Art Index: Piero Manzoni
Piero Manzoni, (photo courtesy of the net)
Piero Manzoni (July 13, 1933 – February 6,1963) was an Italian mostly self thought
artist best known for his ironic approach to avant-garde art, and for his shocking pieces that questioned the nature of art objects. His first exhibition was at the Soncino's Castle in Soncino in August 1956, at the age of 23. In 1957 he visited the Yves Klein's exhibition Epoca Blu at the Galleria Apollinaire in Milan, which irrevocably influenced his work , in response of which, he created Achromes, a serie of monochrome paintings and installations which invariably looked white being instead colourless. His later works, from approximately 1957 until his death, he questioned and satirized the status of the art object as it had been conceived throughout modernism. Influences include earlier artists like Marcel Duchamp and contemporaneous practitioners Ben Vautier, Lucio Fontana, Alberto Burri, and of course Yves Klein.
Yves Klein, Untitled monochrome blue, (IKB 3), 1960 © Adagp, Paris
Piero Manzoni, Achromes, (courtesy of the net)
Manzoni's work deliberately avoids using normal artist's materials: in addiction, he pushes the artist's own bodily products to became art, (think about the most famous Merda d'Artista*, or the use of fingerprints to ensure his works paternity, blood, and breath also figured into his experimental body of work), and in this doing, he clearly accuses the new social, artistic and economical revolution which invested Italy after the war, creating a never-lived vague of consumism.
Manzoni died of myocardial infarction in his studio in Milan.
Manzoni's work is represented in many public collections, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Tate Modern, London; the Galleria Civica d'Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, Turin; and the Museum of Contemporary Art Villa Croce in Genoa.
*In May 1961 Manzoni created 90 small cans, sealed with the text Artist's Shit. Each 30-gram can was priced by weight based on the current value of gold (around $1.12 a gram in 1960).
According to the website Artprice.com, the turnover of Manzoni's Artwork in 2018 woths 8.56 million dollars (40 lots sold), and the price evolution in 2018 is plus 19.1%, even if $100 invested in a work by Manzoni in 2000 would be worth an average of $55 (-45%) in December 2018. From the beginning of the century, Manzoni's most bought artpieces are paintings (54% of lots sold), followed sculpture-volumes (26% with 123 artworks). On October 16, 2015, tin 54 was sold at Christies for the astonishing sum of £182,500. The tins were originally to be valued according to their equivalent weight in gold – $37 each in 1961 – with the price fluctuating according to the market.
Selected artworks currently on sale:
Piero MANZONI, Achrome, 1960, 101 x 80 cm
Astarte S.A., Lugano, Switzerland
Piero Manzoni, Merda d'Artista, 1961/2013, 6.4 × 7.6 cm
Alessandro Berni Gallery, New York
Upcoming public auctions Studio d'Arte Borromeo, 26 Jan 2019 Via Piave 3/B 20030 Senago MI Italy