Arte Povera came about among the Conceptual art environment and appeared in Italy and then Europe around the 1960s.
The movement was opposed to the well-known art forms and was judged and appreciated based on the quality of the work itself and in its capacity to evoke emotions. The artists believe that the art did not reside in the aspect of the piece but in the idea of the word or the thought used to create the piece.
Before long two groups came out of this movement, those who were tied to the thought process and those to the event. Instead of using brushes and canvases, "poor" materials were used such as, earth, wood, iron, rags, plastic and, industrial trash with the intent to evoke the original structures of the language of contemporary society after having eaten away habits and semantic conformity.
Another typical characteristic of the works of this movement is the use of the installation as the place for the creation of the work, between environment and that of the performance.
Conceptual Art or Conceptualism
Conceptual Art or Conceptualism was born in the mid sixties in the United States
This movement concentrated on the intellectualization of the works. Here the concepts and ideas expressed are more important than the esthetic and perceptive result.
The origins lie in Minimal Art yet here they are further developed, the theories and tendencies of Abstractism.
The work has to only visualize the concept of the artist, his intellectual procedure. In order to understand the work, one must confront the artist and with his thought.
Cubism was born in Northern France in Mont Martre at the beginning of the 1900s. Cubism came about through an observation by Matisse. Standing before a few paintings of Braque he said: "these seem to be made of small cubes."
Vauxcelle, an art critic, overheard this comment and was the first to use the word cubism in one of his articles. The year prior, letters written to Emile Bernard by Paul Cézanne in 1904, spoke of the possibility of seeing forms under a geometric aspect.
Dada, or Dadaism was a cultural movement originating in Zurich, Switzerland in 1916 with a group of European intellectuals who had taken refuge in Switzerland from WWI. The movement concentrated its anti industry politics of rejecting the artistic standards using cultural works that were against art itself.
Dadaism raised doubts and upset the conventions of the times, from cinematographic or artistic esthetics to political ideologies. It proposed the rejection of reason and logic and emphasized the extravagant, humor and sarcasm.
The Dada artists were intentionally disrespectful and excessive finding only disgust towards the use of past traditions. They sought creative freedom for which they used all materials and forms available. The goal was to astonish the observer with unusual and provocative manifestations in order to propose a new and original art.
The group was comprised of writers, poets, painters, sculptors and architects. The movement disappeared in a few years time however; the important protagonist of Dada was Duchamp who influenced the artistic veins well into the Twenties. Other protagonists were Arp, Picabia and, Man Ray.
Expressionism was born around 1905 with the Fauves in France and in Germany with the Die Brucke. Expressionism is an evolution of Impressionism.
Expressionism rejects painting executed expressly for visual pleasure and moves the eye to a more profound and intimate vision of the human soul.
This movement was profoundly dramatic and was expressed through chromatic violence and caricature deformation.
Fluxus was born in the United States and promoted by George Maciunas. Fluxus included a strong anti-commercial wave as well as, a sort of sensibility against art favoring an artist-centered creative practice.
Fluxus artists used their minimal performances in order to highlight perceived connections between everyday objects and art. Fluxus art was usually presented in events known as the smallest unit of a situation. In order to add to the randomness of the events, audience members were often integrated into the performances so the viewer completed the artwork.
Futurism was born in 1909 thanks to the poet and writer, Filippo Tommaso Marinetti. It was the historical cutting-edge matrix that was completely Italian. In an extremely short amount of time, it became the greatest innovative artistic movement in the Italian cultural scene. It spoke to all the arts proposing a new attitude regarding the concept of art itself, modern parameters against the old ones, proposing a leap forward.
Impressionism was a 19th century art movement born in France in 1867 but formally recognized in 1874. The movement was a monumental break from traditional European painting. These artists applied science research, into the physics of color, so they could realize a more exact representation of color and tone. This change was orchestrated through a change in methodology. They applied paint in small touches of pure color and not in wide brush strokes. They painted outdoors to catch particular impressions of color and light resulting in an emphasis on the artist's perception of the subject as much as the subject itself. The pictures are bright and vibrant capturing their images in bold colors without detail.
Informal art was the artistic response that Europe gave to the moral, political and ideological consequences of the horrors brought to light from WWII. It was not a homogenous movement because it gathered tendencies from everywhere oftentimes, contradicting. The movement developed between 1950 and 1960 and declared itself to be in strong contrast to any and all that could in any way possible go back to a form, whether figurative or abstract. The materials were fundamentally important becoming the protagonists of the works.
Land Art is also known as Earth Art, Earthworks, or Environmental Art. Sculpture predominates the movement where natural landscapes are incorporated into the finished work using physical or conceptual elements. The observer is taken out of the gallery into outdoor settings because of their monumental size, which characterizes these works. Land Art was populated mainly by male artists and is driven by a fixation with scientific phenomena and compassion for the natural world.
Metaphysical art movement was born in 1917 in Ferrara, Italy when Giorgio De Chirico met Carlo Carrà. Carrà came from the Futurists but had become more and more detached with the movement. De Chirico inspired him to go back and reclaim the form and to explore the archaic and still world, which characterizes the metaphysical painting of De Chirico. Metaphysical art furnished elements for the birth of the last of the avanguardia, Surrealism.
