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Article

Italian, 20th century, male.

Born 1926, in Milan; died 1981.

Collage artist, mixed media. Artists' books.

Arte Povera, Conceptual Art.

Vicenzo Agnetti's work has appeared in numerous group exhibitions of international contemporary art, including Documenta 5 in Kassel, Germany (1972) and Biennale in Venice (...

Article

French, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 4 August 1948, in Paris.

Installation artist.

Conceptual Art, Arte Povera.

Bernard Amiard's work can be compared to that of Arte Povera. He combines substances, texture and image. He mostly uses neon as a graphic medium. He leans towards a redefinition of objects as brute materials and their reciprocating relationships....

Article

Italian, 20th century, male.

Active in Turin.

Born 1934, in Borgofranco d'Ivrea.

Installation artist.

Conceptual Art, Arte Povera.

Giovanni Anselmo is one of the exponents of Arte Povera (It. 'poor art'), the singular movement that was expressed in many physical forms. It was founded in Italy and remained Italian in character, despite obviously influencing conceptual artists in other countries. Arte Povera falls within the vast movement of conceptual art that swept over the art scene in the 1960s, historically a time of social, political and ethical protest. Arte Povera challenged art itself above all else. A Zen influence, conscious or subconscious depending on the work, is also discernible in the invitation to contemplate a pile of pebbles presented as a work or a non-work of art, or any other object that the eyes and the mind regularly take for granted.The term Arte Povera was coined by Germano Celant (the movement's main instigator and historian) in ...

Article

Italian, 20th century, male.

Born 1940, in Turin; died 24 April 1994, in Rome.

Mixed media, textile artist.

Arte Povera, Conceptual Art.

Alighiero e Boetti lived and worked in Rome. He is considered to be one of the founders, in 1967, of the Arte Povera (Impoverished Art) movement, to each of whose group exhibitions he routinely contributed. In ...

Article

Italian, 20th century, male.

Installation artist.

Arte Povera.

Coppes was a pupil at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera, where he studied with Luciano Fabro, one of the founding fathers of Arte Povera.

He features imaginary spaces in his works. An example is his ...

Article

Matthew Gale

(b Ancona, 1947).

Italian conceptual and performance artist. At 17 he mounted his own exhibition (1964; Ancona, Gal. D.D.), before moving to Rome where he was influenced by Arte Povera. His one-man show (1969; Rome, Gal. Attico), for which he published an obituary announcing his death, included traces of ‘invisible objects’: a square outlined on the floor constituted Invisible Pyramid. Such dematerialization was associated with mortality, with which de Domenicis was primarily concerned, investigated through autobiography and self-portraiture, as well as through juxtapositions of Urvasi, the Hindu goddess of beauty, and the partially divine Ghilgamesh, who sought immortality in vain. Invisibility became a paradoxical and primary conceptual means: D’io (‘of me’/‘God’, 1971) filled the Galleria L’Attico with a recording of laughter. Having included live animals in his Zodiac exhibition (1970; Rome, Gal. Attico), de Domenicis increasingly used people to embody such concepts as ageing (e.g. the opposition of a young and an old man at Incontri Internazionale d’Arte, Rome, ...

Article

Italian, 20th century, male.

Born 1936, in Turin; died 22 June 2007, in Milan.

Sculptor, installation artist, environmental artist, performance artist.

Arte Povera.

Luciano Fabro lives and works in Milan. His creations may seem entirely disparate, to which he responds that coherence between different elements across all sections of a work seem unnecessary to him, and that a deeper coherence is provided by the very identity of the artist.His creations are enormously diverse in their appearance, but it has been suggested by Fabro himself that what links them is that they all fall within the domain of Arte Povera. This is convenient, given that the artists using this concept (first coined by Germano Celant in ...

Article

Matthew Gale

(b Turin, Nov 20, 1936; d Milan, June 23, 2007).

Italian sculptor, conceptual artist and writer. He frequented artistic circles in Udine in the mid-1950s. In 1958 Fabro saw Lucio Fontana’s contribution to the Venice Biennale and the following year moved to Milan, where he discovered the work of Yves Klein and Francesco Lo Savio and was closely associated with Piero Manzoni and Enrico Castellani. Their investigations of matter and space influenced Fabro’s idea of the artist as a facilitator of experiences without preconceived categories. After tentative early works, he embarked upon austere pieces that encapsulated phenomenological problems, such as The Hole (1963; artist’s col.), a mirror with the reflective coating partially scraped away. While the scraping mimicked the techniques of Art informel, the fusion of reflection and the recession, seen through the suspended glass, was indebted to Duchamp. His first one-man show (1965; Milan, Gal. Vismara) combined mirror pieces with the Spatial Lines, which demarcated their environment with tubular metal (e.g. ...

Article

German, 20th – 21st century, female.

Active since 1977 active in France.

Born 1950, in Kronach (Bavaria).

Sculptor, assemblage artist, environmental artist, mixed media.

Arte Povera.

Friedmann is self-taught and settled in Aignay-Le-Duc in Burgundy in 1977, where she lives and works. In the early 1980s, she started photography, focusing on disused locations. Since ...

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

Alfred Pacquement

International art form that developed particularly from the late 1960s and early 1970s. It was part of a revolt against painting and sculpture and the anti-formalist current of the late 1960s that included Conceptual art and Arte Povera. A number of mainly British and North American artists turned their attention to working directly with nature, notably Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Walter De Maria, Michael Heizer, Dennis Oppenheim, Robert Smithson, and Richard Long. They created immense sculptures on the same scale as landscape itself, or exhibited written and photographic accounts of their excursions. With few exceptions, their works (also known as Earthworks) are almost inaccessible, situated far from human settlements in deserts or abandoned areas. Their lifespan was brief: little by little they were destroyed by the elements and often by erosion, so that for posterity they exist only in the form of preparatory drawings, photographs, or films. The works themselves were seen by only a small number of people and sometimes by only the artist....

Article

German, 20th century, male.

Active in Belgium.

Born 1940, in Düsseldorf.

Sculptor (mixed media).

Arte Povera, Conceptual Art.

Bernd Lohaus initially worked in a carpentry workshop, then began an apprenticeship as a stone-cutter in 1960. After the show Fluxus, which brought together John Cage, Ben, Allen Kaprow, Nam June Paik and Joseph Beuys among others, he studied under Beuys at the school of fine arts in Düsseldorf ...

Article

Italian, 20th century, male.

Born 13 November 1940, in Gagli di Pesaro Urbino.

Installation artist, performance artist.

Conceptual Art, Arte Povera.

Since 1961, Mattiacci has taken part in a large number of group exhibitions, among them the 1961 Biennale of art in metal held in Gubbio; the exhibition of young artists held at the gallery of modern art in Rome in ...

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

Term applied to a flat or relief collage of collected junk. It is associated with Kurt Schwitters, who apparently invented the word when cutting out the word ‘Commerzbank’ from a newspaper for a collage he was making. Merz is also the title of a Dada magazine that he edited from ...

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 ...