An exhibition of over fifty works by major protagonists of modern and contemporary Italian art, notably the Arte Povera movement that was founded in the second half of the 1960s and promoted by the Italian art critic Germano Celant. Arte Povera (literally ‘poor art’) is not a household name, unlike other art movements of the 1960s such as Pop or Minimal Art. However, it has recently become better known following the success of the 2001 touring exhibition Zero to Infinity: Arte Povera 1962-1972. Like Futurism, Arte Povera emerged at a time of dramatic socio-economic change, against a backdrop of political upheaval and technological expansion. Unlike the earlier movement, however, Arte Povera was internationalist in outlook and sceptical about industrialisation. Although a European phenomenon, it developed principally in Italy, centred around Turin in the north, which at that time was a burgeoning industrial city. The name ‘Arte Povera’ referred to the choice of humble materials – such as earth, iron, wood and rags – with which the artists aimed to challenge conventional means of creative expression, reduce the artificial gap between art and life and react against the commercialism of the art market.
The works have been chosen from the Turin-based collection of Marcello Levi (b.1922) who, over the last sixty years, has been one of the leading collectors of contemporary art in Italy. He began collecting drawings and paintings by members of the Futurist movement, such as Giacomo Balla, Nicolay Diulgheroff and Gerardo Dottori, before becoming one of the earliest collectors of Arte Povera.
Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art Web Site