With its exhibition “Un Art Pauvre”, Centre Pompidou presents a new multidisciplinary analysis of the ideas of Arte Povera (literally poor art or impoverished art) movement that originated in the 1960s in Europe. The exhibition focuses on the ideas of “poor” and “plainness” in modern art through an interesting survey of the movement’s impact on visual arts as well as its interlinkages with the fields of music, design, architecture, theatre, performing arts and experimental cinema.

The Arte Povera Movement

Arte Povera was an artistic movement that came into being with the publication of critic Germano Celant’s manifesto “Arte Povera: Appunti per una guerriglia” (Arte Povera: notes for a guerrilla war) in Flash Art in November 1967. Artist Alighiero Boetti designed the manifesto poster which featured a list of 16 Italian artists who formed the Arte Povera group. Celant’s revolutionary manifesto and the subsequent years of the Arte Povera movement invoked art as a means to counter the rising consumerism and to challenge the superstructure of capitalism. By questioning the “use value” of art and with a focus on simplicity, the Arte Povera movement opposed American pop culture and minimalism that were viewed in Italy as another exported product from an industrialised nation.

Exhibition Un Art Pauvre at Centre Pompidou, Paris | Urban Mishmash
Alighiero BOETTI, Manifesto, [Manifeste], (1967)
© Centre Pomidou/Dist. RMN-GP, © Adagp, Paris 2016

Exhibition at Galerie 4

The exhibition at Galerie 4 focuses on the striking characteristics of the Arte Povera movement, such as the use of natural and waste material, writings and spoken word, tautology, vitality and animality. The exhibition features some 40 works by the movement’s leading representatives, including those by Lucio Fontana, Piero Manzoni and Alberto Burri, who were the three pivotal figures of post-World War Italian art. Historic printed and photographic documents have also been presented to demonstrate the linkages between the artists and their works.

Architecture and Design at Level 5

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