Writing about the warehouses, and especially the area of the Salute in Venice, means revisiting many of the places which influenced and marked the stages in Vedova’s life. He deeply loved this part of Venice. From a very early age he was incurably attracted to the area so close in spirit to his own vitality and his mobile, “syncopated” gaze. We may even be able to find some bricks or stones bearing signs of his drawings – traces tuned to worlds of “clashes” and “compresences”. The asymmetric diagonal plan of the Salute looks like a “fragment”. The point is like a wedge thrust into the water, welcoming the flow of relations and exchanges with the world, barges and boats, cargoes of salt and dockhands of an impoverished lost Venice. All this fuelled Vedova’s extraordinary need to record the wounded suffering breath of humankind through the extraordinarily powerful sublimation of uniquely Venetian light and materials that are like ancient cells which have survived the tumultuous force of time. This was the area of his large Venetian studios: the studio in the Fondamenta Bragadin was a place of memorable meetings and clashes in the Venetian and Italian cultural renewal of the immediate post-war period; the studio in the Magazzini, which he later helped save from the mindless decision to demolish the building to make room for a swimming pool; the studio in the Church of San Gregorio where he experimented with models for the remarkable work which became Spazio/Plurimo/Luce, shown at the Montreal Expo 1967; and his last, much loved studio in the former gondolier boatyard. Here, for over 50 years, he lived in the house that once belonged to Arturo Martini, perched above his studios and reached by going up that celebrated Piranesi-like labyrinth of rickety stairs. Here he taught in the Accademia in which his powerful, generous words pronounced in continuous close dialogue continue to resound.
by Fabrizio Gazzarri