Mario Merz: The Artist and the Work, Materials for a Portrait publication cover photo

Mario Merz: The Artist and the Work, Materials for a Portrait

An expansive look into the life and work of Mario Merz by Giorgio Verzotti.

This book was published in English by Magazzino Italian Art Foundation from the Italian Mario Merz. L'artista e l'opera, materiali per un ritratto, by Giorgio Verzotti, originally published by Christian Marinotti Edizioni in 2018. 

Mario Merz: The Artist and the WorkMaterials for a Portrait examines the entire creative arc of the artist, from the beginnings in Postwar Turin, years that see him engaged in figurative painting, then following the events which led to his international recognition. From 1968, when Merz became part of the Arte Povera group, it reached its international recognition during the 1980s and 1990s. Each chapter is dedicated to a cycle of works, so the reader will be able to ascertain the genesis of the igloos, of the tables covered with fruit and vegetables, of the large paintings dedicated to the theme of animals, of the use of the Fibonacci numerical series, a formula that runs through the whole oeuvre of Merz. The volume is enriched by some important testimonies, the result of meetings between the author and colleagues and friends of the artist, who bring to light the working method of the artist.

Library of Congress Control Number 

© 2020 Magazzino Italian Art Foundation

About the Artist

Mario Merz was born on January 1, 1925 in Milan and moved to Turin with his family when he was a child. During the Second World War, he quit his medical studies and took an active part in the anti-fascist fight. Arrested in 1945 during a leafleting, he began to paint in prison, drawing the beard of a cellmate with endless spirals. After his release, Merz, encouraged by the critic Luciano Pistoi, decided to devote himself entirely to painting and his first solo exhibition took place at Galleria La Bussola in Turin in 1954; on this occasion, he exhibited some oil paintings which recalled the Expressionists. In the mid 1960s, Merz’s research developed and evolved towards an artistic experimentation that led him to create the “ volumetric paintings” (Mila Pistoi), in which he incorporated object trouvés and organic and industrial materials, whose use in the work contributed to tying the artist to the protagonists of Arte Povera. Everyday use items—the basket, the pot, the raincoat; organic items: the bundle, the beeswax, the clay; technical materials: the iron rod, the wire mesh, the glass, the neon; and literary quotations—all manifested themselves as energies hitherto neglected by the artistic practice, but Merz freed them in “a sum of inner projections on objects,” translating them sometimes “directly into the objects” (Germano Celant), reinterpreting them by repositioning them in a panorama of unpublished forms and pronouncements.

The igloo (1969) and the table (1973) are representative of Merz’s art: the one “ideal organic form [...], at the same time the world and a small house” that the artist expects to be a habitable, absolute space not modeled but a “hemisphere resting on the ground”; the other “the first thing [...] for the determination of space,” a “piece of land raised, like a rock in the landscape.” Igloos and tables are, as well as primary and archetypal structures, aesthetic and socio-political declarations, and they represent the definitive overcoming of the painting.

Since 1970, the artist used the Fibonacci numerical series, a progression in which each number is the result of the previous two (0,1,1,2,3,5,8,13,21...). Merz interpreted the numerical sequence—identified by the Pisan mathematician Leonardo Fibonacci in 1202—as an emblem of the dynamics related to the processes of growth of the organic world. He placed the series in his works with the numbers made in neon, from the Fibonacci Santa Giulia, hung in the kitchen of his Turin residence (1968), to the Suite, placed underground along the Strasbourg tram line 1 (1994), from the aforementioned proliferating tables by John Weber to the igloo a t the Kunsthaus in Zürich (1985) and at the Salpêtrière in Paris (1987) to the interpenetration between tables and igloos (from the CAPC in Bordeaux, 1987, to the Stedelijk in Amsterdam, 1994).

The recurrence of certain shapes that can all be traced back to the spiral— such as the triangle, the cone, the vortex, artistically elaborated, derived or glimpsed in an infinite series of mostly organic elements, such as snails, branches, leaves, pine cones, horns—is tied to the same Fibonacci series, a numerical transcription of a figure that, starting from zero, expands to infinity with a spiraling trend.