In 1909 De Chirico began his metaphysical painting style, the same year that Futurism was born. In his paintings the most immobile stasis or lull dominates the work. There is no speed; everything seems to have frozen in an instant where things and space have petrified forever. The images of De Chirico are the last context to which one can reach the reality created by our living.
Minimalism or Minimalist art was born primarily in the United States during the Sixties and Seventies. This art movement is based on the reduction of reality.
The art is purely abstract, objective and anonymous devoid of superficial decorations or expressive characters. These works are usually represented by monochromatic ideas, often created on mathematic matrixes.
These works can evoke forms, emotions and existential states. The message these works need to give is not one of visual perfection but one based on physical contact with the observer.
The movement can be considered a reaction to the abstract expressionism movement of the late fifties.
New Realism is a term that was coined in 1958 in the United States and is associated with the works of Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschemberg.
Among the many movements characterizing the vivacious season of the Sixties: New Realism, Fluxus and the Wiener Aktionismus, are the perhaps the most radical direct descendents of the avanguardia Dadaism.
In Europe, the New Realism was characterized by a strong critique regarding the world of consuming, which brought to light contradictions and proposed at the same time a new way of using the esthetics of objects.
For example: the torn manifests of Rotella, the table compositions of Spoerri, the destructions of Arman, the compressions of César, the shit of Manzoni, and the wrappings of Christo. These all show the conflicting relationship with reality and the object that often resolves in a big game, in a grimace to the artistic and social conventions.
The Nuclear Art Movement was born in Milano in 1951 when Enrico Baj and Sergio Dangelo organized an exhibit in Milan entitled "Pittura Nucleare." In February of 1952 in Brussels, for the occasion of the show at the Apollo Gallery, Baj and Dangelo officially found the movement and publish the Manifesto Tecnico of Nuclear Painting.
In the following years, the Neapolitan Group 58 contributed another important phase to the movement with Guido Biasi, Franco Palumbo, Mario Colucci, Mario Persico and Lucio Del Pezzo.
Pop Art was the most celebrated movement of the 20th century. Born in England in the early Fifties and further developed in the United States. Pop Art recycled everything in a painting and reproduces in a cold and impersonal manner, mass-media images.
It precisely documents the American popular culture transforming into icons the most notable images and symbols proposed by the mass media. The end is different in this movement in that there is no denouncement, no irony or desecrating intent. This movement is considered a reaction to abstract Expressionism.
Spatialism is a term identifying a movement founded in 1947 in Milano by Lucio Fontana.
Fontana already with a long career as a painter and sculptor was tied to the Abstract and Expressionist periods. The following year, he signed the manifest together with Kaisserlian, Ioppolo, Milani and Tullier. The most famous representatives of this movement were Fontana in the European realm and Mark Rothko, a Russian, in the American realm.
Rothko belonged to the Pacific School and developed his spatial theory with references to the infinite energy of Klein. The movement was not homogenous and was characterized by a variability in the team making it appear more like a tactic grouping with strong promotional intents within which Fontana represents the most charismatic figure while the rest of the group worked in significant autonomy.
The thought was that the painting had to come out of the frame and the sculpture out of its glass case, free from the limitations of the canvas or the material extending the field and expanding through new forms and expressive techniques.
Surrealism was an avanguardia movement born in France in the early 1920s around the thoughts of André Breton with his Manifest of the Surrealist Thought. Surrealism had a vast international diffusion in the time between the two world wars, extending its influence in literature, theater, cinema and art.
The movement affirmed the dimensions of dreams and the occult transforming them into the surreal in an artistic form of expression. These artists knock down the barrier between the metaphysical world and reality, searching for an expression that is totally free.
Irrationality is exalted using casual elements while valuing nonsense. These works are characterized by the sense of emptiness, painted with an innovative prospective that builds an atmosphere full of ambiguity and mystery.
The Transavanguardia came about during the second half of the seventies, on the wave of an economic crisis that had changed the productive and cultural optimism of Italy and had scaled down the experimental optimism of the Avanguardia. The vanguards strove to teach the evolution of linear linguistics finding roots and movements in their forefathers or, their historical vanguards.
The movement was conceived, organized historically and profiled by art critic, Achille Bonito Oliva giving recognition to the movement as genuinely Italian, which became known abroad as a completely Italian movement.
Oliva's definition of this movement is: "The Transavanguardia responded, in contextual terms, to the generalized catastrophe of history and culture, opening itself towards a position of overtaking the pure materialism of techniques and new materials and, arrived to recover outdated painting; as a capacity to give back to the creative process, the character of an intense eroticism, and the depth of the image that one cannot deprive pleasure from representation and of narration."
The economical, political, moral and cultural crisis of the seventies demonstrated that history moves unexpectedly in levels, not linearly. The thought of the Transavanguardia is cultural nomadism and the reclamation of painting. The movement theorized a return to manual skills, to the joy of painting and giving back to the brush, the canvas and color, their proper place in art and painting.