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In documenting the career of Italian artist Piero Manzoni between 1955 and 1963, it is not sufficient merely to reconstruct the series of acts and events. To get a real perspective on his work, where art and life ran side by side in creating objects and events that, to his iconoclastic gaze, possessed aesthetic and linguistic autonomy—as in his colorless paintings, achromes made of kaolin, canvas, cotton, fiber, and rabbit skin, or works with bodily residues, from breath and feces to blood and thumbprints—we must also contextualize it.
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This means documenting and highlighting his contributions in relation to the history of artistic pursuits around the world at that time, from action painting to new dada, pop to Nouveau Réalisme, zero to optical art, discerning what his originality shares with Jackson Pollock and Lucio Fontana, Alberto Burri and Robert Rauschenberg, Yves Klein and Enrico Castellani, Heinz Mack and Robert Ryman. This publication sets out to accomplish precisely this, as is also reflected in the exhibition that inspired it and which includes among its chronological documents the concrete events and testimony of other artists. The goal is a broad-reaching and comprehensive perspective with which to analyze the complexity of an oeuvre that can only be understood if immersed in its proper historical context. It requires challenging the ahistorical limbo of the white cube in order to present the adventure of an artist along with the social-cultural milieu that nurtured and informed him: a historical and expository review of Manzoni’s artistic upheaval, unfolding in the simultaneity and permeability of his linguistic and environmental habitat.

Catalogue of the Exhibition
New York, Gagosian Gallery
24 January – 7 March 2009
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Anno di pubblicazione2008
AutoreGermano Celant
Formato24 x 28cm
Illustrazioni a colori316
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