The great exhibitions of the 1980s (Palazzo delle E sposizioni in San Marino, 1983 and Guggenheim in New York, 1989) were characterized by a pictorial practice that became increasingly important, becoming “long and fast,” a natural habitat for wild and “prehistoric” animals like the rhinoceros, the crocodile, the tiger, the bison, the owl, bearers of a clear primariness.

The animal portraits are “religious but also an organic symbol” placed side by side and assembled with the previously identified forms (the igloo and the table, and their transfer onto canvas) and with the objects (the neon, the bottle, the raincoat, the newspaper, the snail, the tree of the “shaman” Merz), with a proliferating and spiraling cadence rhythmic of the Fibonacci series. But they are also subject to a process of metamorphosis (technically with the abolition of the frame and embossing, and with letting the color imbue the canvas, “so it that it takes the primer of painting, rather than being its support”) that allows the painted canvas to grow legs, so that it can become the animal it portrays. This intense period, during which the artist also published a ponderous collection of writings (Ich will So fort and Buch ma chen / I want to do a book immediately, Sauerländer, Aarau-Frankfurt and hope fulmonster, Florence), follows a phase characterized by a return to the essentiality of matter and of the sign (solo exhibition at the Fundaçâo de Serralves, Porto, 1999).

Merz gave great emphasis to the practice of drawing, which became the focus of a series of large installations. The artist exhibited at the Carré d’Art - Musée d’Art Contemporain, Nîmes (2000 ) and for the first time in Latin America with a solo show at the Fundación Proa, Buenos Aires (2002). He also participated in Zero to Infinity: Arte Povera 1962–1972 (2001), the first anthology on Arte Povera to be shown in the United Kingdom organized by the Tate Modern in London and the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. On November 6, 2002, the permanent installation Igloo Fontana was inaugurated for the Passante Ferroviario in the city of Turin. Among the numerous honors, Merz received the Honoris Causa Degree from the Dams of Bologna (2001) and the Praemium Imperiale from the Japan Art Association (2003).

At dawn on the November 9, 2003, the artist died in Milan.

Among some of the solo exhibitions realized after the artist’s death, were the great retrospective organized in three different spaces in Turin at the Merz Foundation, Galleria d’Arte Moderna and Castello di Rivoli (2005); the solo exhibition Disegni at the Kunstmuseum of Winterthur and then at the Merz Foundation (2007); Pageantry of Painting at the Mer z Foundation (2010); What Is to Be Done? at Henry Moore Institute in Leeds and at Bildmuseet, Umeå (2011–2012); Mario Merz Arnulf Rainer. Tiefe weite (Fragmente) at the Arnulf Rainer Museum, Baden (2013); Mario Merz at the Pace Gallery in London (2014); Mario Merz. Città Irreale at Gallerie dell’Accademia in Venice; and Mario Merz: Numbers are Prehistoric at the Museum of Cycladic Art in Athens (2015); Igloos, with over thirty igloos hosted by Pirelli Hangar Bicocca in Milan (2018); and the retrospective El tiempo es mudo at Reina Sofía in Madrid (2019–2020).

About the Author

Giorgio Verzotti was born in Boca (Novara) on September 28, 1953. He graduated with a degree in Art Critic History in 1977 (Prof. Marisa Dalai Emiliani), with a thesis on Body Art from Università degli Studi in Milan.

From 1983 to 1991, he worked at the Exhibition Office and the Library of the Superintendence of Artistic and Historic Heritage of Milan.

From 1993 to 1996, he was Professor of Esthetic at the Carrara Academy in Bergamo.

In 2001 and in 2002, he was part of the group of professors of the Master FSE managed by the Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera in Milan (Museography Class).

From 2005 to 2013, Giorgio Verzotti was Professor in Styles Phenomenology at the Università Cattolica in Brescia and since 2009 he teaches Contemporary Art History at NABA (Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti in Milan) and Esthetic of Contemporary Art at the Università Cattolica in Milan. He taught Esthetic of Contemporary Art at Politecnico-Bovisa in Milan between 2006 and 2008.

He is involved in the Scientific Committee of the Antonio Ratti Foundation in Como, the Alighiero Boetti and Franco Angeli Archives in Rome, and Vincenzo Agnetti Archive in Milan.

From June 2012 to January 2016, he was Artistic Director with Claudio Spadoni at Arte Fiera Bologna.

