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Personalities

Marcel Broodthaers

Libro d'immagini

Wilfried Dickhoff, Bernard Marcadé

pages: 320 pages

In a career of just twelve years, the Belgian Marcel Broodthaers (Brussels, 1924 – Cologne, 1976) produced more ideas than most artists do in an entire lifetime. After devoting himself to poetry for twenty years, he abandoned it in 1964 to enter into a pact with a universe of very different values, namely the visual arts. Traversing media freely
Infinity Net
A silvery sea of reflecting spheres, vast expanses of white phalluses, a proliferation of polka dots that overflow the canvases to invade the entire room. In the middle, swallowed up by her own art, a minute Japanese woman with pitch black hair. Yayoi Kusama was born in Matsumoto into a traditionalist family in 1929. As soon as she was able, little Yayoi took refuge on the plantations of her maternal grandfather, where she abandoned herself amid clouds of hollyhocks the outlandish visions that were then captured on canvas. Painting was the only relief for the existential angst that struck her at a very early age, and she decided to embrace it all the way, even if it meant putting an entire ocean between herself and those seeking to prevent her. At the age of 28 she arrived in New York, hell on earth, and art was once again he salvation. She overcame poverty and repeated nervous breakdowns, exorcising her phobias with the celebrated Infinity Nets and soft sculptures. It was a short step from “psychosomatic” art to wild, orgiastic performances. In the late 1960s she rode the hippy wave and the Kusama Happenings became the key events of the pacifist revolution. The priestess of polka dots asked a policeman whether he preferred war or free love. Her disciples addressed her as “sister” like a nun because, contrary to what her outraged compatriots believed, she directed the dances but did not participate. In actual fact, she found sex literally horrifying, far more so than death, which her friend Joseph Cornell described as no more than going into the next room. Related in the first person with disconcerting sincerity and a wealth of authentically comic anecdotes, these pages trace the trajectory of one of the most eccentric, ambivalent and charming personalities that Japanese art has ever known.
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Infinity Net

La mia autobiografia

Yayoi Kusama

pages: 160 pages

A silvery sea of reflecting spheres, vast expanses of white phalluses, a proliferation of polka dots that overflow the canvases to invade the entire room. In the middle, swallowed up by her own art, a minute Japanese woman with pitch black hair. Yayoi Kusama was born in Matsumoto into a traditionalist family in 1929. As soon as she was able, little
Un ritratto mondano
This book reconstructs the life and artistic career of the photographer Ghitta Carell (1899-1972). A Hungarian Jew, in 1924 she moved to Italy, where she rapidly became one of the country’s most famous portrait photographers. Exhibiting great determination, Carell entered into contact with Italy’s aristocracy and leading intellectual and political circles. She photographed Maria Jose of Savoy and the Royal Family, and the twentieth century art critic and theorist Margherita Sarfatti. Hers were some of the most famous shots of Benito Mussolini, photographs which made her famous and which remain some of the best known images of Il Duce to this day. In 1938 she experienced the nightmare of anti-Semitism and the war, while the post-war period saw her enter a gradual decline. The story of her life and artistic career possesses a much broader reach than classic accounts of the modern period. While often dismissed as the “photographer of power”, or “of the heart”, Carell’s photography is altogether more refined and complex. Her polished work forges a captivating dialogue that melds the tensions and contrasts between avant-garde tendencies and tradition that animated artistic debate in the Fascist period. Her virtuoso figurative oeuvre is infused with distant, at times contrasting echoes, with shades of Renaissance and Baroque portraiture meeting the nascent aesthetic of Hollywood glamour. Her work awaits the critical acknowledgement that the consummate prowess of her art indubitably merits.
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Un ritratto mondano

Fotografie di Ghitta Carell

Roberto Dulio

pages: 108 pages

This book reconstructs the life and artistic career of the photographer Ghitta Carell (1899-1972). A Hungarian Jew, in 1924 she moved to Italy, where she rapidly became one of the country’s most famous portrait photographers. Exhibiting great determination, Carell entered into contact with Italy’s aristocracy and leading intellectual and politi
Piero Manzoni
6 February 1963: at the age of just 30 Piero Manzoni was found dead of a heart attack in his studio in via Fiori Chiari. From that moment on his reputation as a provocateur and wild child preceded him, with his most subversive work, Artist’s Shit, elevating him to cult status. But what actually came before and lay behind those 30 grams of pure artistic output? Flaminio Gualdoni sets out to explore exactly that in this biography that traces the guiding themes of Manzoni’s works, lending order to a jumble of hitherto fragmented materials and setting aside any apocryphal hypotheses. Milan’s “dolce vita” nightlife and the artist’s youthful bike expeditions; the early experiments under Fontana, in the search for a personal style, and the partnerships with young Italian contemporaries and international avant-garde movements which brought acclaim and recognition. This fast-moving career relegates Manzoni the private individual increasingly into the background, turning the spotlight purely on Manzoni the artist. What emerges powerfully, even in his continuous, incessant experimentation with all kinds of media – from painting to designs for immersive environments – is the compact kernel of an aesthetic adventure around the very essence of the work of art. And his life, in the dual sense of everyday existence and exceptional artistic undertaking, was necessarily an integral part of this tenaciously pursued adventure. In the words of the artist: “There is nothing to say; there is only to be, to live.”
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Piero Manzoni

