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Vedova / Tintoretto in Venice

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Robert C. Morgan reviews an exhibition of paintings by Emilio Vedova hung amid paintings by Tintoretto at the Scuola Grande di San Rocco, Venice.

Morgan writes: "Vedova Tintoretto is an attempt to reveal the origins of the Venetian Modernist’s approach to abstract painting. Whereas Americans might categorize Vedova in the context of Abstract Expressionism, Celant establishes a more complex point of reference. The setting of this intervention of Vedova’s paintings extends over two floors of the Scuola Grande,where the monumental cycle of wall-size murals by Tintoretto, depicting the Passion of Christ have hung ever since they were painted. On the first floor, suspended on wires in mid-air between the Tintorettos, were eight large abstract works by Vedova, painted in 1985. Hung back-to-back and spaced equidistantly in four groups these magnificent canvases not only reorient the meaning of the Passion but also reveal and revitalize the metaphorical potential of abstract art… As the installation on the first floor makes clear the religious content that Vedova gleaned from Tintoretto was less the point than the validity of abstract painting as a vehicle to incite energy through a structural metaphor. This suggests that whether painting is figurative or abstract, it can have content. Moreover, there can be strong affinities between a Renaissance painter and a Modernist despite the absence of shared subject matter."

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