From 1991 to 2001, he was a curator (from 1999 Chief Curator) at Castello di Rivoli-Museo d’Arte Contemporanea in Rivoli (Turin).

From 2002 to 2005, he was Chief Curator of MART–Museo d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea di Trento e Rovereto.

At Castello di Rivoli, with the Director Ida Gianelli, he curated the exhibitions Giulio Paolini, 1991;

Wim Delvoye, 1991; Giuseppe Penone, 1991; Guillaume Bijl, 1992; Enzo Cucchi, 1993; Carla Accardi, 1994; Soggetto-Soggetto (with F. Pasini), 1994; Haim Steinbach, 1995; Collezioni di Francia, 1996; Bertrand Lavier, 1996; Pittura italiana da collezioni italiane, 1997; Maurizio Cattelan, 1997; Mona Hatoum, 1999; Giulio Paolini: Padiglione dell’aurora, 1999; Quotidiana. Immagini della vita di ogni giorno nell’arte del XX secolo, 2000; Armando Testa, 2001 (after at Castel Sant’Elmo, Naples, September 2001); Shirin Neshat, 2002; Wolfgang Tillmans, 2002.

At Castello di Rivoli he also collaborated in the realization of the following exhibitions, moreover writing texts for the relative catalogues: Arte e Arte, 1991; Sguardo di Medusa, 1991; Un’avventura internazionale, 1993; Keith Haring, 1994; Pier Paolo Calzolari, 1994; Sipario: Balla, De ChiricoSavinio, Picasso, Paolini, Cucchi, 1999; Arte Povera in collezione, 2000. He wrote the critical texts for the catalogue of the permanent collection about the museum La Collezione, 1994.

He also wrote the brochures for the public regarding the exhibitions Marlene Dumas-Francis Bacon, 1995; Haim Steinbach, 1995; Collezioni di Francia e Collezionismo a Torino, 1996; Max Ernst, sculture, 1996; Bertrand Lavier e Collaborations Warhol, Basquiat, Clemente, 1996; SiparioOn KawaraPittura Italiana da Collezioni Italiane, 1997; Anton CorbijnArte Americana 1975–1995 dal Whitney Museum, 1997; Martin Kippenberger, 1998; Emilio Vedova, 1998; David Salle, 1999; Andreas Gursky, 1999; Quotidiana, 2000; Mirror’s Edge, 2000; Armando TestaForm Follows Fiction, 2001; Shirin Neshat, Wolfgang Tillmans, 2002.

For the MART, he collaborated on the catalogue of the exhibition Le stanze dell’arte, 2002. He Curated the exhibitions Nuovo spazio italiano (with G. Nicoletti and F. Cavallucci) at Palazzo delle Albere, Trento, 2002; Il racconto del filo, with Francesca Pasini, MART, Rovereto, 2003; Skin Deep. Il corpo come luogo del segno artistico (with G. Nicoletti and L. Meneghelli), Rovereto, 2003; Montagna. Arte Scienza Mito (Contemporary Art Section), Rovereto, 2003; Sale di lettura. Giulio Paolini dialoga con la collezione permanente, 2004; Carol Rama (with Guido Curto), 2004; Mimmo Jodice dalla collezione Cotroneo, 2004; Il Bello e le bestie, (with Lea Vergine), 2004; Antonio Riello – AirMart, 2005; Runa Islam, 2005; La danza delle avanguardie (Contemporary Art Section), 2005; Douglas Gordon, (with M. D’Argenzio), 2006; Luca Vitone. Gli occhi di Segantini, 2007; Vincenzo Agnetti (with A. Bonito Oliva), 2008; Languages and Experimentations, 2010; Alessandro Roma, 2011.

At the MART, he also organized the exhibitions Isamu Noguchi Sculptural Design, 2003; Fausto Melotti. L’opera in ceramica, 2003; Scultura lingua morta, scultura nell’ Italia fascista, 2003; Mario Rizzi, 2004; Alighiero Boetti. Tuttolibro, 2005; Vivere sotto la “luna crescente,” 2005; Universal Experience, 2006.

