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Wall drawing performance in the street, Turin, 1971

Wall drawing performance in the street, Turin, 1971

Events - Talks

Collaborative Effects

Video Archived Online

23 Mar 2013

Part 2  14:00 - 16:00 GMT


Part 1 11:30 - 13:30 GTM

In two parts, Design, Inhabitation, Play and Piero Post-Povera this short symposium addresses Piero Gilardi’s relationship with the Arte Povera movement, radical design, and socially engaged practices. Speakers include Robert Lumley, Professor of Italian Cultural History at UCL and celebrated art critic Tommaso Trini who is widely recognized for his involvement in debates surrounding Arte Povera. (Click on More for the full programme.)

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This short symposium addressed Piero Gilardi’s relationship with the Arte Povera movement, radical design, and socially engaged practices.

10.45 Arrivals/Registration (The Space Foyer, Level 1)

Design, Inhabitation, Play: Piero Gilardi in the context of Arte Povera

11.00 Isobel Whitelegg, Curator of Public Programmes

11.15 Robert Lumley, Professor of Italian History, UCL
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

Robert Lumley is Professor of Italian Cultural History at University College, London. He has written extensively on contemporary art and culture in Italy. His publications include Arte Povera (Tate Publications, 2004) and he co-curated (with Francesco Manacorda) the exhibition Marcello Levi, Portrait of a Collector: From Futurism to Arte Povera at the Estorick Gallery in 2006.

11.45 Teresa Kittler, PhD Candidate, Art History, UCL
Living Sculpture and the Art of Living

When Piero Gilardi first exhibited his Nature Carpets in 1966 he spoke of these works emphatically as a proposal for an everyday existence. By situating these works within the home, they could become part of a lived experience. I examine Gilardi’s Nature Carpets in relation to the question of lifestyle, particularly in response to a US lifestyle equated with consumerism. While this was one of the principal targets of Germano Celant’s 1967 Manifesto for Arte Povera, Gilardi’s industrially produced nature seems to offer a more ambivalent response to mass-production and the kind of lived experience it could offer. Situated within the context of postwar artistic practice in Italy and the USA, I consider the material, technological and psychic aspects of Gilardi’s Nature Carpets as a dialectical engagement with the question of lifestyle.

Teresa Kittler is an AHRC funded PhD Candidate in the Department of Art History at University College London (UCL). Her thesis, supervised by Professor Briony Fer, explores the concept of 'living' through the work of artists and art critics working in Italy in the mid to late sixties including Marisa Merz, Carla Accardi and Carla Lonzi.

12.10 Catharine Rossi, Senior Lecturer, Design History, Kingston University
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 understanding this period, and Gilardi, in greater depth.

Catharine Rossi is a Senior Lecturer in Design History at Kingston University, and was previously a Context Lecturer in the Design School at Edinburgh College of Art. She completed her PhD, on the of role craft in post-war Italian design, as the holder of an AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award co-supervised by the Royal College of Art and the V&A Museum. She has worked on exhibitions at MoMA and the V&A and, alongside contributing to academic publications such as Journal of Design History, she works as a freelance writer for Crafts and Domus, and maintains the blog thinkingaboutobjects.

12.35 Q&A (Robert Lumley, Teresa Kittler, Catharine Rossi)

Art Outside Art: Piero Post-Povera

14.00 Isobel Whitelegg, Curator of Public Programmes

14.15 Anna Detheridge, Director, Connecting Cultures, Milan
Engaging with the Environment: Italian art and the obsession with social space

The legacy of Italian mainstream art history is an underlying and understated point of reference for many contemporary Italian artists, a continuing influence both contradicted and sublimated. From Gianni Colombo to Piero Gilardi to Alberto Garutti to Lara Favaretto, human interaction in space constitute a very particular perspective which has endured over time. Piero Gilardi's interdisciplinary work influenced by the Italian founder of the antipsychiatry movement Franco Basaglia has had a pioneering theoretical and practical impact long before and quite independent of later practices defined as relational aesthetics.

Art theorist, curator and lecturer Anna Detheridge is the Founding Director of Connecting Cultures, a non–profit arts agency established in Milan in 2001 which is committed to inclusive, action research–based methods of working in the public realm. She was Chief Editor (1987-2003) of the Arts pages of Il Sole 24Ore and exhibitions she has curated include Public Art in Italy (Pistoletto Foundation, Cittadellarte, Biella 2003); INNATURA, X Photography Biennial (Palazzo Bricherasio, Turin 2003) and Village Global (Musée des Beaux Arts, Montreal 2004).

14.40 Tommaso Trini
Living Art/Living How

The paradigm of art-as-life continues to pose eternal questions. Alive, why? Living, how? Arguing that Gilardi’s idea of the living art object is more than analogy or metaphor, I will summarize the evolution of the concept of living that he has practiced from the Nature Carpets and Habitable Art exhibition (1966) to his most recent interactive works. Gilardi combines geological and biological forms, the human epic with the storytelling of the Earth. As such, a synthetic resin living-room carpet in is habitable, but so is the gravity of the solar system. He is, moreover, an activist against anthropocentric rule, against the destruction of eco-systems and the breathless pursuit of techno-scientific innovation. His “living art”, therefore, is made up of objects that intrude on other objects. Can these “living objects” speak to mankind without becoming idols or puppets?

Tommaso Trini is an art critic based in Milan who is widely recognized for his involvement in debates surrounding Arte Povera and related artistic movements across Europe. He has followed Gilardi’s work closely from the 1960s to the present, and contributed an essay to the catalogue of the celebrated exhibition for which Gilardi acted as an advisor and facilitator - When Attitudes Become Form (Works – Concepts – Processes – Situations – Information), Kunsthalle Bern, 1969.

15.10 Q&A (Anna Detheridge, Tommaso Trini)

15.30 Q&A (All speakers)

16.00 Close