Piero Gilardi

Piero Gilardi (born 1942, Turin), began to work as an artist and curator in 1963. He was closely affiliated with Arte Povera but not included as an artist in Germano Celant’s definitive exhibitions. However, in 1969 he was influential in the conception of two important international exhibitions of Arte Povera. He was also a key creator of networks between artists, travelling extensively throughout Europe and America, and bringing back news of contemporary developments. He wrote about these in a series of articles in Flash Art, Milan from 1967-8, and as a critic and writer played an important role in the emergence of new forms of art during this period. In 1965 he began making his Nature Carpets, poly-urethane carpets that simulated natural phenomena such as riverbeds, leaves and fruit and could be bought off a roll by the metre. His aim was to use technology to restore contact between urban man and nature. In favour of artistic autonomy, Gilardi began to criticise the enormous influence of private galleries on the selection process for exhibitions. As a consequence of his political beliefs and of his critique of the increasing commodification of art, he stopped producing art during the 1970s. He took part in other activities such as working creatively with psychiatric patients, only returning to his own art practice with the creation of inter-active, computer-based environments during the 1980s and 1990s.