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Piero Manzoni (1933 - 1963)
Lifespan: 1933 - 1963
Related: bodily fluids in art - contemporary art - scatological art - Italian art - performance art - perversion in modern art
Key works: Merda d'artista/artist's excrement (1961) - Piero Manzoni [image link]
In May 1961 Manzoni defecated into 90 small cans and had them sealed with the text "artist's excrement". In the following years they have spread to various art collections all over the world and netted large prizes. Many of them have also exploded, maybe because of corrosion and expanding gases. [Apr 2006]
Piero Manzoni (Soncino, Cremona July 13, 1933 - Milan February 6, 1963) was an Italian artist.
When Manzoni did paintings, he experimented with various pigments and materials. In one case he used phosphorescent paint and cobalt chloride so the colors would change over time. However, he had some less ordinary ideas as well. They included sculptures made of white cotton wool, fiberglass, rabbit skin and fake bread rolls.
In 1958 he had "pneumatic sculptures", 45 blow-up-membranes. The buyer could also have Manzoni's own breath inside the membrane. He also tried to create a mechanical animal as a moving sculpture, using solar energy as a power source. In 1960 he created a sphere that was held aloft on a jet of air.
In 1960 Manzoni marked a number of hard-boiled eggs as works of art by imprinting them with his thumbprint. He let the spectators eat the whole exhibition in 70 minutes. He also began to sell prints of his thumbprints. He also designated number of people, including Umberto Eco, as walking works of art.
In May 1961 Manzoni defecated into 90 small cans and had them sealed with the text "artist's excrement". In the following years they have spread to various art collections all over the world and netted large prizes. Many of them have also exploded, maybe because of corrosion and expanding gases.
The same year he signed naked people for exhibitions and even gave certificates of authenticity. He also designated a "magic base"; as long as someone was standing on the base they were a work of art.
Piero Manzoni died in his studio in Italy. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piero_Manzoni [Apr 2006]
The Tate values excrement more highly than goldBy Catherine Milner, Arts Correspondent (Filed: 30/06/2002)
Critics of modern art will at least applaud the irony. The Tate Gallery has paid £22,300 of public money for a work that is, quite literally, a load of excrement.
The canned faeces of Piero Manzoni, one of Italy's most controversial artists, have been bought by the gallery from a sale at Sotheby's.
Can 004 is one of an "edition" of 90 tins of merda d'artista created by Manzoni in 1961 as an ironic statement on the art market. Each can contained 30 grams of his faeces and Manzoni sold it for the same price as if it were gold. --http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2002/06/30/nart30.xml [May 2004]
Bertozzi & CasoniBertozzi & Casoni, who very carefully produced ceramic versions of Piero Manzoni’s legendary “merda d’artista” (Artist’s Shit) of 1961 --http://www.coupland.com/art/art04.html [Aug 2004]
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