Piero Manzoni: When Bodies Became Art
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.