He curated several exhibitions at various international institutions such as Imago. Immagini negli ani Settanta (with M. Carboni, L. Cherubini, L. Somaini)Galleria d’Arte Moderna, Suzzara, 1983; Lucio Fontana, (with B. Blistène), Musèe National d’Art Moderne Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 1987; Presi per Incantamento, (with G. Magnani, D. Salvioni), PAC–Padiglione d’Arte Contemporanea, Milan, 1988; Certains: nouvel art italien, Palais de la Benedictine, Fécamp, France; Idea di Europa, (with M. Meneguzzo), Padiglione d’Arte Contemporanea, Milan, 1991; John Armleder, Castello di Rivara, 1991; Cambio di Indirizzo, Care Of, Cusano Milanino, 1995; Massimo Bartolini-Grazia Toderi, Galleria Artra, Milan, 1996; Grado Zero-Sinestesie, Centro di Ricerca per il Teatro–Teatro dell’Arte, Milan, 1997; Dire Aids, (with G. Cochrane and A. Vettese), Palazzo della Promotrice alle Belle Arti, Turin, 2000; Fuori Tema, XIV Qua driennale di Roma (in collaboration with), Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna, Rome, 2005; Generations of art, various locations, Fondazione Ratti, Como, 2005; Start@HangarHangarBicocca, Milan, 2006; Idea, (with L. Cherubini), Calcografia Nazionale, Rome, 2006, and Archivio di Stato, Turin, 2007; La Fondazione Arnaldo Pomodoro. La collezione (with A.Vettese), Fondazione Arnaldo Pomodoro, Milan, 2007; Claudio Guarino, Galleria Artra, Milan, 2008; Bertrand LavierRoma, Villa Medici, Rome, 2009; Francesco Pignatelli. Translations, Fotografia Italiana Arte Contemporanea, Milan, 2009; Open Minds, Villa del Grumello, Como, 2009; Fausto Bertasa, Atelier Vaerini, Bergamo, 2009; Milano Gallerie, Palazzo della Triennale, Milan, 2009; Elogio della semplicità, Fondazione Stelline, Milan, 2010; Nicola Carrino, Galleria A Arte Invernizzi, Milan, 2010; Armando Testa (with Gemma Testa), PAC–Padiglione d’Arte Contemporanea, Milan, 2010; Jan van der Ploeg, Galleria Fabbri Ca, 2011; Silvio Wolf. Sulla soglia, Padiglione d’arte contemporanea, Milan, 2011; Marlene Dumas. Sorte, Fondazione Stelline, Milan, 2012; Gli artisti italiani della collezione Acacia, Palazzo Reale, Milan, 2012; Segni e (non) sogni, MiART, Milan, 2012, Grazia Varisco, Se…, Palazzo della Permanente, Milan, 2012; Bestiario Contemporaneo (with Gemma Testa), Museum of Natural History, Venice, 2013; Arte Fiera 40 (with Claudio Sp adoni), Pinacoteca Nazionale and Mambo, Bologna, 2016; Daniele Innamorato, Marselleria, Milan, 2017 and Galleria Massimodeluca, Mestre, 2017; Federica Perazzoli, Galleria Massimodeluca, Mestre, 2018; Massimo De Caria, Assab One, Milan, 2018; Filippo Manzini, Mars, Milan, 2018; Openness, Galleria Nam project, Milan, 2018; Internazionalità, Palazzo Barolo, Turin, 2018; Equilibrium. Un’idea per la scultura italiana, Galleria Mazzoleni, Turin and London, 2018; Carlo Dell’Acqua, Scatole Craniche, Studioventicinque, Milan, 2019; Chiara Dynys. Enlighting Books, Mattatoio, Rome, 2019; Letizia Cariello. Seven Gates, Galleria Fumagalli, Milan, 2019; Gabriele Di Matteo. Blu Braque, Galleria Federico Luger, Milan, 2019; Fabio Roncato. La materia delle stelle, The Open Box, Milan, 2019.

Verzotti curated the exhibition Futuro, Presente, Passato at the XLVII Venice Biennial in 1997 with Germano Celant, Nancy Spector, and Vicente Todolí.

He has collaborated with the contemporary art magazines Art Vivant (Paris); Artefactum (Anversa); Artscribe (London); Blocnotes (Paris); Cimal (Valencia); Documents (Paris); Domus (Milan); Halle Sud (Ginevra); Kaleidoscope (Milan); Mousse (Milan); Performance Art Magazine (New York); Rivista IBM (Milan); Segno (Pescara); Flash Art and Flash Art International, (Milan); Art +Text (Sydney), Art Press (Paris), Tema Celeste (Milan) and has collaborated with the newspapers Avanti di Roma and Il Tirreno of Livorno.

