PIERO MANZONI
(Soncino 1933 – Milan 1963)

Achrome, about 1960
Cotton-wool squares laid on masonite, cm 40 x 30

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Registered at the Manzoni Archive, Milan Archive number 1117A92

Provenance:
Italy, private collection, acquired directly by the artist
France, private collection

In an era dominated by Abstract Expressionism and Informal Art, Piero Manzoni radically separates the painted surface from the artist’s hand. The Achrome series of works that began in 1957 and continued until his premature death in 1963, constitute one of the most innovative and profound artistic contributions of the postwar period. Initially Achrome is a white surface of chalk or kaolin that shows no meaning and no manipulation of materia. Achrome is not a space full of organized lines and colours, according to a composite principle to obtain artistic forms.
In this work from 1960 circa, the material was chosen by the artist for its ability to determine itself visually, reducing the production process to zero. Manzoni does not stop experimenting with new techniques and new materials (from cotton to artificial fibers, from plasticized bread to eggs, from paper to polystyrene), while remaining faithful to the original inspiration: a work whose existence is sealed by its own tautological closure.
Manzoni’s prescient innovations anticipated both Conceptualism and Arte Povera, while his artistic legacy, enshrined in iconic works such as the current Achrome, persists as a revolutionary and insurmountable presence in contemporary art today.

Bibliography:
G. Celant, Piero Manzoni. Catalogo Generale, vol. II, Milan 2004, p. 571, no. 34

Price upon request