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Tate acquires Carla Accardi

Updated: Jul 14

A work by Post-War Italian Abstract artist Carla Accardi (1924-2014) has entered the Tate Collection. It was purchased this year with funds provided by the European Collection Circle.

The acquired piece is titled Big Blue and dates back to 1974. It is made of Sicofoil, a transparent cellulose acetate the artist started experimenting with in 1965.

The industrial plastic material replaced the traditional canvas support.

By using alkyd paint with Sicofoil, Carla Accardi was able to create various optical effects and plastic volumes such as rolls, cones, and walk-in pavilions.

Interviewed by Hans Ulrich Obrist in 2016, she recalled: "The transition took place while working with fluorescent colour: through the use of colour, I produced light, and so I thought: Why not produce light with a material? I found sicofoil, a clear and bright material. Other artists moved on to neon."

Carla Accardi, Big Blue 1974

© Antonella Sanfilippo / Estate of Carla Accardi

Big Blue is the second Accardi’s Sicofoil to enter a Museum Collection recently. In 2022, the National Gallery of Art in Washington acquired Rossorosa, a work from 1966.

The National Gallery of Art reports that “Rossarosa speaks to the history of 20th-century Italian Art and critical discourse. The wavelike shapes establish a symmetrical pattern reminiscent of the dynamic, repeated forms of Italian futurist artist Giacomo Balla (1871–1958). Like the works of such contemporaries as Lucio Fontana (1899–1968) and Piero Manzoni (1933–1963), Rossorosa disrupts the homogenous surface of oil on canvas of conventional painting, challenging the definition of what a painting is.”

Carla Accardi, Rossorosa 1966

© National Gallery of Art, Washington

A significant exhibition survey on Carla Accardi, featuring works from Archivio Accardi Sanfilippo and distinguished international public and private collections, is currently on view at Palazzo delle Esposizioni in Rome until September 1, 2024, curated by Daniela Lancioni and Paola Bonani.


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