To Dream, to Collect

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 “I could have done that” is something not too uncommon to hear visitors utter in modern art museums. But the fact still remains that even if you could have, you didn’t and you surely did not have the idea of it. So by now most of the ideas, even the shittiest ones, pardon my language and yes pun definitely intended, has been executed, literally.

In 1961 the Italian artist Piero Manzoni created the “Merda d’Artista” or “Artist’s shit” as it is known in English. An artwork consisting of 90 small cans labeled Artist’s shit, weighing 30 gram each and priced by weight based on the current value of gold at the time. Manzoni also did a similar series the Artist’s shit called Artist's Breath where he sold his breath in the form of blown up balloons.

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But he went down in history much acknowledged by his "Merda d'Artista". However if the cans really contain Manzoni’s excrement is until this day a well-discussed mystery since opening them would ruin the value of the artwork. Few would really take that risks especially given the fact that in 2007, one of the cans was sold at Sotheby's Auction for £124,000

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These works executed later in his carrier often questioned and criticised the status of the art object as it had been portrayed throughout the modernism movement. He was very much influenced by Marcel Duchamp and his contemporary Yves Klein. He was known as a critique of the mass production and consumerism that was sweeping over the Post War Italian society.




Manzoni died very young, at just the age of 29, in 1963. He did, however, manage to leave behind an important legacy.  He paved the way for the Arte Povera movement in Italy and was at the same time one of the artists that directly prefigured the Conceptual Art movement. That is indeed, NOT a shitty endeavour!


Stay Tuned on Kooness magazine for more exciting news from the art world.

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