Arte Povera and Its Aftermath


*With Dr. Nike Bätzner (Art historian), Gianni Caravaggio (Artist), Federico Ferrari (Philosopher and Art critic); moderation: Lilian Engelmann (Curator)*

What is the relationship between contemporary artistic exploration of sculpture and the artistic styles of the past? Does a comparison with Arte Povera prove fruitful in interpreting contemporary sculpture? What are the subjects that today’s sculptors address? These were the questions that the presentation has delved into as part of the exhibition “Arte Essenziale”.

The term “Arte Povera” was coined by the curator and critic Germano Celant in 1967. It refers to a group of artists in northern Italy and Rome who created installations and objects in the 1960s and 70s using common materials like soil, plaster, wire or twine. For the most part, the aim was to define space, in both a literal and figurative sense: social space was meant as much as exhibition space. In this respect, “Arte Povera” took part in a Europe-wide artistic development, to which belonged Joseph Beuys, for instance, and his idea of the “social plastic”: artists do not deliver prefabricated world views but rather material that stirs the viewer’s thoughts. The social reality always played a role in this. Art was seen as part of life and not as a sphere that existed independently of daily working life. Among the proponents of “Arte Povera” are Michelangelo Pistoletto, Alighiero Boetti, Lucio Fontana, and Jannis Kounellis.

Still today, many young artists are interested in the question of how artistic processes can be made visible through manipulating and presenting simple material, and how, in so doing, contemplation about the nature of the world can be kindled. What is central to them here is how the nature of material used in art can be accented, rather than reducing it to a means to an end in the creation of artistic work. These are the artistic positions that could be encountered in the exhibition “Arte Essenziale”; they served as the basis for the podium discussion.

The event is organized in cooperation with the CULTURAL DAYS OF THE EUROPEAN CENTRAL BANK – Italy 2011.

€ 4 (Free admission for members of Frankfurter Kunstverein)