1.32. Arte Povera

Arte Povera is an art movement that explores the use of highly unconventional materials, ones that are not typically associated with art. Often, extremely common and banal materials are used, including rags, leaves, twigs, soil, newspaper, scrap metal, and more. In a world with most art being created with exquisite and traditional materials, Arte Povera stands against the commercialisation of art, because it removes the collectability and desirability of the artistic object, while putting more emphasis on the idea – an idea cannot be bought or sold.

Traditional practices and materials were seen as a restraint by Germano Celant, an Italian art critic and curator, who coined the term ‘Arte Povera’ in 1967. His writings inspired the movement – in a time of economic uncertainty in Italy, many young Italian artists from places such as Milan, Genoa, Turin and Rome were inspired by a reaction against the commercialisation of art. These artists included:

Giovanni Anselmo (Direction, 1967-8)
Alighiero Boetti (Mappa, 1978)
Pier Paolo Calzolari (Untitled, 2016)
Luciano Fabro (Ovaries, 1988)
Piero Gilardi (from Collaborative Effects, 2013)
Jannis Kounellis (Untitled, 1968)
Mario Merz (Untitled, 1998)


Marisa Merz (Untitled, 1966)

Published by William Fowler

Hello! I'm studying Art and English Literature at the University of Reading, and I'm currently working with art films to investigate philosophical ideas of the 'real.' As always, my aim is to create pieces of art that are more than the sum of their parts.

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