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Piero Manzoni's Works

The artistic legacy of Piero Manzoni lies in a series of cycles of works realized in a very short span of time, between 1956 and 1963, when the artist died at the age of twenty-nine.


The first Achromes are simply colourless surfaces impregnated with plaster or kaolin, a white clay used by potters in the production of porcelain.

By 1960 the Achromes are made of several materials: cotton wadding, fluffy artificial fibres, rabbit skin, bread rolls, polystyrene etc.

Some Achromes are mainly white, others are saturated with phosphorescent colours and still others, soaked in cobalt chloride, change hue with the passage of time and glow in the dark.
In any case the material is the only protagonist of the Achrome: being more than a support or a pigment, it displays the "a-chromatic" meaning of the work.

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Manzoni's Lines are drawn in ink on rolls of paper of various length, sealed in cardboard cylinders labelled and signed by the artist.

The Line 7,200 m. (Herning, Denmark, 4 July 1960) should had been the first stage of a global project: a series of extra-long Lines placed in each of the principal cities of the world, in order to equal, with the sum of their length, the earth's circumference.

The insufficiency of the limited metrical extents of the Lines is overcome in the Line of infinite length: a solid wooden cylinder hides an ideal line existing only as a metaphysical speculation.

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Magic Base


On July 21, 1960, took place in Milan one of the more famous Manzoni's manifestations: the Consumption of dynamic art by the art-devouring public (Consumazione dell'arte dinamica del pubblico divorare l'arte). Manzoni marked with his fingerprint some boiled eggs and gave them to the audience to eat.

The "art devouring" project discloses a new trend in art, shifting her role from production to consumption. The spectator is involved in the artistic activity and turned himself into a work of art. "It is not our business to educate; nor is it our business to pass a message".

In addition to the "Consumption of art" ceremony of July 1960, Piero Manzoni signed people to create Living Sculptures and built the Magic bases, pedestals bearing footprints to accommodate people who, for as long they stood there, became artistic works.

The full achievement of this artistic aspiration is the Socle du monde, an upside down magic base holding on its bearing surface the entire world. Everything is recognised as a work of art.

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Artist's Shit



Everything touched by the artist is changed into a work of art. An ordinary everyday object like an egg becomes a precious relic if Manzoni authenticates it.

The most radical gesture of Piero Manzoni - the ninety cans of Artist's shit sold at the then-current price of gold - shows the power of the creative act to regenerate into art also bodily secretions.
An ironic reference to the willingness of the art market to buy everything on condition that it is signed.

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