Carla Accardi was born in Trapani, Italy, on October 9, 1924. She completed her classical studies in high school, and in 1943 she trained privately for an art diploma. She continued her art training at the Accademia di Belle Arti of both Palermo and Florence. In 1946 she moved to Rome with the painter Antonio Sanfilippo, who she married a few years later. Accardi quickly became part of the inner circle of the Art Club and was a frequent visitor to Consagra’s studio. There she met such artists as Attardi, Dorazio, Guerrini, Perilli, and Turcato, with whom she signed the manifesto of the Forma 1 group in 1947. She took part in many group shows in Italy and abroad; her first solo exhibition was in 1950 at the Galleria Numero in Florence. During the 1950s Accardi developed a reductivist visual language that became more and more abstract. She focused on signs and limited her palette to black and white, thus linking herself visually to the major artists of the Art Informel movement. Between 1954 and 1959, Michel Tapiè, an art critic and promoter of the movement, invited her to take part in several exhibitions that he organized in Italy and abroad.

In the 1960s Accardi joined the Continuità group; she began to reintegrate color into her work, making references to metropolitan culture and optical illusion. She continued to explore new possibilities by experimenting with diverse media, eventually beginning to paint on plastic transparent supports, which emphasised the luminous surface of the painting. She took part in the Venice Biennale several times, appearing first in 1964 and again in 1976 and 1978.

In the 1980s Accardi returned to canvas, and her visual language changed again as she shifted her focus to the use of signs and chromatic juxtapositions. She showed again at the Venice Biennale in 1988 and took part in the most important retrospectives of twentieth-century Italian Art. Among these was The Italian Metamorphosis 1943–1968, held at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, in 1994. She was nominated a member of the Accademia di Brera in Milan in 1996, and the following year she became part of the Venice Biennale Commission as an advisor. Her work is part of many important collections, including the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna in Rome, the Museo d’Arte Contemporanea of Castello di Rivoli (Turin), the Gallerie Civiche of Modena and Bologna, the Palazzo Reale in Milan, and the Museo Civico in Turin. The artist died in Rome on February 23, 2014.