Piero Martina. Percorsi di pittura dagli anni trenta agli anni settanta
texts by Maria Teresa Roberto, Marco Vallora, Sara Abram
format: 21 x 28 cm
date of publication: December 2003
images: 58 col. 60 b/n
The catalogue was published on the occasion of the exhibition held from 12 December 2003 to 1 February 2004, with the contribution of the City of Turin and the Piedmont Region, at the Accademia Albertina delle Belle Arti in Turin.
This volume aims to illustrate some of the most significant moments in Piero Martina’s artistic career, both through images of his works and through the testimony of his autograph writings and critical essays that deepen not only our knowledge of the artist but also his acquaintance with poets, critics and men of letters, which from the early 1930s extended over a period of forty years.
The photographic documentation of Martina’s work is divided into chronological and thematic sections: it opens with an oil on canvas entitled C.so San Maurizio and continues with Interno del Caffè Nazionale, paintings that show the artist’s pictorial exploration of her everyday environment, the Turin of the late 1930s.
Landscapes and figures fuel Piero Martina’s painting, together with the depiction of interiors, including the artist’s studio, which becomes the primary object of her scrutiny, and not merely the backdrop to portraits and compositions: Interno di studio con cappello and Nudo con paravento testify to Martina’s pictorial investigation that sees the studio as the elective place, the idea of an interior space “strongly contrasting with the public space dominated by the rhetoric and propaganda of the regime, marked by more discriminating and aggressive buzzwords day by day.” (Maria Teresa Roberto). To this same first decade (1932-1942) also belong a series of photographs taken by Carlo Mollino in the painter’s studio, in a specular game of cross-references between photography and painting, from which also emerges the portrait of Carlo Mollino, published here for the first time. After the realist season of the early 1950s (in the 1948-1956 chapter in the catalogue), Martina deliberately chose not to limit her painting to the use of canonical materials, but to contaminate it with technical and formal innovations, from oil painting to enamels, acrylics and tempera variously mixed in a desire to suggest form and evoke it with rapid synthetic touches. The last chapter in the catalogue illustrates Martina’s artistic production between 1961 and 1977: from the early 1960s to the last compositions of the following decade, the artist divided her work between oil painting and the practice of collage. The idea of painting conceived by the artist from Turin, of her telling of places, people and facts, is realised through the vibrations, discords and tensions between the colours applied to the canvases. The catalogue closes with a number of drawings that explore and conclude the artist’s research on the nude. The wealth of images in this volume allows us to grasp Piero Martina’s entire creative path, and makes use of a complete biography and bibliography and an in-depth anthology of criticism that includes a rich series of testimonies, among which those of Carlo Levi, Sergio Solmi and Eugenio Montale stand out in particular.