Arte Povera in the collection

Curated by Ida Gianelli, Marcella Beccaria, Giorgio Verzotti


Arte Povera, which developed during the second half of the ‘Sixties simultaneous to analogous international movements such as Process Art and Conceptual Art, proposed an artistic working methodology that, establishing a relationship among various languages and emphasizing an “asystematic way of living,” radically affirmed the need to relate to primary elements and non-traditional materials that might directly express natural energy and ideas.

 “Arte Povera in the Collection” inaugurates the “Project for Modern and Contemporary Art” promoted by the CRT Foundation as part of its institutional activities to advance and protect art, in order to  enhance the modern and contemporary art system in Piedmont and to support synergies and the international role of the museum hub in Turin, through the acquisition of groups of historical works for the collections of Castello di Rivoli and the Galleria Civica d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea di Torino. On the occasion of this exhibition, the acquisition of Arte Povera works dating from 1967 to 1971, from the collection of Margherita Stein, has made it possible to present a complete view of the genesis of these poetics and, by placing this group of works alongside works already belonging to the permanent collections of the two museums, to document more recent outcomes through the individual paths of the movement’s leading figures.

The exhibition places the works of Giovanni Anselmo and Gilberto Zorio, where processes such as oxidation or gravitational force assume physical concreteness, in conjunction with work by Alighiero Boetti, objects that playfully interpret the complexity of mental and cognitive processes, Michelangelo Pistoletto, where the artist translated the very principle of “reflection” through the use of mirror surfaces, and Giulio Paolini, where viewers are encouraged to penetrate the very meaning of the processes of vision and artistic creation.

While in Luciano Fabro’s works the concreteness of doing is proposed as an experience of the world through his research into form, color, materials and reworked references, those of Pier Paolo Calzolari instead explore the experience of the sublime through the use of malleable materials that embody symbolic and allegorical references. In his trees and in his installations where he resorts to elements such as potatoes or laurel leaves, Giuseppe Penone expresses the mysterious joining of the self to everything and to a possible harmony between the creation of the artist and natural creation, a harmony that becomes a poetic reflection on the dramatic scission between the individual and history, both personal and collective, in the work of Jannis Kounellis. The everyday lyricism of the portraits and metal embroideries of Marisa Merz, an expression of a mainly private dimension, unfolds to indicate moments of universal poetry, a visionary harmony between individual and universe that also comes through in the igloos of Mario Merz.