Artist biography

Piero Manzoni 1933-1963

Italian artist known chiefly for his white monochrome paintings and as a precursor of Conceptual art. Born at Soncino (Cremona). Began by painting landscapes in a traditional style 1951-5, then turned to making works with impressions left by keys, scissors, etc., which had been dipped in tar. Partly under the influence of Yves Klein and Burri started in 1957 to make textured white paintings which he called 'Achromes'. First one-man exhibition in the foyer of the Teatro delle Maschere, Milan, 1957. Close contact with the Gruppo Nucleare, particularly Baj, 1957-9, then with Castellani and Agnetti; founded with Castellani in 1959-60 a short-lived review called Azimuth and an avant-garde gallery in Milan, the Galleria Azimut. From 1959 devised a variety of cerebral, provocatively controversial works: 'lines' of various lengths, signing the bodies of living people, tins of the artist's shit, bases for people to stand on as 'living sculptures', etc. Died in Milan.

Published in:
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, p.478