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Portrait of the artist Piero Manzoni. Photo: Ugo Mulas (detail)
Portrait of the artist Piero Manzoni. Photo: Ugo Mulas (detail)

Italian artist Piero Manzoni was one of the pre-eminent exponents of 20th century conceptual art. Born in 1933 in Soncino, Manzoni began studying law at the Accademia di Brera in Milan in 1951. In 1954 he cut short his law studies in order to pursue degrees in art and philosophy, first in Rome later in Milan. Manzoni had begun taking private painting lessons in 1953. His early works were traditional landscapes and portraits, but from 1954 onward – inspired by artists such as Alberto Burri, Lucio Fontana and Jean Fautrier – he began experimenting with materials such as oil, plaster and enamel. In 1957 Manzoni, along with Fontana, joined the Gruppo Nucleare, which attempted to reject all forms of academicism. Impressed by Yves Klein’s monochrome works, Manzoni strove toward a complete detachment from colour and form, seeking to create pure works that were free from all associations as an expression of total emptiness.

These ideas resulted in the Achromes, colourless images created using materials such as cotton, cotton wool, or fur on plaster ground, with which Manzoni provoked his audiences and challenged the conventional ways of seeing. Manzoni’s work was shown in 1968 at documenta 5 in Kassel as well as at the Venice Biennale in 1972. He has been featured in numerous solo exhibitions, including at the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris in 1991, the Museo d'Arte Contemporanea Donnaregina in Naples in 2007 and at the Städel Museum in Frankfurt/Main in 2013. His work is represented in many important public collections including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, Tate Modern in London and the Galleria Civica d'Arte Moderna e Contemporanea in Turin. Piero Manzoni died in Milan in 1963.

Publications

Exhibitions

Solo exhibitions
2020
Piero Manzoni in Japan: First Step

Yu-un Obayashi Collection / Shugo Arts, Tokyo, Japan

2019
Manzoni in Holland

Stedelijk Museum Schiedam, Schiedam, Netherlands

2018
Solo. Piero Manzoni

Museo Novecento, Florence, Italy

2017
Tesoro nascosti della collezione La Gaia: Fontana e Manzoni

Castello Acaja, Fossano, Italy

2016
Piero Manzoni. Achromes: Linea Infinita

Mazzoleni Art, London, UK

2016
Achrome. Piero Manzoni, la peinture sans couleur

Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts de Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland

2015
Piero Manzoni

MAM Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo, Sao Paulo, Brazil

2014
Piero Manzoni 1933 – 1964

Palazzo Reale, Milan, Italy

2013
Piero Manzoni - When Bodies Became Art

Städel Museum, Frankfurt/Main, Germany

2009
Manzoni. A Retrospective

Gagosian Gallery, New York, USA

2007
Manzoni - Tilbage i Paradis

HEART - Herning Museum of Contemporary Art, Herning, Denmark

2007
Piero Manzoni

MADRE - Museo D'Arte Contemporanea Donna Regina, Naples, Italy

2003
Piero Manzoni

Sprovieri, London, UK

2003
Piero Manzoni. Achrome

Galerie Karsten Greve, Cologne, Germany

2002
Piero Manzoni

Studio Gastaldelli, Milan, Italy

2000
Piero Manzoni. Consumazione Dell'Arte Dinamica del Pubblico Divorare L'Arte. Mostra Dossier 8

Società per le Belle Arti ed Esposizione Permanente, Milan, Italy

1999
Merda d’artista. Omkring et kunstværk af Piero Manzoni

Randers Kunstmuseum, Randers, Denmark

1998
Piero Manzoni

Galerie Karsten Greve, Cologne, Germany

1998
Piero Manzoni

Serpentine Gallery, London, UK

1997
Piero Manzoni. Milano et Mitologia

Palazzo Reale, Milan, Italy

1996
Piero Manzoni. 21 Opere della Raccolta Karsten Greve

La Foce, Castelluccio di Pienza, Italy

Group exhibitions
2021
The Paradox of Stillness: Art, Object, and Performance

Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN, USA

2020
Lucio Fontana and the worlds beyond the canvas. Between object and painting

Galleria Comunale D'arte Contemporanea Di Monfalcone, Monfalcone, Italy

2020
La rivoluzione siamo noi. Collezionismo italiano contemporaneo / We are the Revolution. Contemporary Italian Collecting

XNL Piacenza Contemporanea, Piacenza, Italy

2020
0 /∞ Zero and Infinity

Yayoi Kusama Museum, Tokyo, Japan

2019
Utopia. Italian Art and Design

ZKM Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie, Karlsruhe, Germany

2019
Constellations: a choreography of minimal gestures

Berardo Museum, Lisbon, Portugal

2019
Utopia. Italian Art and Design

TornabuoniArt, Paris, France

2019
Fini & Confini – Dal Paesaggio al Territorio

Museo del Paesaggio di Torre di Mosto,Torre di Mosto, Italy

2018
Immer anders, immer gleich. Ein Versuch über Kunst und Systeme

Bündner Kunstmuseum, Chur, Switzerland

2018
RE.USE - Waste, objects, ecology in contemporary art

Museo di Santa Caterina, Treviso, Italy

2018
Painting with Method: Neoavantgarde Positions from the mumok Collection

mumok - Museum moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien, Vienna, Austria

