The first retrospective of Beppe Devalle, hosted at the Mart from 16 October 2015 to 14 February 2016, presents a protagonist of our times, a great master of Italian painting.
A few years after his death, the Mart dedicates an important retrospective to Beppe Devalle (Turin, 1940 – Milan, 2013), painter and lecturer at the Accademia Albertina of Turin, and then at the Accademia di Brera in Milan.
The exhibition is a shared project curated by a prestigious scientific committee comprising scholars who knew, frequented or worked with Devalle: Carlo Bertelli, Paolo Biscottini, Barbara Cinelli, Flavio Fergonzi,Daniela Ferrari, Maria Mimita Lamberti, Sandra Pinto, Giovanni Romano, Alessandro Taiana, Dario Trento.The group work has been supported with the precious coordination of Maria Teresa and Jolanda Devalle, respectively they artist’s wife and daughter, who were the first to work towards the realisation of this important exhibition.
One of the major figures in Italian contemporary art, Beppe Devalle looked closely at the history of art in search of a new communicative force. An acute connoisseur of the ‘grammar’ of colour and composition, he displayed his knowledge in large paintings created using the purist pictorial technique combined with numerous possibilities of combinations which, according to the period, saw the use of colour, collage, overlaps or framing typical of photography, with bold crops and distortions.
Convinced that art was a trade and as such could be learned and taught, despite his numerous international participations – including three presences at the Venice Biennale – exhibitions in museums and galleries, and a number of awards, Devalle defended his way of thinking and his time from public formalities. From this stance derive a strong stylistic autonomy and a distance from the field’s conventions and from non-indispensable comparisons.
Through paintings, collages, large-format works, photo-montages, environments and, above all, his portraits, fascinated by the stars of entertainment and the exponents of politics and information, Devalle observed the irresistible and seductive characteristics of contemporary society. With a deep knowledge of advertising forms and the rules of communication, he interpreted current society, stressing its contradictions. What emerges are intense psychological portraits in which arises an analysis of reality as pop as it is profound, composed of stages and backstages.
In his narrative, he added personal details, private anecdotes and a technique influenced by his close acquaintance with the pictorial tradition. Beppe Devalle’s style was cultured, comprehensive, studied, and its principal characteristic was its absolute expressive freedom.
At the Mart from 16 October, the comprehensive anthological exhibition containing 75 works, will for the first time since his recent death, explore the entire creative development of the artist, including his most recent production (2008-2012), little of which has been shown before in public.