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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

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 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

Nancy Ring

(b Turin, April 3, 1947).

Italian sculptor and conceptual artist. He created his earliest works in a forest outside Garessio in 1968. He marked his presence there with an iron hand gripping a tree trunk (see 1978 exh. cat., p. 33); trees pierced by nails and laced with metal wire; and a plaster slab measuring his width and height and the depth of a brook. The works revealed his interest in establishing points of contact between man and nature. A member of the Arte Povera group, he continued throughout his career to explore the connections between natural and cultural forms. In 12-meter Tree (1969; Stockholm, Mod. Mus.), one of a series, he carefully carved into a beam of wood to recover the original form of a tree, leaving part of the beam untouched to signify its status as a manmade object.

In the early 1970s Penone used his body as his principal subject, projecting images drawn from the surface of his skin on to plaster casts of his face or on to wall surfaces (see ...

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

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 ...

Article

Matthew Gale

(b Andorno Micca, nr Biella, Piedmont, Sept 21, 1944).

Italian sculptor, performance artist and conceptual artist . He studied painting and sculpture at the Accademia di Belle Arti, Turin (1963–70) and held his first one-man show at the Galleria Sperone, Turin, in 1967. Use of such non-artistic materials as the scaffolding and foam of Chair (1967; New York, Sonnabend Gal.) ensured his inclusion in Arte Povera (1968; Bologna, Gal. de Foscherari) and performance at Arte Povera—azioni povere (1968; Amalfi, Arsenale). Zorio’s characteristic pieces rejected sculptural weight and solidity by use of cantilevers or suspension and reactions over time or with the environment. Several incorporated light; Phosphorescent Fist (1971; Paris, Pompidou) was lit and plunged into darkness, alternatively absorbing and emitting and absorbing energy, being lit and then unlit.

In common with his friend Giovanni Anselmo, Zorio raised linguistic problems, as in Odio (‘Hatred’), axed into a wall at Documenta 5, Kassel (1972), but his concern with energy led to experiments with both chemical and physical instability. He initiated gradual chemical reactions in his materials, which continued beyond the period of making, and used Olympic javelins to provide cantilevers; when combined with fragile, glass vessels or with the emblematic form of the five-pointed star (e.g. ...