Arte povera, Italy’s answer to pop art, is exhibited in Paris

What we would like is the reaction of the radical avant-garde, arte povera artists in France today, as it was in Italy in 1960-1975, during the scandalous speculations in the art market. It’s a matter of responding soberly to the productivity of American pop art that invades walls by displaying consumerism. Not to be outdone was the Fluxus movement in France at the time, which believed that art made life more interesting than art…

Questions about the identity and role of the author

Diane Dufour, director of BAL, and Quentin Bajac, director of the Jeu de Paume, two Parisian venues dedicated to photography, one of the important artists of this movement, thanks to Giuliano Sergio, professor at the School of Fine Arts in Venice, who has worked for ten years on the role of photography, video and film in this movement has a joint exhibition idea called “Reverser ses yeux” named after the series of works of the same name by Giuseppe Penone. .

Exhibiting nearly 250 works by 49 artists, the fruit of long-term research in artists’ studios, private and public collections, it insists on a new approach to art in which the process is as important as the result.

At the BAL, where the hangings in the great hall are exquisite, the exhibition opens with the first sequence of Federico Fellini’s iconic film. Good life. It’s 1960, and two helicopters carrying a statue of Christ fly over the new neighborhoods under construction in Rome.

Italian political and social life is turbulent, marked by strikes and student movements. The era of neorealism is over, gestures have lost their dramatic vein, a whole generation of artists questions the identity and role of the author, his relationship to time and space, instead of reality.

“Photography is not a thought, but an action”

Artists take over cities. Filmed by Ugo Nespolo, Michelangelo Pistoletto pushes a newspaper ball under Turin’s arcades; Mario Cresci places a photo roll on the streets of Rome; Franco Vaccari uses Photobooth to create a collective portrait of Italy; Michel Zaza’s unsettling interventions in public space are attempts by his more visible, more accessible practice to bring art and society together. “Photography is not a thought, but an action”, they announce.

In the short film ricotta, Pier Paolo Pasolini, depriving religious paintings of their biblical content, returns holy figures to a common genre. For their part, Mimmo Jodice and Luigi Ghirri lead a very fruitful critical reflection on their medium, photography. Ugo Mulas is not the last. From 1968 until his death in 1973, he made a sum called Checks which is not satisfied with a documentary report based on the creativity of these artists, but tries to make a point of view and a critical account.

The materiality of the body

Jeu de Paume dedicates 7 rooms to these gestures, performances, experiments, installations and ephemeral works. It is particularly edifying to hang many of Michelangelo Pistoletto’s mirror paintings, where the viewer is on the same scale, on the same plane, and often in the same degree of reality as the characters represented, thus bridging the gap between art and life. . The artist explains it like this: “The mirror pushes us forward, into the future of future images, and at the same time, it pushes us in the direction from which the photographic image comes, that is, into the past. »

As for Giuseppe Penone of Turin, he began to inscribe his body into nature’s creations, in keeping with the idea that man and nature are part of an inseparable whole, which has influenced all his work from the beginning to this day. In the 1970s, he conducted a series of events that explored the materiality of the body. Therefore, a famous series that will be repeated many times and immortalized by several photographers Roll your eyes.

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