VALERIO ADAMI (Italian, born in 1935 - ), Metamorfosi [Metamorphosis], 1982, acrylic on canvas, 76 1/2 x 95 3/4 inches. Courtesy of Fondo Adami, Fondazione Europea del Disegno.
Mexican writer and Nobel Prize Laureate Octavio Paz writes about artist Valerio Adami in The Narrative Line, an essay included in the exhibition catalogue for the Boca Raton Museum of Art’s retrospective of Valerio Adami. Looking at Adami’s work as an exercise in line, narrative and color, Paz uses these 3 elements to help the reader better understand Adami’s paintings. Space is created through color, a story is created through the inclusion of text, and the line can teach us about time.
For instance, about space and color, Paz writes, “For Adami, colour cannot be separated from space. And so space is born out of his drawing. An unfelt transformation of the line, creator of spaces, into great blocks of colour.”
In terms of text in Adami’s artwork, Paz writes, “As an intelligent artist, Adami also writes. That is nothing unusual: writing is another art born out of silence. Naturally, he is not a professional writer; he writes on the margins of his painting, as a comment, or, more exactly, as an accompaniment…his notes are not an answer; but a way of approaching these paintings and hearing their question more clearly.”
Towards the end of his essay, Paz addresses line in Adami’s work, “Whether a poem, or a novel, whether a play or a review, every text is a succession of words; whereas the line is a succession of points, or rather, a succession of bridges between one point and the other. Time is linear, and, as it turns out, people have invented nothing better than a line for representing time. The forms drawn by Adami, with his unique, rapid and secure, free and elegant movement of his hand, are closed forms. Or, more exactly, forms closed in themselves. They talk among themselves and provoke within me an indefinable unease.”
If you enjoyed his prose, check out Octavio Paz’s 1990 Nobel Prize speech.
Paz’s entry is one of many in the catalogue in praise of Adami’s use of line, color, and text to create intense canvases that stimulate both the mind and the eye. Other eminent writers included in the catalogue are: critic Dore Ashton, journalist Italo Calvino, essayist Carlos Fuentes, poet Alain Jouffroy, and academician Antonio Tabucchi. It is truly one of the Boca Raton Museum of Art’s most prolific compilations of writing.
Valerio Adami catalogues are available online or in the museum store for $39.95.