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Article

Italian, 20th century, male.

Born 1 January 1925, in Milan; died 9 November 2003, in Milan.

Painter, installation artist, sculptor, draughtsman, mixed media.

Conceptual Art, Arte Povera, Visual Poetry.

Mario Merz spent two years studying medicine at the University of Turin, during which time he also tried his hand at Concretist poetry and attended courses at the institute of fine arts. However, he soon turned against any kind of formal education. In 1945, shortly before the fall of Mussolini, he was imprisoned under the Fascist regime as a political activist. On his release he moved to Paris, where he became familiar with the work of artists such as Dubuffet, Fautrier and Pollock and the writings of Jean-Paul Sartre. In 1959, he met his future wife Marisa, and in the mid-1960s he returned to live and work in Turin....

Article

Italian, 20th century, female.

Born 1931.

Sculptor, draughtswoman, pastellist, installation artist.

Arte Povera.

The wife of Mario Merz, Marisa Merz was a member of the Arte Povera group from the beginning of her career and was the movement's only female member. She exhibited for the first time in ...

Article

Italian, 20th century, male.

Born 5 November 1940, in Genoa.

Painter (mixed media), collage artist, sculptor, draughtsman.

Conceptual Art, Arte Povera.

Paolini lives and works in Turin and Paris. His artistic activity has been an enquiry into the multiple aspects of art. At the beginning of the 1960s, he created presentations of blank canvases, of the reverse side of canvases, supports and frames. Initially restricted to just the geometry of the canvas, his later work tended to include the physical space in which the works are displayed....

Article

Italian, 20th century, male.

Born 19th October 1935, in Bari (Apulia); died 11th September 1968.

Sculptor.

Arte Povera.

Pino Pascali settled in Rome in 1956, where he studied scenography at the Accademia di Belle Arti. After his debut in the field of theatrical decoration, Pascali instilled a sense of space and theatricality into his sculptures. In the 1960s he celebrated women with a series entitled...

Article

Italian, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 3 April 1947, in Garessio (Piedmont).

Sculptor, painter, draughtsman, illustrator, engraver, mixed media.

Arte Povera.

Giuseppe Penone was a student at the Accademia Albertina in Turin, where he lives and works. Overall, his work tends to show the link between man and his culture and nature as a part of the universe. Affiliated to Italian Arte Povera, his style belongs to that movement mainly by virtue of the materials he uses - branches, leaves, bark, snakeskins after sloughing, water and earth, marble, glass and the like. The artist himself gives his peasant origins as one of the reasons for his attachment to nature, seeing in them, as in the construction of a forest road, a 'magnificent work of art'. Postulating the idea of an ancient unitary state where there was no distinction between artisan and artist, he works with living organic matter. He borrows from nature, the source of creation, and writes his existence in it, presenting in ...

Article

Italian, 20th century, male.

Born 1945, in Cosenza.

Sculptor.

Piacentino started out in an American Minimalist vein, with a reputation as a representative of Arte Povera, but was soon attracted by all things mechanical, being himself an adept mechanic and a practitioner of motorcycle racing. He constructed kinds of high-powered racing vehicles, but though they looked elegant, their practical reliability was more in the realm of a Leonardesque utopia. He first exhibited in ...

Article

Italian, 20th century, male.

Born 1933, in Biella (Piedmont).

Painter, sculptor, installation artist, photographer, writer.

Arte Povera.

The son of an art restorer, Michelangelo Pistoletto lives and works in Turin, and also teaches at the academy of fine arts in Vienna.Pistoletto's early works, painted during the 1950s, consisted of self-portraits against a monochrome background that revealed an interest in the work of Francis Bacon. He made his name from ...

Article

French, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 1947.

Sculptor, installation artist.

Land Art, Arte Povera.

Daniel Pontoreau works in concrete, steel and glass to create installations that frequently evoke receptacles, urns, vases and boxes. He was awarded a monumental art scholarship by the French town of Ivry....

Article

Italian, 20th century, male.

Born 1939, in La Spezia.

Painter (mixed media).

Ponzio IV was a member of the Arte Povera Group in Turin at the end of the 1960s. His work features scrap material, particularly rusted wrought iron: he creates architectural designs, balustrades, windows, gratings or pieces of furniture, including beds, featuring Baroque curves and elegant lines. His fresco-like paintings feature more traditional subjects such as flowers, and religious and naive scenes....

Article

Italian, 20th century, male.

Born 1943.

Painter, draughtsman, photographer.

Arte Povera.

Prini lives and works in Rome. From 1965 to 1971, he worked in an Arte Povera vein. Exhibiting very little, he has adopted a quasi-radical, almost clandestine stance towards the art world. The Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Strasbourg organised an exhibition for him in ...

Article

20th – 21st century, male.

Born 1961, in St-Dizier (Haute-Marne), France.

Sculptor of assemblages.

Arte Povera.

Sommerhalter lives and works in Nice. During the 1990s, all of his sculptures were based upon the relationship and opposition of two materials and dynamics, for example a piece of salvaged metal and an inflated inner tube....

Article

Tunga  

Brazilian, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 8 February 1952, in Palmares (Pernambuco).

Sculptor, installation artist.

Tunga trained as an architect. As in Arte Povera, Tunga's work is meant to be close to life. He draws his materials from everyday life and works with familiar objects ranging from bowls and thimbles, to heavy materials like iron, copper or other metal plates and copper wire, as well as organic matter like hair, and more recently with blown glass. Tunga then integrates another dimension by adding literary, philosophical and scientific references. From accumulations and excesses Tunga builds up an original personal fiction, which destabilises perception, confuses scales and multiplies the connections between the objects, materials and the more anatomical shapes and colours and, in so doing transports the viewer to an imaginary phantasmagorical world. After ...

Article

Italian, 20th century, male.

Born 1944, in Andorno Micca.

Painter, sculptor, mixed media.

Arte Povera, Process Art.

Gilberto Zorio lives and works in Turin, where he studied at the Accademia Albertina delle Belle Arti from 1963 to 1970. He first made his mark as an artist in the new Arte Povera movement in ...