The term Arte Povera was coined in 1967 by the critic Germano Celant to describe a group of Italian artists making work that used the simplest means to create poetic statements based on the events of everyday life. Seen as a reaction against the commercialism of the art market and the dominance of American Minimalist and Pop art, the work demonstrated a keen hunger to explore new materials. Suddenly, art could be made from anything: living things, products of the earth, industrially produced materials, moisture, sound or energy.
Remarkable as a group phenomenon, Arte Povera included an extraordinary array of individual talents including Giovanni Anselmo, Alighiero Boetti, Jannis Kounellis, Mario Merz, Marisa Merz, Giulio Paolini, Giuseppe Penone and Michelangelo Pistoletto.
In this fully illustrated survey Robert Lumley provides a concise and highly readable interpretation of Arte Povera informed by extensive interviews with the artists themselves.
Robert Lumley is Professor of Italian Cultural History at University College London.