His main articles published in Flash Art and Flash Art International include Many Loves, n.104, Summer 1981; Il pittore e lo specchio. Mimmo Germanà, n.111, January 1983; Alighiero & Boetti, n.114, June 1983; Bertrand Lavier-Massimo Minini, n.114, June 1983; Long, Scarpitta, Pane, PAC, Milano, n.131, March 1986; Nuovi Futuristi, Post-astrazione, Rotonda di via Besana, Milano, n.132, April-May 1986; Ritratto dell’artista da bambino, n.133, June 1986; Arte in Francia-Palazzo RealeChe cosa fanno oggi i concettuali?, Rotonda della Besana, MilanoIl più e il meno, Una ragione inquieta, Aria, n.135, November 1986; Anna Maria Santolini, n.136, December 1986-January 1987; Kunc, Ontani, Salvo, Schutte, Le Case d’arte, MilanoPietro Fortuna, n.137, February-March 1987; From Rome, n.136, October 1987; L’epoque, la mode, la morale, la passion-Centre Pompidou, Parigi, n.141, November 1987; Gunter Forg, n.137, November-December 1987; Una storia milanese-Rotonda di via Besana, n.142, January-February 1988; Olivier Mosset-Massimo De Carlo, n.142, January-February 1988; Kazuo Shiraga-Milano, n.142, January-February 1988; Belcher, Dwyer, McCollum-Le Case d’Arte, n.143, March-April 1988; Carlo Guaita,-Studio Marconi 17, n.143, March-April 1988; Standing Sculpture-Castello di Rivoli, n.140, May-June 1988; Jeff Wall-Nouveau Musee, Villeurbanne, n.143, November-December 1988; Espana, n.147, December 1988-January 1989; Pino Pascali, n.147, December 1988 -January 1989, and n.144, January-February 1989; Mimmo Paladino, n.148, February-March 1989; Vincenzo Agnetti, n.145, March-April 1989; Alberto Garutti-Studio Guenzani Milano, n.151, Summer 1989; Helmut Federle-Musee de Grenoble, n.150, January-February 1990; Marco Mazzucconi, n.152, May-June 1990; Alighiero BoettiGianni Colombo, n.152, October-November 1989; Burri: la materia si distacca dal mondo, n.155, April-May 1990; Esterno notte, n.182, March 1994; A tu per tu con l’assoluto, January-February 1995; Pino Pinelli, n.196, February-March 1996; Il mondo così com’è, n.198, June-July 1996; Cattelan è proprio un asino, n.215, April-May 1999; Gabriele Di Matteo, n.203, April-May 1997; Giuseppe Penone, n.248, October-November 2004; Marisa Merz, n.263, April-May 2007; Francesco Gennari: Lui, June 2011.

His main articles published in Art & Text include Thomas Struth: Photography of Abstraction, n.47, January 1994; Rudolf Stingel: Creative Differences, n.52, September 1995; Fischli & Weiss: Wonder Bar, n.55, October 1996; Stefano Arienti: The Flip Side of Life, n.56, February-April 1997; Franz West: Fitting Parts, n.61, May-July 1998.

He currently collaborates with the magazines Artforum (New York) and Arte (Milan).

