- Category : Art-Fine-art-artist
- Type : MGE
- Profile : 1/3 - Investigating / Martyr
- Definition : Triple Split
- Incarnation Cross : RAX Maya 2
Italian artist best known for his ironic approach to avant-garde art. Manzoni is most famous for a series of artworks that call into question the nature of the art object, directly prefiguring Conceptual Art. His work eschews normal artist's materials, instead using everything from rabbit fur to human excrement in order to "tap mythological sources and to realize authentic and universal values".
His work is widely seen as a critique of the mass production and consumerism that was changing Italian society (the Italian economic miracle) after World War II.
He founded the Gallery Azimuth, Milan, in 1959 with the artist Enrico Castellani, and proceeded to put on a series of revolutionary exhibitions of multiples. In July 1960 he exhibited Consumption of Art by the Art-Devouring Public, in which he hard-boiled 70 eggs, printed his thumprint onto them, and after eating several himself handed them out to the audience to eat. The eggs themselves were titled Uova con impronta (Egg With Thumbprint). This was the last exhibition by Manzoni at Azimuth, after which the gallery was forced to close when the lease ran out.
In May 1961 Manzoni created 90 small cans, sealed with the text Artist's Shit (Merda d'Artista). Each 30-gram can was priced by weight based on the current value of gold (around $1.12 a gram in 1960). The contents of the cans remain a much-disputed enigma, since opening them would destroy the value of the artwork.
Other works from this period include limited edition thumbprints, and the Declarations of Authenticity, 1961-61, a printed multiple that could be bought, proving the owner's status as either part or whole work of art, depending on the price paid. He also designated a number of people, including Umberto Eco, as authentic works of art gratis. Various other experimental pieces included trying to create a mechanical animal as a moving sculpture and using solar energy as a power source. In 1960 he created a sphere that was held aloft on a jet of air.
Piero Manzoni died of myocardial infarction in his studio in Milan on 6 February 1963, near his Saturn return of 10 February.