Home Artists Piero Manzoni


Piero Manzoni

1933 - 1963
Soncino, Italy

2 Works exhibited on Kooness


Works by Piero Manzoni

Merda d'artista


7.5 x 6 x 7.5cm

Piero Manzoni was born on 13 July 1933 in Soncino (a village in the Po Valley in the province of Cremona). He grew up in Milan, spending his summer holidays at Albisola Capo (a seaside resort on the Liguria Riviera), where he and his parents used to meet Lucio Fontana, the founder of the Spatialism avant-garde movement.

Piero Manzoni made his debut in 1956 at the "Fiera Mercato" in the Castello Sforzesco of Soncino. The next year he took part in the exposition "Movimento Arte Nucleare" at the Galleria San Fedele, Milan. At that time his works were anthropomorphic silhouettes and canvases bearing the imprints of ordinary everyday objects. 
In 1957 he painted the first Achromes: completely white canvases covered with rough gesso and imbued with glue and liquid kaolin (white clay used in the production of porcelain).

In 1958 Piero Manzoni exposed with Lucio Fontana, the founder of the Spatialism, and Enrico Baj, the founder of the Nuclear Art. In the same year he had begun the collaboration with two young artists, Enrico Castellani and Agostino Bonalumi. In 1959 they edited the first issue of "Azimuth", an avant-garde magazine, and founded the art gallery Azimut (run by Castellani and Manzoni).

On July 21, 1960, in Milan, Manzoni realized one of his more famous manifestations: the Consumption of dynamic art by the art-devouring public ("Consumazione dell'arte dinamica del pubblico divorare l'arte"). Manzoni marked with his thumbprint some hard-cooked eggs and offered them to the visitors, who were thus invited to "devour" art.

In 1961, in Rome, Piero Manzoni certificated his first human beings with his signature in order to create Living Sculptures. In the same year he carried through his most shocking gesture: he offered for sale at the then-current price of gold, ninety cans of Artist's Shit, each with a net weight of thirty grams. Piero Manzoni succumbed to a fatal infarction at the age of twenty-nine, in Milan, on 6 February 1963.

Manzoni's works were often featured at Galleria Azimuth. His work has been the subject of numerous international exhibitions, including retrospectives at the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (1991), Castello di Rivoli-Museo d'Arte Contemporanea (1992), the Serpentine Gallery, London (1998), at the Museo d'Arte Contemporanea Donnaregina, Naples (2007), curated by Germano Celant, and in 2019 "Piero Manzoni: Materials of His Time" at Hauser & Wirth's Los Angeles and then New York City galleries.

Speech, (analysis) for the Piero Manzoni line by Vincenzo Agnetti, Azimuth Gallery, Milan 1959.
Preface to the 8 assessment tables by Piero Manzoni by Vincenzo Agnetti, ed.Scheiwiller, Milan 1962.
Around the by Vincenzo Agnetti, in Piero Manzoni, ed.Scheiwiller, Milan 1963.
The Achromes by Piero Manzoni, by Vincenzo Agnetti, in Contemporary Research, ed. Scheiwiller, Milan 1970.
Piero Manzoni, Germano Celant (Curator), Jon Thompson (Contributions), Charta, 1998.
Piero Manzoni, In the appendix all the writings of the artist, Di Elio Grazioli, Bollati Boringhieri, 2007.
Jacopo Galimberti, The Intellectual and the Fool: Piero Manzoni between the Milanese Art Scene and the Land of Cockaigne, volume 35, issue 1, The Oxford Art Journal, 2012, pp. 75-93.