, the brief but meteoric trajectory of this great postwar painter.

 

My Weapon Against the Atom Bomb is a Blade of Grass. Tancredi. A Retrospective_003Image courtesy of Peggy Guggenheim Collection

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Beginning with rare youthful portraits and self-portraits, and with Tancredi’s first experiments with paintings on paper in 1950-51, the famous Springtimes, the exhibition narrative moves on to document Tancredi in the early 50s, a period marked by the crucial encounter with Peggy Guggenheim, to whom he became a protégé, and who gave him studio space in Palazzo Venier dei Leoni. Thanks to his special relationship with Guggenheim, Tancredi’s art became internationally known, such that he acquired fame at an early age. This was the period in which Tancredi matured a personal style, micro-spaziale and polychrome, defined by some critics as “molecular”. This involved a distinctive fragmentation of the pictorial mark, a fundamental component of draftsmanship in his works on paper and canvas, and a luminous palette.

 

My Weapon Against the Atom Bomb is a Blade of Grass. Tancredi. A Retrospective_004Image courtesy of Peggy Guggenheim Collection

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In 1952, though remaining independent, Tancredi signed the manifesto of the Movimento Spaziale together with Lucio Fontana. Following a journey to Norway in 1960, his love for northern painting and for the grotesque was enriched by the fiery colors and psychological drama of Edvard Munch, and by the new figuration and almost revolutionary irony that he shared with his friends of the Anti-procès art movement. This was a period of crisis, and of a complete revision of his approach to painting, into which he now injected existential and political meaning. This is the vein of polemic tension that gave rise to the epigram in the title of this exhibition, My weapon against the atom bomb is a blade of grassTancredi’s response to the world conflicts of the time, from Vietnam, to the war in Algeria, and the Cold War between the USA and the Soviet Union.

 

My Weapon Against the Atom Bomb is a Blade of Grass. Tancredi. A Retrospective_005Image courtesy of Peggy Guggenheim Collection

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Immersing himself in the climate of the new painting of the 60s, yet in open polemic with it, Tancredi created anti-heroic pictures, drenched in paint that becomes now color patch, now image allusive to war and current affairs, or huge flowers. These works mark the end of his extraordinary, brilliant and unruly career, dedicated to nature and to man. They are paintings which prelude the last year of the life of a painter who was among the most original and singular personalities in Italian art of the twentieth century.

 

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