Arte Povera is an Italian art movement that emerged in the late 1960s, characterized by its use of unconventional materials and its focus on the concept of 'poor art.' This article will explore the origins, development, and influence of the Arte Povera art movement.
The term Arte Povera (literally 'poor art') was first used by the Italian art critic Germano Celant in 1967 to describe an emerging movement of Italian artists. These artists were strongly influenced by the political and social changes taking place in Italy in the late 1960s, namely the student protests and the rise of the labor movement. The Arte Povera movement was a reaction to the commercialization of art and the increasing emphasis on abstract expressionism in the art world. These artists sought to create art that was grounded in the everyday, working with whatever materials were available to them. Often these materials included discarded objects, natural elements, and industrial materials.
The movement was largely led by a group of Italian artists, including Michelangelo Pistoletto, Alighiero Boetti, Jannis Kounellis, and Mario Merz. Each of these artists had their own distinct style, but they all shared a common goal of creating art that was accessible to all. They sought to create art that was not simply an expression of an artist's personal feelings, but instead was a reflection of the world around them. This approach was exemplified by Pistoletto's use of mirrors, which he used to create reflections of the viewer in his work, thus connecting the viewer to the artwork.
While the Arte Povera movement was primarily an Italian phenomenon, its influence was felt beyond Italy's borders. The movement was particularly influential in the United States, with the work of the Arte Povera artists inspiring a new generation of American artists, such as Robert Rauschenberg and Bruce Nauman. These artists adopted many of the techniques used by the Arte Povera artists, including the use of everyday materials and the creation of art that was accessible to all.
The Arte Povera art movement has had a lasting impact on the art world, influencing many of the artists who followed in its wake. The movement's focus on the everyday, its use of unconventional materials, and its emphasis on accessibility have all become hallmarks of contemporary art. Arte Povera also served as a precursor to the more recent movements of postmodernism and installation art, both of which have embraced the same approach to art.
In conclusion, the Arte Povera art movement was an important development in the history of art. The movement's focus on the everyday and its use of unconventional materials were an inspiration to the generations of artists that followed, and its influence can still be felt in the art world today.