The renowned Italian artist Piero Manzoni emerged as a powerful voice for the avant-garde in the 1950s, debuting as an artist at the ‘4a Fiera mercato: Mostra d’arte contemporanea’ in 1956. A self-taught painter, his work heavily featured anthropomorphic silhouettes and the impressions of objects. He began making his white paintings – later named Achromes – in 1957, at first with rough gesso and then with kaolin, as well as with creased canvases or surfaces divided into squares.Read More
In 1959, the artist began his series which experimented with the display of inflated white balloons. The results – Corpi d’aria (Bodies of Air) and Fiato d’artista (Artist’s Breath), where balloons were poised on a tripod or wooden plinth – extended the creative experimentation first visualized in the Achromes as Manzoni embarked upon works that used an entirely new visual language, reframing artistic interpretation. In July 1960, he presented Consumazione dell’arte / dinamica del pubblico / divorare l’arte in Milan, during which he offered the public hard-boiled eggs with his thumbprint on them. By 1961, Manzoni was signing actual people, turning them into ‘living sculptures,’ and awarding them with a certificate of authenticity.
Alongside his work as an abstract avant-garde painter, Manzoni contributed to and collaborated with numerous artist groups and initiatives. As his artistic activity intensified, he began participating in group shows and signing manifestos alongside other artists, including Enrico Baj, Guido Biasi, Ettore Sordini, and Angelo Verga. For a period of time he embraced the Movimento Arte Nucleare, before abandoning it in 1958.
On several occasions, he showed his work with Agostino Bonalumi and Enrico Castellani, and he collaborated with artists of the zero group in Düsseldorf and other European neo-avant-garde groups. In 1959, he founded the Galleria Azimut in Milan with Castellani, opening the gallery with an exhibition of his Linee (Lines). The pair simultaneously published two issues of the Azimuth magazine. The second issue (1960) included one of Manzoni’s seminal texts Libera dimensione or Free dimension.
Text courtesy Hauser & Wirth.
The career of Italian artist Piero Manzoni was vanishingly brief; he had his first solo exhibition at the end of 1957, when he was 24, and died of a heart attack in his studio in 1963, five months before his thirtieth birthday. In those handful of years, his goal was nothing less than the regeneration of art as a force in contemporary life...
We have sent you an email containing a link to reset your password. Simply click the link and enter your new password to complete this process.
Scan the QR Code via WeChat to follow Ocula's official account.