He has also written texts and presentations for catalogues of solo and group exhibitions in private galleries, museums and other public spaces. Among these are: In labirinto, Palazzo della Permanente, Milan, 1981; Kunc, Ontani, Salvo, Galleria Luce, Venice, 1986; Giorgio Morandi (with Rosalba Tardito), Museo d’Arte Moderna, Kamakura (Japan), 1989; Memoria del Futuro. Arte Italiano desde la primeras vanguardias a la posguerra, Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid, 1990; Mario Schifano 60/70, Studio Marconi, Milan, 1990; Jean-Luc Vilmouth, Musèe National d’Art Moderne Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 1991; Gianni Colombo, Galleria Fac-Simile, Milan, 1991; Les Dimanches de la Vie: Nuova arte francese, Studio Marconi, Milan, 1992; Molteplici Culture (on Bond & Gillick, Jaar, Leibowitz), Museo del Folklore, Rome, 1992; Chiara Dynys, Kunsthalle, Goppingen, 1993; Abendland: Wim Wenders, Venice Biennial, 1993; Corpus Delicti, Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst, Ghent, 1995; Hans Hartung, Le Capitou Centre d’Art Contemporain, Frejus, 1996; Ange Leccia, Musèe d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Paris, 1997; Mario Airò, Casa Masaccio, San Giovanni Valdarno, 1997; Due o tre cose che so di loro..., PAC–Padiglione d’Arte Contemporanea, Milan 1998; Matthew Antezzo, Basilico Fine Arts, New York, 1998; Sylvie Fleury, 24th International Biennial of San Paolo, Switzerland Pavilion, 1998; Cesare Viel, Galleria Artra, Milan, 1998; Massimo Bartolini, Venice Biennial, 1999; Alan Charlton, A Arte Studio Invernizzi, Milan, 1999; Annie Ratti, Ticosa Spazio per il Moderno, Como, 1999; Botto & Bruno, Le Quartier, Centre d’Art Contemporain de Quimper, 2001; Gabriele di Matteo, FRAC Limousin, Limoges-Artshow editions, Milan, 2002; Eva Marisaldi, Legenda, Centro Nazionale per le Arti Contemporanee, Rome, 2002; Marco Tirelli, Galleria Civica d’Arte Moderna, Bologna, 2003; Giuseppe Penone, Centro per le Arti Visive Pescheria, Pesaro, 2003; Segni di Luce, A Ar te Studio Invernizzi, Milan, 2004; Runa Islam, Visages et Voyages, Dunkers Art Center, Helsinborg (Sweden), 2005, in co-production with MART; Jessica Stockholder, Galleria Civica d’Arte Moderna, Turin, 2005; TeoremaLa collezione Enea Righi, Fondation Lambert, Avignon, 2005; Giuseppe Maraniello, Galleria Flora Bigai, Venice, 2005; Gilberto Zorio, Institut Mathildenhohe, Darmstadt, 2005; La scultura italiana del XX secolo, Fondazione Pomodoro, Milan, 2005; Mario Nigro. Meditazioni, Studio Invernizzi, Milan, 2006; Giuseppe Penone, CESAC, Cuneo, 2006; Doriana Chiarini, Galleria Salvatore Ala, Milan, 2006; Maja Vukoje, Galleria Cannaviello, Milan, 2006; Luigi Presicce, Galleria Colombo, Milan, 2006; Chiara Dynys, Rotonda di Via Besana, Milan, 2007; Juul Krajer, Galleria Monica De Cardenas, Milan, 2007; Alice Cattaneo, Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, 2008; Francesco Gennari, Musèe d’Art Moderne, St. Etienne, 2008; Gűnter Umberg, A Ar te Studio Invernizzi, Milan, 2008; Gianni Caravaggio, Centro Arti Visive Pescheria, Pesaro, 2008; Maria Morganti, Fondazione Querini Stampalia, Venice, 2008; Arnaldo Pomodoro, Orta San Giulio, 2008; Giovanni Frangi. Pasadena, Galleria d’arte moderna, Udine, 2008; Vicinato, in Theanyspacewhatever, Guggenheim Museum, New York, 2008; Gabriele Di Matteo. Pollock, Galleria Luger, Milan, 2009; Immagini e fotografie. Thomas Ruff, Castello di Rivoli, 2009; Umberto Chiodi. Superfetazioni, Galleria Cannaviello, Milan; Silvio Wolf e l’accecamento di Sansone, Galleria Nicoletta Rusconi, Milan, 2009; Dadamaino & Candeloro, Invernizzi Seragiotto, Padova, 2009; Gli anni Ottanta in Europa, in Gli anni Ottanta, una prospettiva italiana, Arengario and Serrone di Villa Reale, Monza (ed. Silvana), 2009; Parole per l’Arte Povera, in Arte Povera. Opere dalle collezioni del MART, Villa Panza, Varese (ed Silvana), 2009; Raffi Kalenderian, Brand New Gallery, Milan, 2010; Michelangelo Pistoletto come artista, in Arte Povera 2011, different locations, (ed. Electa), 2011; Pietro Fortuna. Glory II. Le lacrime dell’angelo, MACRO, Rome (ed. Marsilio), 2011; Vettor Pisani. L’altro dentro di sè, in Vettor Pisani Eroica/Antieroica, Museum Madre Naples, ( ed. Electa), 2016; Isabelle de Borchgrave a Villa Necchi Campiglio, (ed. Skira-Fai), Milan, 2016; Prometeo al bar, in Boetti/ Salvo. Vivere lavorando giocando, Museo d’arte della Svizzera Italiana (ed. Casagrande), Lugano 2017; Profezia. Agnetti “politico,” in Agnetti a cent’anni da adesso, Palazzo Reale, Milan ( ed. Silvana), 2017. Territorio, in “Archivio 03,” Archivio Vincenzo Agnetti, 2018; Armando  Marrocco. Opere, Galleria Graziano Vigato, Alessandria, 2018; Niele Toroni, Galleria A Arte Invernizzi, Milan, 2019.

