Valerio Adami was born on March 17, 1935 in Bologna, Italy. He studied at the Brera Academy in Milan (1951-1954) and studied drawing until 1954 in the studio of Achille Funi. In 1955, he left for Paris, where he met Roberto Matta and Wifredo Lam. His first solo exhibition took place in 1958. He found his own style in a narrative figuration. He lives and works in Paris and in Italy.
Valerio Adami is inspired by photographs, documents cut from newspapers; he builds and reconstructs a pictorial world where “awareness” translates into a psychoanalytic reading. He “searches all these Freudian and […] free associations, which precede form”. In his paintings, black lines divide, encircle fields of flat, solid colors, sometimes almost fluorescent, sometimes pastel. He fragments volumes with great precision. The drawing divides the image into geometric surfaces. He develops a psychological pictorial style characterized by the elaborate drawing, which color has the function of diverting, modifying or amplifying. His works are distinguished by the saturation of colored surfaces where no white remains, no trace of doubt or incompletion.
From the end of the sixties, he mainly worked on portraits, ironic or poetic tributes, of artists or writers who fill his universe with references: “Representing an idea is an ideal”. During the 1970s, Valerio Adami established himself as one of the most emblematic representatives of the New Figuration.
Since the late 1980s, Adami has executed large-scale murals for various public buildings: notably in 1973-1974 for the First National City Bank of Madison and in 1989 for the foyer-bar of the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris. In 1985 he participated in the Paris Biennale. He also produced eight stained glass windows for the town hall of Vitry-sur-Seine (1985) and monumental paintings for the Salle des Pas perdus at the Gare d’Austerlitz in Paris (1992). In 1993-1994, he also produced four monumental paintings for the Park Tower Hotel in Tokyo, the work of Japanese architect Kenzo Tange.
Since 2004, an important retrospective has been devoted to him at the Frissiras Museum in Athens, and Adami has then chained several personal exhibitions in Italy, Finland and Spain. In 2008, a retrospective was dedicated to him at the Pomodoro foundation in Milan.
“I believe that painting is one of the rare instruments that allow us to preserve our memory. My conception of art is that it is a kind of memory system,” Valerio Adami.