Vinicio Berti (Florence 1921–1991) was one of the major exponents of Italian abstractism of the second half of the twentieth century. After technical-industrial and artistic studies, at the end of the thirties he started working in the publishing sphere (illustrations, comic strips, cinema and advertising posters). He made his artistic debut in the early forties with works of a realist-expressionist character which, in their closeness to the world of the people and the dramatic reality of the war, represented a categorical break with the Florentine painting tradition, especially that of the post-Rosai. Berti was among the protagonists of the “Arte d’Oggi” movement, which for several years brought together the most important Italian and foreign artists in a common, innovative research.
From the second half of 1947, with paintings such as Composizione verticale and Simbolo, he succeeded in mapping out the initial concepts of a painting which was already beyond the pioneering limits of early Abstractism, of Suprematism, of Constructivism and of Concretism. It achieved what he himself called “painting of a new classicism”, as opposed to all the classicising traditions which were still present in contemporary art. The “Classical Abstractism” group emerged, founded along with Brunetti, Monnini, Nativi and Nuti, who signed the Manifesto of the same in 1950.
The period from 1950 to 1991 was marked by a continuous progress through new cycles, elaborated in complete independence, while entirely coherent with the aesthetic and ethical ideals which had characterised Classical Abstractism, and by Berti himself not incidentally defined as an “expansion” of the same: Composizioni cosmiche and Racconti (early 1950s), Cittadelle ostili and Brecce nel tempo (from1955 on), Avventurosi astrali (1960), Emblemi (1960s and 70s), Antagonisti (1970s), finally Costruzioni (1980s) and Guardare in alto (1980s).
(...) His work on comics – always cultivated in parallel with the painting – was for Berti much more than a simple exercise, and it continued throughout his life, offering him no small number of hints which were then used in the paintings. For example, his taste for using big letters, symbols and signs which seem designed to clarify the sense of movement and of the clashes taking place between the forces, the colours and the signs. AH, H, that world of hydrogen which man seems increasingly incapable of controlling. A scream, in short, an invocation and a threat more ancient, more primitive and more essential than the word. It was moreover with a similar scream that Munch ushered in the twentieth century. (Martina Corgnati)