ballon, wooden base
10.05.07 | 24.09.07
Milan, Archivio Opera Manzoni
On display form 2007 to 2012 (February)
Conceived in 1959 as the Corpi d’aria, the Fiati d’artista (“Artist’s Breath”) made by Manzoni in 1960 were balloons blown up by the artist, tied with a piece of twine with a seal attached to it, inscribed “Piero Manzoni” and secured to a wooden base. They were exhibited for the first time at the Galleria Azimut in Milan in May 1961. In the same year, after his thumb prints, Manzoni conceived his tins of Merde d’artista (“Artist’s Shit”) and planned to produce vials of “artist’s blood.” In this way he took to its extreme a process of humanization of art which was the mirror image of the transformation of people into works of art with his “Magic Base” and “Living Sculptures.” He celebrated his “communion with art” in July 1960 by the handing out hardboiled eggs bearing his thumb print at the performance Consumption of Art, Dynamics of the Public Devouring Art. Manzoni went so far as to elevate the body of the artist, both his vital and his excremental fluids, to the status of works of art tout court. In the case of the Artist’s Breath, this was strengthened by the presence of the base, described as “magic”, while the thread with its seal seems to suggest an analogy with the “Appellation Contrôlée” mark, assimilating the work to a quality consumer product: a product all the more special not only because it emanates from the artist’s own body, but because it is invisible and impalpable, so its existence requires a special attestation.
Manzoni was born in Soncino, in the province of Cremona, on July 13th 1933, of counts Meroni Manzoni di Chiosca and Poggiolo. He studied in Milan at the Leone XIII classical ...
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