2018
Nascita di una Nazione. Tra Guttuso, Fontana e Schifano

Palazzo Strozzi, Florence, Italy

2018
Tutto. Perspectives on Italian Art

Museion, Bolzano, Italy

2018
Tutto. Perspectives on Italian Art

Sammlung Goetz, Munich, Germany

2017
Thinking Out Loud: Notes For an Evolving Collection

The Warehouse, Dalls, TX, USA

2017
Mazzoleni 1986-2016: 30 Years of Art 30 Italian Artists

Mazzoleni London, London, UK

2017
Monochrome: A Dialogue Between Burri, Fontana, Klein, Manzoni, and Stingel

Nahmad Contemporary, New York, NY, USA

2017
Red over Yellow. A Selection from a Private Collection

Sam and Ayala Zacks Pavillon, Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Tel Aviv, Israel

2017-18
A Tale of Two Worlds. Experimentelle Kunst Lateinamerikas der 1940er- bis 80er-Jahre im Dialog mit der Sammlung des MMK

MMK - Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt a. Main, Germany

2016
Beckmann, Picasso, Giacometti & more

Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein, Vaduz, Liechtenstein

2016
Just a Can – Shit or Gold?

HEART - Herning Museum of Contemporary Art, Herning, Denmark

2016
Italia Pop. L'Arte Negli Anni Del Boom

Fondazione Magnani Rocca, Parma, Italy

2016
Macba Collection 31

MACBA - Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain

2016
Un art Pauvre

Centre Pompidou, Paris, France

2016
Painting 2.0 – Malerei im Informationszeitalter

mumok - Museum moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien, Vienna, Austria

2015
Painting and Sculpture – From Classical Modernism to the Present Day. Opening Exhibition of the Hiltl Art Foundation

Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein, Vaduz, Liechtenstein

2015
Zero. Die Internationale Kunstbewegung der 1950er und 60er Jahre

Gropius Bau, Berlin, Germany

2015
Nach dem frühen Tod

Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden, Baden-Baden, Germany

2015
SELF: Portraits of Artists in Their Absence

National Academy Museum, New York, NY, USA

2015
Painting 2.0: Expression in the Information Age

Museum Brandhorst, Munich, Germany

2015-16
An Imagined Museum: works from the Centre Pompidou, the Tate and the MMK collections

Tate Liverpool, UK; travelled to: MMK - Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt am. Main, Germany, Centre Pompidou, Metz, France

2015
Zero: Let Us Explore the Stars

Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Netherlands

2014
The Warm Statues/ Sculpture – Body – Action, 1945 – 2013

Museo Marino Marini, Florence, Italy

2014
A Inusitada

Museu de Arte de São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil

2014
AZIMUT/H. Continuità e nuovo

Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice, Italy

2014
Weiss - Aspekte einer Farbe in Moderne und Gegenwart

Museum im Kulturspeicher, Würzburg, Germany

2014
The Paradox of Sculpture

National Academy Museum, New York, NY, USA

2014
Zero: Countdown To Tomorrow, 1950s-60s

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY, USA

2013
White – Photography, Art, Design, Fashion, Film

Nederlands Fotomuseum, Rotterdam, Netherlands

2013
The Whole Earth

Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, Germany

2013
Nuage

Musée Réattu, Arles, France

2013
Prima Materia – Punto della Dogana

François Pinault Foundation, Venice, Italy

2013
La Rinascita. Storie dell'Italia che ce l'ha fatta. 1945-1971

Palazzo Ottolenghi, Asti, Italy

2013
Zero

Fundacao Ibere Camargo, Porto Alegre, Brazil

2013
Eine Handvoll Erde aus dem Paradies, Magische Objekte und Bilder aus dem Museum Morsbroich

Museum Morsbroich, Leverkusen, Germany

2012
Martin Visser: Collector, Designer, Free Spirit

Bonnefantenmuseum, Maastricht, Netherlands

2012
Light of Hometown, Collection of Ex BSN Niigata Museum

Niigata City Art Museum, Niigata, Japan

2012
Beuys Warhol Picasso & Co.

Kunsthalle Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany

2012
In Astratto – Arte Astratta in Italia 1930-1981

CAMeC - Centro de Arte Moderna e Contemporanea della Spezia, La Spezia, Italy

2012
Nieuwe Kunst in Antwerpen 1958-1962 – 5 Maar Het Zien Zelf

MuHKA - Museum voor Hedendaagse Kunst Antwerpen, Antwerp, Belgium

2012
Claudia Gian Ferrari, Collezionista, Gallerista E Storica

Museo del Novecento, Milan, Italy

2012
The Small Utopia. Arts Multiplicata

Fondazione Prada, Venice, Italy

2012
Meneer Delta – Een Galerie-Houder en Verzamelaar Het Museum

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam, Netherlands

2012
bianco assoluto/ white

Kanalidarte, Brescia, Italy

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