The 1970’s saw the rise of Arte Povera in Europe. The Arte Povera artists were focused on using what they thought were ‘poor’ materials, leading to pieces which were quite flimsy and unstable. This artistic movement relates to the movement of Minimalism with the artists use of simple materials. Environmental or Installation art had been practised before in 1920’s by Dadaists, Surrealists and pioneers of Pop, however the artists of Arte Povera took it a step further and focused on the relationship between the spectator’s attention from the single object to the setting, and remove its dependence on identity. The importance of Arte Povera comes from the artist’s engagement with the materials and their sense of reality. The artists constantly tried to remove objects from typical realities to see them in a new light and let the audience create a new reality in their minds.
Many of the pieces are either poetic in gestures such as the famous work of Jannis Kounelis, his piece Untitled depicted twelve horses, and he claimed that the smell, warmth and the sounds they made all created the sense of reality he wanted to depict, and therefore called it a work of art. Other pieces were more political in their portrayal, including the work of Luciano Fabro, which featured the Italian Peninsula boot like shape hung upside down as an allusion to the ignominious death of Mussolini.
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