Vita d'artista

Flaminio Gualdoni

pages: 240 pages

6 February 1963: at the age of just 30 Piero Manzoni was found dead of a heart attack in his studio in via Fiori Chiari. From that moment on his reputation as a provocateur and wild child preceded him, with his most subversive work, Artist’s Shit, elevating him to cult status. But what actually came before and lay behind those 30 grams of pure ar
Alfred Jarry
On his death at the age of just 34, Alfred Jarry (Laval, 1873 – Paris, 1907) was already a legend in the Parisian salons, albeit more for his irreverent anti-conventionalism than his literary genius. It was not until decades later that he was recognized as one of the fathers of the avant-garde and Ubu Roi became the emblem of radically modern theatre. His influence was so deep and lasting that a community of adepts still maintains a posthumous dialogue with his ideas today through the College of Pataphysics, where Italian intellectuals like Italo Calvino, Enrico Baj and Umberto Eco figure alongside other great names in international culture. For many, however, Jarry is still just the author of an absurd, grotesque play and his life a mere string of outlandish anecdotes: his disruption of the literary Tuesdays held by the wife of the editor of the Mercure de France, the total identification with Père Ubu that ultimately devoured him, the disdain for any form of respectability, the scatological sense of humour, Herculean bouts of drinking, exploits with revolver, bicycle and fishing rod, and the dying wish for a toothpick. The anecdotes remain in this first full-length critical biography and are indeed augmented due to a host of new sources. Alastair Brotchie draws upon this previously unpublished material with discernment, however, and thus manages to separate the man from the myth and go beneath the mask to reveal the wild and delicate monster that was Alfred Jarry. We thus have the trajectory of a man determined to invent and destroy himself and the world around him by means of a philosophy erected on the principle of the identity of opposites, the linchpin of Jarry’s entire universe and fulcrum of a still incredibly vital body of work capable of encompassing both the clowning of Ubu and the subtleties of pataphysics.
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Alfred Jarry

Una vita patafisica

Alastair Brotchie

pages: 448 pages

On his death at the age of just 34, Alfred Jarry (Laval, 1873 – Paris, 1907) was already a legend in the Parisian salons, albeit more for his irreverent anti-conventionalism than his literary genius. It was not until decades later that he was recognized as one of the fathers of the avant-garde and Ubu Roi became the emblem of radically modern the

Lartigue

L'album di una vita 1894 - 1986

pages: 400 pages

Jacques Henri Lartigue (Courbevoie, 1894 – Nice, 1986) had his first camera at just eight years of age and from then on never ceased to take pictures of a gay and carefree life: children’s games, picnics, elegant ladies in the Bois de Boulogne, trips with friends, car races and the first aeroplanes. The albums built up over a lifetime are a met
Joseph Beuys
A fisherman’s vest over a white shirt, jeans and a felt hat. In the winter a long lynx fur lined with blue silk. In his youth a black tie with a hare’s jaw tiepin. This was how Joseph Beuys presented himself, an unmistakable look midway between clown and gangster. On making his appearance, he always did the opposite of what was expected, delighting in actions that initially seemed senseless: wrapping himself in felt, living with a coyote, scraping gelatin from a wall, holding the same position for hours, sweeping a forest, explaining paintings to a dead hare, bandaging a knife after cutting his finger. All this – and the fat that heals, the felt that warms, the honey that feeds and the batteries that recharge – in order to transmit energy and give the spectators a salutary shock, to broaden their awareness. Creativity is a “shaping” of freedom and the heritage of all. He urged us repeatedly to be constantly alert and make our own revolution: “Everyone is an artist.” Avoiding, with rare exceptions, the stereotyped judgements and interpretations put forward on one of the most controversial and repeatedly analyzed figures of the 20th century, Heiner Stachelhaus presents a portrait of Joseph Beuys in the round starting from the “anti-images” of his life: the study of natural sciences, involvement with Steiner’s anthroposophy, the aeroplane crash in the Crimea and the experience with Tartars, teaching and the occupation of the Düsseldorf Academy, the 7000 Oaks and the environmentalist battles, the Beuys of private life who drank tap water in glasses of ground crystal, and the Beuys Blockin Darmstadt, the museum-workshop still haunted by the spirit of man described by Karl Ströher as the only artist capable of expressing the specificity of our era.
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Joseph Beuys

Una vita di controimmagini

Heiner Stachelhaus

pages: 188 pages

A fisherman’s vest over a white shirt, jeans and a felt hat. In the winter a long lynx fur lined with blue silk. In his youth a black tie with a hare’s jaw tiepin. This was how Joseph Beuys presented himself, an unmistakable look midway between clown and gangster. On making his appearance, he always did the opposite of what was expected, deligh

Mario Schifano

Una biografia

Luca Ronchi

pages: 416 pages

Mario Schifano (1934-1998) is the Italian exponent of Pop Art. His works of large format are characterised by monochrome and the use of commercial brands like Coca Cola and Esso. Backed by major Italian and international galleries (Plinio de Martiis and Ileana Sonnabend), along with the “cursed” painters set (including Franco Angeli and Tano Fe

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