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Gilardi, Piero





Piero Gilardi is widely recognised for his role in the formation of the Italian artistic tendency known as Arte Povera.  He acted as a key mediator between artists working in Western Europe and those in the United States.  As an active art critic he coined the term ‘Micro-emotive art’ to describe the set of practices that Germano Celant summed up as ‘Arte Povera’. As both artist and mediator he made a significant contribution to the development of the experimental exhibitions Arte Abitabile (1966), When Attitudes Become Form (1968) and Op losse schroeven (1969).

Between 1963 and 1967 Gilardi produced large hyperrealist polyurethane sculpture which he named ‘Tappeti-natura’ (nature carpets); these were displayed and sold in galleries but could also be purchased by the metre and used as wall hangings, rugs, or picnic blankets. They were shown for the first time in 1966 and their international success was a contributing factor in Gilardi’s decision to work beyond art world borders from 1968 onwards; his exploration of the creativity of everyday life to direct involvement with social conflicts and psychiatric services.

Gilardi co-founded the ‘Collettivo La Commune’ community centre, facilitated street theatre manifestations with political movements and countercultural youth groups; demonstrated against figures such as controversial Italian prime minister Giulio Andreotti, in 1977, and Giovanni Agnelli (director of the Fiat empire and Italy’s richest man) between 1980-85, and has participated in direct action campaigns such as the anti-high-speed train movement NO-TAV in Piedmont.

In 1983 Gilardi began a new series of Nature Carpets, emphasising the interactive nature of these forms and their social effects.  In 2000 he founded the PAV (Parco Arte Vivante or Living Art Park) on a disused former industrial park in Turin. The PAV is directed by Gilardi, and dedicated to ecologically-focused art and education realised through collaboration between artists, scientists, and the public; it includes permanent site specific works by contemporary artists including Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster and Lara Almarcegui. 

Related Material


Events - Talks

Gilardi/Newling Walkthrough with Bruce Asbestos

Video Archived Online

With Bruce Asbestos, Nottingham....