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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

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

Matthew Gale

(b Vergato, nr Bologna, Nov 24, 1943).

Italian painter, sculptor, conceptual artist and film maker. His first one-man show (1970; Milan, Gal. S Fedele) reflected his awareness of Arte Povera in the multifarious cut-outs of corrugated cardboard and rubber. Ontani’s major occupation was, however, enacting ritualized performances, as in the fire-walking film Fuochino (1972) shown at the Venice Biennale of 1972. In common with several contemporaries, he transformed himself, updating artistic quotations as a critique of past culture; he assumed a pose from David’s Rape of the Sabines in the punningly entitled Rattondo David (‘Raping David’, photographic tondo, 700 mm, 1974; see 1991 exh. cat., p. 43) to comment upon this process, as well as the retrospective sanitization of European culture. In performances at the Galleria L’Attico, Rome (with Jannis Kounellis, Francesco Clemente and others), Ontani acted out emblematic characters, from Don Quixote (1974) to Dracula (1975). In addition to such referential photographs as ...

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 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 ...