DİLEK BİRDİNÇ KUTZLİ

 

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
©dilek birdinç kutzli 2012

Arte Povera, Poor Art

Arte Povera - "poor art" or "impoverished art" - was the most significant and influential avant-garde movement to emerge in Europe in the 1960s. It grouped the work of around a dozen Italian artists whose most distinctly recognizable trait was their use of commonplace materials that might evoke a pre-industrial age, such as earth, rocks, clothing, paper and rope. Their work marked a reaction against the modernist abstract painting that had dominated European art in the 1950s, hence much of the group's work is sculptural. But the group also rejected American Minimalism, in particular what they perceived as its enthusiasm for technology. In this respect Arte Povera echoes Post-Minimalist tendencies in American art of the 1960s. But in its opposition to modernism and technology, and its evocations of the past, locality and memory, the movement is distinctly Italian.

Key Ideas
Although Arte Povera is most notable for its use of simple, artisanal materials, it did not use these to the exclusion of all else. Some of the group's most memorable work comes from the contrast of unprocessed materials with references to the most recent consumer culture. Believing that modernity threatened to erase our sense of memory along with all signs of the past, the Arte Povera group sought to contrast the new and the old in order to complicate our sense of the effects of passing timeIn addition to opposing the technological design of American Minimalism, artists associated with Arte Povera also rejected what they perceived as its scientific rationalism..In addition to opposing the technological design of American Minimalism, artists associated with Arte Povera also rejected
what they perceived as its



Mario Mertz Iglú de Giap

 

scientific rationalism. By contrast, they conjured a world of myth whose mysteries couldn't be easily explained. Or they presented absurd, jarring and comical juxtapositions, often of the new and the old, or the highly processed and the pre-industrial. By doing so, the Italian artists evoked some of the effects of modernization, how it tended to destroy experiences of locality and memory as it pushed ever forwards into the future.

Arte Povera's interest in "poor" materials can be seen as related to Assemblage, an international trend of the 1950s and 1960s that used similar materials. Both movements marked a reaction against much of the abstract painting that dominated art in the period. They viewed it as too narrowly concerned with emotion and individual expression, and too confined by the traditions of painting. Instead, they proposed an art that was much more interested in materiality and physicality, and borrowed forms and materials from everyday life. Arte Povera might be distinguished from Assemblage by its interest in modes such as performance and installation, approaches that had more in common with pre-war avant-gardes such as Surrealism, Dada and Constructivism.

kunallis

Jannis Kounellis, twelve horses in the Galleria L'Attico, Rome in 1969

Arte Povera emerged out of the decline of abstract painting in Italy, and the rise of interest in older avant-garde approaches to making art. In particular, its spirit can be traced to three artists: Alberto Burri, whose painting made from burlap sacks, provided an example of the use of poor materials; Piero Manzoni, whose work prefigured qualities of Conceptual art, and which reacted against abstract, Art Informel painting; and Lucio Fontana, whose monochrome painting provided an example of the power of art that is reduced to only a few elements and concentrated in its impact. The term Arte Povera was first used by art critic Germano Celant in 1967 to describe the work of a group of Italian artists. In the same year he organized the first survey of the trend, "Arte Povera e IM Spazio," which was staged at Galleria La Bertesca in Genoa, and which included the work of Alighiero Boetti, Luciano Fabro, Jannis Kounellis, Giulio Paolini, Pino Pascali and Emilio Prini. All of the work made use of everyday or "poor" materials. For example, Boetti's Pile (1966-67) consisted of a stack of asbestos blocks; Fabro raised an everyday task to the level of art in Floor Tautology (1967), in which a tiled floor was kept polished and covered with newspapers to maintain its cleanliness; and in his Cubic Meters of Earth (1967), Pascali formed mounds of soil into solid shapes, using a natural but "dirty" material and forcing it into clean, unnatural lines in a critique of Minimalism. Overall, the organizer of the show chose to focus on the intrusion of the banal into the realm of art, forcing us to look at previously inconsequential things in a new light.

Beginnings

Senza titolo

Jannis Kounellis

Only two months after the inaugural show, Celant wrote Arte Povera: Notes for a Guerilla War, a manifesto that added several more artists to his initial roster: Giovanni Anselmo, Piero Gilardi, Mario Merz, Gianni Piacentino, Michelangelo Pistoletto, and Gilberto Zorio. With this declaration, Celant firmly associated himself and the Italians with a new movement in art, but also put forth a definition of Arte Povera that was more ambiguous than his previous iteration. This was most obvious with the inclusion of Pistoletto, since his mirror works incorporated elements of photography, a medium notably avoided by other members of the group. Notes for a Guerilla War linked the artists conceptually (rather than on any formal or stylistic basis) through what Celant saw as their common desire to destroy "the dichotomy between art and life."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alighiero Boetti, Mappa 1983

sources :

http://www.theartstory.org/movement-arte-povera.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/

http://www.marcquinn.com

 

Giuseppe Penone

 

 

 

Mimmo Paladino, Darth Vader's Helmet

Mimmo Paladino

 

Alberto Burri, untitled

Alberto Burri, Cretto nero

In May 1961 Manzoni created 90 small cans, sealed with the text Artist's Shit (Merda d'Artista). Each 30-gram can was priced by weight based on the current value of gold (around $1.12 a gram in 1960).The contents of the cans remain a much-disputed enigma, since opening them would destroy the value of the artwork. Various theories about the contents have been proposed, including speculation that it is plaster.In the following years, the cans have spread to various art collections all over the world and netted large prices, far outstripping inflation. The most recent can to be sold, #83, sold in October 2008 for £97,250.It was described as: " It is a joke, a parody of the art market, and a critique of consumerism and the waste it generates." -Stepher Bury artists_breath artist's breath, Manzoni, 1960

Marc Quinn

Marc Quinn’s wide-ranging oeuvre displays a preoccupation with the mutability of the body and the dualisms that define human life: spiritual and physical, surface and depth, cerebral and sexual. Using an uncompromising array of materials, from ice and blood to glass, marble or lead, Quinn develops these paradoxes into experimental, conceptual works that are mostly figurative in form.

Quinn’s sculpture, paintings and drawings often deal with the distanced relationship we have with our bodies, highlighting how the conflict between the ‘natural’ and ‘cultural’ has a grip on the contemporary psyche. In 1999, Quinn began a series of marble sculptures of amputees as a way of re-reading the aspirations of Greek and Roman statuary and their depictions of an idealised whole. One such work depicted Alison Lapper, a woman who was born without arms, when she was heavily pregnant. Quinn subsequently enlarged this work to make it a major piece of public art for the fourth plinth of Trafalgar Square. Other key themes in his work include genetic modification and hybridism. Garden (2000), for instance, is a walk-through installation of impossibly beautiful flowers that will never decay, or his ‘Eternal Spring’ sculptures, featuring flowers preserved in perfect bloom by being plunged into sub-zero silicone. Quinn has also explored the potential artistic uses of DNA, making a portrait of a sitter by extracting strands of DNA and placing it in a test-tube. DNA Garden (2001), contains the DNA of over 75 plant species as well as 2 humans: a re-enactment of the Garden of Eden on a cellular level. Quinn’s diverse and poetic work meditates on our attempts to understand or overcome the transience of human life through scientific knowledge and artistic expression.

 


 

 

 

 

Michelangelo Pistoletto, Venus of the rags.

Karmour