He has also collaborated by contributing a text in the catalogue of Quadriennale di Roma in 1997.

He has collaborated on the collective volumes Ricerche visuali dopo il 1945 (text Body Art), Unicopli, Milan, 1978; Paesaggio Metropolitano, Feltrinelli, Milan, 1982; Arte Italiana 1960–1980, Politi, Milan, 1988; Le nuove tendenze dell’arte, Rosenberg & Sellier, Turin, 1995 (text Arte Concettuale); Vettor Pisani, Virginia Art Theatrum, Charta, Milan, 1998; Arte Contemporanea (text Dagli anni Novanta ad oggi), Electa, Milan, 2003; Euan McDonald (Everythinghappensatonce), Verlag fuer Moderne Kunst, Norimberga, 2005; Jan Fabre, les bronzes, Galerie Guy Pieters, Saint Paul de Vence, 2000; Le funzioni del museo (text Esistenza e spettacolo), Florence, le Lettere, 2009; Arguments. Jemina Stehli-John Hilliard (text Come riposizionare il padre), Artra, Milano-F.A. Untermehnen Books, Zug, 2009; Il confine incandescente, edited by G. Guercio and A. Mattirolo, (text In pura perdita. Strategie di opposizione  all’opera-oggetto), Rome-Milan, Maxxi-Electa, 2010; Maria MorgantiUn diario tira l’altro, edited by A. Tagliafierro, (text Ciascuno e tutti), Mantova, Corraini, 2010; Jan Fabre, Tribute to Hieronymus Bosch in Congo (text Skull with Frog and Negro Shitting Diamonds), Kiev, Pinchuk Ar te Centre, 2014; AA.VV. Francesco Vezzoli, (text DiscoDepero), Rizzoli International, New York, 2016; AA.VV. Giuseppe Chiari. Musica Madre (text La parola musica), Prearo, Milan 2017.

He edited, with specially written texts, the 2010 and 2011 editions of the MIART Contemporary Art Fair catalogue in Milan.

He is the author of the monographs Boccioni. Catalogo completo dei dipinti, Cantini, Florence, 1989; Mariella Poli. Nascita di un museo, Electa, Milan, 2004; Francesco PignatelliFragile, Fotografia Italiana Edizioni, Milan, 2006; Claudio Guarino (with F. Bernardelli), Charta, Milan, 2008; Gabriele Picco, ed. Francesca Minini, 2009; Ivano Sossella, Pondus 100 Copie, Milan 2018. He edited the monograph of AA.VV. Chiara Dynys, Allemandi, Turin, 2017; Andrea Galvani, Mousse, Milan, 2018; and Mario Merz, Marinotti Editore, Milan, 2018.

For Palazzo Grassi in Venice, he edited the guides for the public and the interactive educational services of the exhibitions Arte Italiana-Presenze 1900–1945, 1989; Andy Warhol, una retrospettiva, 1990and Da Picasso a Pollock, 1992.

