Born in 1924, Accardi trained at the Accademia di belle arti, Florence, before moving to Rome in 1946. She was affiliated with Forma 1, the group of Italian artists who set out to carve out a space for artistic abstraction within a Marxist politico-aesthetic agenda.
Accardi is renowned for her geometric abstractions and deconstructed canvases. In many ways her work is emblematic of the postwar condition; it highlights the radical and irreversible breakdown of all cultural and political discourses in a Europe blighted by the Final Solution and the ineffaceable rhetoric of the Third Reich. While the Marxist approach to cultural objects was one which demanded the promulgation of a particular worldview, Forma 1 sought to posit the group’s deliberate rejection of clear representation as a meaningful decision to privilege form and sign; something which could transcend the implicit limits of figuration. The group eventually dissolved in the 1960s, but Accardi continued to favour abstraction. The gradual introduction of Arabic calligraphy and quasi-hieroglyphic elements into the artist’s work served as more of a formal and conceptual experiment than as a move towards figuration.
Accardi’s gestural, linear forms seem to blur the distinctions between shape, symbol and script, and ludically break down the traditional attribution of meaning to mark-making.