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Article

Italian, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 17 July 1947, in Milan.

Painter, sculptor, theorist.

Arte Povera, Conceptual Art.

Adriano Altamira put forward his first critical observations on the phenomena of vision in 1967. Next he began to use minimalist structures, plaits and interlacings, like some of the methods used in France by the ...

Article

Italian, 20th century, male.

Born 1930, in Milan.

Sculptor, painter.

Arte Povera.

Aricò exhibited in Rome, Milan, Verona, and at the Venice Biennale in 1964 and 1968, as well as in Chicago and at the São Paulo Biennale in 1963. His use of litter and used objects in hazardous compositions has categorised him as an Arte Povera artist....

Article

Italian, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 1948, in Fiesole.

Painter.

Luciano Bartolini, like other Italians of his generation, was influenced by the conceptual movements of the 1970s and by Arte Povera.

He paints on paper, but it is paper handmade in Tibet which he crumples, folds, cuts, glues, overlays and paints. The painted marks include geometrical or symbolic shapes, a rectangle, a tantric circle, or scripts which have been invented and therefore cannot be read. He also uses richly esoteric colours, the black and red of the sacred, the gold of Byzantine icons. The delicate structures of his work mask an inherent mysticism. He has exhibited in Italy and in London....

Article

Italian, 20th century, male.

Born 1943, in Bologna.

Sculptor, painter.

Arte Povera.

Pier Paolo Calzolari spent his teenage years in Venice. He lived in Paris from 1970 to 1972 and travelled from 1981 to 1986 in Crete, to Urbino, Vienna, Venice and Marrakech. Urbino is his home and workplace. His early violent oil paintings swung between representational and abstract styles, incorporating 'objects, cast shadows, small ledges'; then from ...

Article

American, 20th – 21st century, male.

Active in England.

Born 1947, in Salem (Ohio).

Draughtsman, sculptor.

Without joining the Arte Povera movement, which sprang up primarily in Italy from 1968 onward, Joel Fischer nevertheless benefited from it, in that this movement looked at the coarsest materials through new eyes. However, the issue for Fischer is not one of expressivity, as it is for the Arte Povera artists, but rather a reflection on the ambitions of art. In his early career his work was above all intended to be a derisory activity. At this time he began to plait and spin hair, and make nails from old bits of metal or pieces of coarse paper from old clothes. By reaffirming ties with the artisan side of art, Fischer quickly found favour in the USA. Without losing interest in the materials, he began in the 1980s to explore meticulously the medium and subject of his future drawings: chiffon paper, which he makes entirely by hand. The imperfections are exaggerated with charcoal and, in a new space, come to signify a non-accidental form. In ...

Article

Italian, 20th century, male.

Born 1938, in Turin.

Painter.

Arte Povera.

Marco Gastini first exhibited in Turin in 1963, and again in 1965. Since then, he has taken part in many group exhibitions - both in Italy, alongside other avant-garde artists, and abroad, in cities such as Paris, Chicago and Bonn. He has also held solo exhibitions in Italy, and in galleries overseas, most notably: in ...

Article

Greek, 20th century, male.

Active in Italy from 1956.

Born 23 March 1936, in Piraeus.

Sculptor of assemblages, painter.

Arte Povera.

Jannis Kounellis started his artistic training in Greece and left for Rome in 1956. He attended courses at the Accademia di Belle Arti and he discovered the works of Alberto Burri and Lucio Fontana and the international avant-garde with Yves Klein and Piero Manzoni....

Article

French, 20th – 21st century, female.

Born 1950, in Paris.

Painter (mixed media), collage artist.

Nadjia Mehadji has a Moroccan father. Her painting addresses issues of movement and energy in an existential framework. Arte Povera's analysis has informed her pictorial mediation of shape. She resorts to geometric figures to frame her artistic experience. She paints series ( ...

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 – 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 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

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

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 ...