He has been a part of several conferences including Sur l’art italien des dix dernières annèes, Musèe des Beaux-Arts Andrè Malraux, Le Havre, April 26, 1989; George Brecht, La donna dei nodi, Framartstudio, Naples, May 31, 1990; Ketty La Rocca, Kunstlerhaus, Stoccarda, September 28, 1995; Traffic, round table discussion, CAPC Musèe d’art contemporain, Bordeaux, January 26, 1996; Il corpo, da Duchamp ad oggi, Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa, Venice, May 1996; L’oggetto nell’arte contemporanea, Fondazione Ratti, Como, July 10, 1996; Di nuovo Brecht?, conference La scena del rischio, Galleria d’Arte Moderna, Turin, 1996; La Biennale di Venezia, Fondazione Ratti, Como, July 1997; Le poetiche dell’oggetto dagli anni ‘80 ad oggi, Centre Culturel Francais, Turin, February 15, 1999; Le nuove acquisizioni nel futuro  dei musei d’arte contemporanea, Galleria d’Arte Moderna, Turin, March 27, 1999; Enrica Borghi, round table discussion, Fondazione Teseco, Pisa, January 20, 2001; Fontana, Burri, Vedova, Accardialle origini dell’arte contemporanea italiana, Fondazione Pistoletto, Biella, March 22, 2001; Gli anni novanta, le premesse, Fondazione Ambrosetti, Palazzolo sull’Oglio, Brescia, December 20, 2001; Arte Povera, Accademia Carrara, Bergamo, January 10, 2002; Simulazione, appropriazione e fotografia nell’estetica postmoderna, Politecnico di Torino, May 3, 2002; Walter Niedermayr, Museion, Bolzano, January 2003; Elogio della semplicità, Padiglione d’arte contemporanea, Milan, January 2004; Arte e cultura negli anni Novanta, Rome, Residenza di Ripetta, April 16, 2004; Alighiero Boetti, round table discussion, Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna, Rome, October 2004; Bertrand Lavier, Centre Culturel Français, Milan, November 29, 2004; Massimo Bartolini, Arte Fiera Bologna, January 31, 2005; Carol Rama (conference), Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead, March 11, 2005; Robert Morris (round table discussion), Palazzo Comunale, Reggio Emilia, April 22, 2005; Arte Povera, FAI, Turin, April 14, 2008; Arte e Psicologia, Spazio Oberdan, Milan, May 6, 2008; Le funzioni del museo (conference), Palazzo delle Esposizioni, Rome, April 3–4, 2009, Gabriele di Matteo. Jackson Pollock (book launch), Art Lobby, Art Basel Conversations, Basel, June 14, 2009; Daniele Puppi (round table discussion), Galleria Vistamare, Pescara, June 28, 2009; Classicità nella contemporaneità, Gamec, Bergamo, 2010; Andrea Galvani, Milan Image Art Fair, 2011; Alighiero Boetti, (round table discussion), Art Basel Conversations, 2013; I luoghi della critica, Collegio Internazionale Ca’ Foscari, Venice, May 2015; Il corpo in arte. Dalla rappresentazione allo spazio-tempo reale, Museo del Novecento, Florence, June 2015, Internazionalità, Palazzo Barolo, Turin, November 2018; Linee di Energia, Gli anni ottanta verso altri orizzonti (conference), CCR La Venaria Reale-Intesa San Paolo, Turin.

He also organized the cycle “Incontri con l’arte contemporanea” at the Industrial Union of Turin held between January and June 2001, the collateral conferences for the exhibition activities of the MART in Rovereto held during 2003 and the conference Scilla, MART, Rovereto, April 15, 2005.

A Young Artist and His City, Giorgio Verzotti

Notes on Method, Giorgio Verzotti

Tacita Dean, Giorgio Verzotti


  • Giorgio Verzotti

Contributing Authors

  • Mariano Boggia
  • Remo Salvadori
  • Tacita Dean


  • Daniela Salvioni
  • Dieter Schwarz
  • Laura Cherubini
  • Ludovico Pratesi
  • Pietro Spartà
  • Vicente Todolí

Editorial and Publication Manager

  • Karolina Chojnowska


  • Translated from Italian by Marguerite Shore
  • Mario Merz biography, bibliography, and Giorgio Verzotti's CV translated from Italian by Giulia Anabasi


  • Alexa Hoyer
  • Javier Callejas
  • Marco Anelli


  • Brilliant Graphics


  • Softcover


  • Art - Collections, Catalogs, Artists, Biography


  • Magazzino Italian Art Foundation


  • Waterhouse Cifuentes Design

Trim Size

  • 8.5 x 5.6 (21.6 x 14.2 cm)


  • 256

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