A NEW exhibition entitled From The Collection, Incontri con Mario Merz showcases the work of Gianni Piacentino and Emilio Prini is opening at the Belgian gallery S.M.A.K. The work in the show is based on paintings by arte co-founder, Mario Merz from S.M.A.K.’s collection. Both Piacentino and Prini reflect on the movement’s unorthodox processes and alternative artistic materials. Other artists exhibiting in the Arte Povera style are Giulio Paolini, Ettore Spalletti, Alberto Garrutti and Luciano Fabro.
Originally, artwork in the style of Arte Povera or “poor art” was created from everyday objects and ephemeral matter such as soil, rags and twigs. Artwork made from these humble materials was intended to challenge the convention of the commercialised gallery space. This exhibition demonstrates artists’ sophisticated approach in their incorporation of these materials, in particular the wall debris in Parnasso by Paolini.
Other works gesture towards Italy’s craft heritage and the emergence of post war Italian design, such as the stylised bicycle sculpture by Piacentino. As an image of individual freedom and expression, this artwork continues to be relevant today.