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Lumley, Robert
Habitable Art: In and Around Piero Gilardi

building with words translation Italian e inglese house domus Domus table Piacentino swing Marisa interior design Michelangelo minus lying in the grass bombs over Turin lost world found in museum natura morta building-site industrial painting Pinot book-cover seagulls sit-in Gian Enzo wall floor ceiling Fabro parquet cement inflammable Kounellis river-bed Alighiero unstable object in Switzerland Tristan Tzara balla futurista TT DDP Flash guerriglia Fiat asylum Zoo Levi West Coast soft igloo tent Zorio Bosco dei mostri corso Casale church fresco restoration New York Accademia Albertina polyurethane machine plywood Strum landscape arte abitabile

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Rossi, Catharine
Playing with the Povera: Connections between Art, Architecture and Design in 1970s Italy

Piero Gilardi and the Arte Povera movement took place amidst a wider set of avant-garde practices in art, design and architecture in early 1970s Italy, whose interconnections have not been sufficiently explored. From Riccardo Dalisi’s thesis of tecnica povera, tested out by street children in the playgrounds of Naples, to Enzo Mari’s Autoprogettazione, a project of DIY consciousness raising and Superstudio’s utopian combination of nature and the high-tech, there are clear parallels between the Radical architecture and design of this period and Gilardi’s work. This paper will explore these commonalities and this wider context in order to unlock and understand this period, and Gilardi, in greater depth.

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New Translations

Gilardi, Piero
Open Letter to the Head of to the head of the Social Security Department of the Province of Turin (1980)

Piero Gilardi’s worked as an independent creative facilitator, and Art Instructor working within Psychiatric Services in Turin, from 1969 until 1980. This Open Letter articulates the grounds for his resignation, and outlines his involvement in debates surrounding psychiatric services and their reform in 1970s Italy. A key point of reference is Franco Basaglia, the Venetian psychiatrist permanently associated with Law 180, the Italian Mental Health Act of 1978. Also known as the ‘Basaglia Law’, it contained directives for the closing down of all psychiatric hospitals, and their gradual replacement with community-based services. A sense of disillusionment with how Law 180 was implemented in Turin led to Piero Gilardi’s resignation from the Psychiatric Services, in 1980.

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Piero Gilardi & Michelangelo Pistoletto, Correspondence c.1980

Over a series of four letters and after a hiatus of ten years Piero Gilardi and Michelangelo Pistoletto re-establish a conversation concerning their mutual investment in the vexed question of how to relate art to life. The series of letters opens with Pistoletto’s enquiry into the bases for Gilardi’s decision to quit the art scene in 1969 in favour of engagement with grass roots politics.

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Selected online resources

PAV (Parco Arte Vivente)

Gilardi’s Park of Living Art, Turin
Blog produced as an outcome of a research residency at PAV, the contemporary art space established by Piero Gilardi in Turin in 2008. The blog includes an introductory essay together with detailed descriptions of Gilardi’s permanent installation, Bioma, the public workshops that have taken place since PAV’s founding, and the major land art commissions installed within its grounds.

Documents - Documents

An interview with Piero Gilardi
A 1967 interview with Gilardi, by LeGrace Benson and Gabriele Muresu, conducted on the occasion of his first solo exhibition in the USA and published in the journal Leonardo (Vol. 1, No. 4, 1968)

Arte Povera

Notes for a Guerilla War
Online reprint of the seminal 1967 article by Germano Celant, which cites Gilardi’s transition from the production of the Nature Carpets, via his participation in the 1966 Arte Abitabile exhibition, towards the production of more rudimentary forms, the wheelbarrow, saw, ladder, sandal and comb.

Italy, The New Domestic Landscape

MOMA New York, 1972
Press Release produced by MOMA on the occasion of “Italy: the New Domestic Landscape: Achievements and Problems of Italian Design”. This was one the largest exhibitions of Italian post-war design; curated by the Argentine architect Emilio Ambasz and featuring the work of Piero Gilardi. This exhibition is examined by Catherine Rossi’s contribution to this Dossier.

David Ebony, Piero Gilardi

Art in America Feature Article
Article published on the occasion of Gilardi being featured in two 2010 exhibitions, “Che fare? Arte Povera: The Historical Years” (Kunstmuseum Lichtenstein) and the solo exhibition “The Lesson of Things” (Centre de Création Contemporain, Tours, 2010).

Related Pages


Events - Talks

Collaborative Effects: A symposium

Video Archived Online

Watch Archived Video Online. This short symposium addressed Piero Gilardi’s relationship with...
Events - Talks

Gilardi/Newling Walkthrough with Bruce Asbestos

Video Archived Online

With Bruce Asbestos, Nottingham....