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Arte Povera was born in Italy more than fifty years ago; now that more than half a century has gone by, a clear and broad vision, an agile perspective, allows us to fully evaluate Arte Povera. It was a widespread movement, enthralling, but also varied and free and magical, created by an important group of artists who once again demonstrated how much Italy, despite its individualism and dramatic corruption, is nonetheless a country that has no equals in the realm of imagination and creativity. (Paolo Repetto)

 

If we want to understand out of which sedimentation, and due to which circumstances and opportunities Arte Povera materialised, developed and was eventually defined, other essential factors have to be taken into consideration, together with a series of apparently secondary causes that were actually no less significant in terms of the movement’s international success and dissemination. First of all, we need to take into account not only the historical framework in which the artworks and events appeared and the reactions they precipitated, but also the generational context from which Arte Povera’s major exponents emerged.

This multifarious ferment, and especially the tangible varieties of formalisation that distinguished one artist from another, was taken up by the man who more than any other at the time, and with greater diligence, followed and critically coordinated its developments, encouraged exchanges and promoted the situation: Germano Celant.

The young Genoese critic, already close to the historic figure of Eugenio Battisti, coined the appellation “Arte Povera”, borrowing it from Grotowski’s “Poor Theatre”. Moreover, he also ventured to present the movement’s critical-ideological motivation in a number of texts that have since gone down in the annals of history, despite certain notable objections vented against them by some scholars. A broad and complex debate not only marked the stages of the movement’s various exhibitions (a great number in Italy and abroad, at times also considerable in their scope, and whose bibliography would take long to list) but also revealed the contradictions, inconsistencies and various differences within the “non-group”.

Bruno Corà

Alighiero Boetti

Nove quadrati
1979
Watercolour on handmade water-marked paper
Nine parts 19.5 x 19.5 cm each

Alighiero Boetti

Cieli ad alta quota
1989
Watercolor and pencil on paper
50.8 x 72.5 cm

Pier Paolo Calzolari

Untitled
2018
Salt, tempera, pastels "à l'écu" and oil pastels on Arches watercolor "Torchon" paper laid on board
79,5 x 60 x 4 cm

Pier Paolo Calzolari

Untitled
2018
Salt, tempera, pastels "à l'écu" and oil pastels on Arches watercolor "Torchon" paper laid on board
79,5 x 60 x 4 cm

Mario Merz

Untitled
1982
Spray enamel, acrylic, clay and sea shell on card on metal in artist's frame
73.5 x 103 cm

Mario Merz

Lumaca
1975
Oil, graphite, snail on paper
71 x 100 cm

Giulio Paolini

Next opening
2014
Photocollage, photographic reproduction, plaster cast, sheets, plexiglass structure
Overall dimensions: 160 x 84 x 84 cm

Giulio Paolini

Idem IV
1974
Silver satin
Box: 8 x 8 x 8 cm
Ed. 3/6

Giulio Paolini

Studio per "Sala d'attesa"
2011-12
Pencil and collage on digital printing
34 x 46,5 cm

Giulio Paolini

Studio per "Sala d'attesa"
2011-12
Pencil and collage on digital printing
34 x 46,5 cm

Giuseppe Penone

Progetto per sguardo vegetale
1993
Watercolour and pencil on paper
38 x 28.5 cm

Giuseppe Penone

Trappola di luce
1993
Watercolour and pencil on paper
28.5 x 38 cm

Michelangelo Pistoletto

Girasoli
1970s
Silkscreen on polished stainless steel mirror
100 x 70 cm
Edition of 450

Michelangelo Pistoletto

Il bagno turco
1971
Silkscreen on polished stainless steel mirror
70 x 100 cm
A.P. I/VII

Michelangelo Pistoletto

Venere con la pipa
1973
Silkscreen on polished stainless steel mirror
125 x 150 cm
Edition 32 of 60

Michelangelo Pistoletto

Donna che cuce
1981
Silkscreen on polished stainless steel mirror
120 x 100 cm
Edition 1 of 8

Salvo

Forte dei Marmi
1990
Oil on canvas
60 x 50 cm

Salvo

Untitled
1992
Oil on cardboard laid on canvas
10 x 20 cm

Gilberto Zorio

Rossini
2006
Brass in agglomerate, resin
101 x 151 cm