Published by Kerber. Edited by Martin Engler, Max Hollein. Text by Martin Engler, Germano Celant, Massimiliano Gioni, Francesca Pola, Dominique Laporte, Franziska Leuthäusser.
Few artists have combined conceptual ingenuity with devastating critique as deftly and wittily as Piero Manzoni (1933–1963). Fifty years after his death at the tender age of 29, Manzoni remains unsurpassed as a provocateur: his Artist's Breath and Artist's Shit editions, which now sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars, are unanswerable satirical attacks on art-world economics and values, and his designations of various persons (such as Umberto Eco and Marcel Broodthaers) as "living artworks" prefigure many strains in performance art. Manzoni thus effected some of the most decisive paradigm shifts in postwar art, something for which he is only rarely given full credit. This comprehensive survey accompanies a major retrospective at the Städel in Frankfurt (the first major Manzoni retrospective outside Italy in more than two decades), and is published on the occasion of what would have been his eightieth birthday. It reproduces more than 100 works from all phases of the artist's brief but massively influential career, from his early Klein-influenced monochromes (or "Achromes") and the Art Informel years to his role as a leading member of the Zero group (alongside Mack, Piene, Tinguely, Klein, Fontana) and beyond.
Piero Manzoni was the enfant terrible of the post-war Italian avant-garde before his untimely death in Milan in 1963 at the age of just twenty-nine. Curated by Germano Celant, the artist’s premier scholar and author of the two editions of the Manzoni catalogues raisonné’s (Milan, 1975 and Milan, 2004), this stunning catalogue spans Manzoni’s entire oeuvre, including works belonging to the Manzoni archives as well as several international museums and private collections. In addition, it presents several works by Manzoni’s American and European contemporaries. Manzoni’s alignments and responses to other artists active at the time, from Robert Rauschenberg to Yves Klein, Lucio Fontana to Robert Ryman, and Cy Twombly to Jasper Johns, demonstrate his own decisive contribution to the art of the late fifties and early sixties. The book is published on the occasion of the first complete retrospective in the U.S. on this artist, installed at the Gagosian Gallery, New York, from January 24 to March 7, 2009. A must-have for every conceptual art fan.
Germano Celant (born Genoa, 1940) has a PhD in contemporary art and theory and is internationally acknowledged for his theories on Arte Povera. Additionally, he is the author of more than one hundred publications, including both books and catalogues. He is also the curator of hundreds of exhibitions in the most prominent international museums and institutions worldwide.
Created in collaboration with the Archivio Opera Piero Manzoni (Onlus) this volume is the first complete cataloging of the work of Manzoni.
A major figure in the art scene of Europe in the late 20th century, Manzoni interpreted the cultural experiences of his time and mixed and matched them, furiously inventing a vast variety of found materials and media, from cotton to “shit,” kaolin to polystyrene, and fiberglass to the human body.
Manzoni (1933-1963) created an immense oevure in an all-too-brief career. During the late 1950s and early 1960s, he persisted in building an art that lay outside of trends and labels: an alchemistic, anarchistic art, constantly ready to divest traditional aesthetic values, seeking a complete reinterpretation of the world. This two-volume catalog is no less than due recognition of Manzoni's courage and genius.