A System of Interference Between the Self and the World

Lara Conte, Io dico Io – I say I curator, talks on Carla Accardi's work

By La Galleria Nazionale

Frammenti (1972) by Accardi CarlaLa Galleria Nazionale


Sicilian by origin, Carla Accardi settled in Rome after the war, where in 1947 she was the only woman to sign the Forma 1 (Form 1) manifesto.

Between 1953 and 1954, she laid the foundations for her new sign painting which began in the so-called black and white period.

The sudden and quickened sign aggregates and expands like a breath on the pictorial page, radiating energy towards the corners of the canvas. It thickens and fades in images carried away as in an endless dance.


Around 1960 Carla Accardi introduced colour to her painting and experimented with a new spatial dimension of the sign, adding plots and textures, where the sign flows on the canvas eliciting unprecedented optical reactions.

This research was further radicalised halfway through the decade, when Accardi abandoned the support of the canvas and directed her experiments beyond the picture and painting, through the use of Sicofoil, a plastic material that reacts to environmental light and provides the picture with the dimensions of a bright diaphragm.

Sicofoil was also used to create Rotoli, Coni and Tenda (Rolls, Cones and the Tent), where the plastic form becomes a space spectators can enter and inhabit.


In the work Frammenti (Fragments) a particular dialectic is established between the geometric score, made up of the rough frame on which the Sicofoil, the sign and transparency are mounted.

“I use plastic like something luminous, a mixing and a fluidity with the surrounding environment: perhaps in order to take away the totemic value of the painting”, explained Carla Accardi.

Plastic allows us to correlate the inside to the outside, the work and the environment, creating a “system of interferences” between the self and the world that leads the artist to do what she, in a conversation with Carla Lonzi, defines “an operation of authenticity”.


An authenticity that grants the work a unique phenomenology understood as research which does not linger on a formal level but charts new territory of subjective experimentation and female self-determination.


The group Rivolta femminile (Female Revolt), one of the first Italian feminist groups, and founded in 1970, emerged from the intense partnership between Carla Accardi and Carla Lonzi, and therefore between two figures deeply linked to the world of art.

Lonzi herself in her diary recalls that: “Rivolta Femminile was born precisely from two people, (Carla) and I, who questioned male subjectivity precisely because we ourselves had posed as subjects: (Carla) as an artist, I as the awareness of a 'different' identity".

Credits: Story

Voice message by Lara Conte

Credits: All media
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