Posting some Kounellis this morning, and thinking about / exploring one of the roots of installation art as we know it today.
The term ARTE POVERA was introduced in Italy in the late 60’s. Artists began to question the notion of Art, as a private expression of an individual, and wether or not it had any ethical reason to exist. They produced works attacking the values of established institutions of government, industry, and culture. Italian art critic Germano Celant organized two exhibitions in 1967 and 1968, followed by an influential book called Art Povera, promoting the notion of a revolutionary art, free of convention, the power of structure, the market place and traditional art making materials— favoring instead found objects, industrial materials and spaces.
An art of impoverished materials is an aspect of the definition of Arte Povera. Artists like Kounellis and Merz were attempting to make the experience of art more immediately real, with a greater connection to the viewer.
So many of these sentiments can be traced back to the DaDa movement and the notion that the art present (of a given moment in time) was ineffectual in describing the realities of that moment in time/history. It often feels as though artists look to that famous movement and spirit of rebellion— expanding on the ‘Duchampian’ ideals, and the ready made/found object while also changing the context in which we encounter art—
I can’t help but think that history may look at the current street art movement as such a shift, away from the commercial gallery scene and art making materials in favor of a more confrontational (and illegal) interaction with the viewer that weaves elements of pop art skillfully at times with social or political commentary. The problem, as always, is what happens when these dissident movements inevitably become commercially viable, it is hard to sell rebellion and bash the commercial aspects of art as you pocket large sums of cash…