Michael Werner Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of Italian artist Piero Manzoni (1933-1963).
In his tragically short lifetime Piero Manzoni created an immensely varied body of work including painting and sculpture, body art, performance, and conceptual and ephemeral efforts. Indeed, Piero Manzoni is seen as a key figure in the early developments of arte povera and conceptual art, and his unique sensibility has proven influential to subsequent generations of artists internationally. Piero Manzoni's first truly mature works are the 'Achromes' paintings comprised first of layers of thick gesso, then kaolin over pleated and creased canvas, and later stitched unpainted canvas, felt, and wads of white cotton and wool. In a 1957 manifesto, the artist writes that '...abstractions and references must be totally avoided...'in the search for '...images which are as absolute as possible, which cannot be valued for that which they record, explain and express, but only for that which they are: to be'
Though historically important as investigations into the nature and possibilities of the painted surface, the 'Achromes'are notable also for their surprising beauty, a quality achieved despite the artist's minimal and often humble means. This is the focus of Michael Werner's presentation of Piero Manzoni, an exhibition which includes the largest and most ambitious 'Achrome' created in 1961 and comprised of polystyrene soaked with fluorescent phosphorous.
Piero Manzoni was born in Soncino, Italy in 1933 and lived in Milan until his death in 1963. He began his artistic career as a painter of traditional landscapes followed by experiments with expressionism and tachism. By 1957 Piero Manzoni was closely associated with the conceptual avant-garde in post-war Europe, participating in exhibitions with Yves Klein, Lucio Fontana, Alberto Burri and Enrico Baj, among others. The works of Piero Manzoni have been included in numerous museum exhibitions worldwide. Major solo exhibitions include the Serpentine Gallery, London; Musée de l'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris; Herning Kunstmuseum, Denmark; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; and the Royal College of Art, London.
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