“Art, life, politics ‘poveri’ are not apparent or theoretical, they do not believe in ‘putting themselves on show’, they do not abandon themselves in their definition, not believing in art, life, politics ‘poveri’, they do not have as an objective the process the re-presentation of life; they want only to feel, know, perform that which is real, understanding that what is important is not life, work, action, but the condition in which life, work and action develop themselves.” [1]

It is a movement that tends towards deculturization, primitiveness, towards the pre-logical and pre-iconographic stage, towards spontaneous politics, a tendency towards the basic element in nature (land, water, snow, minerals, heat, etc.). Basically, the offering of art for itself as self-representative, presenting the materials themselves in the state of essence.

Animals, vegetable, minerals: they all take part in art. The physical and chemical possibilities lend to the artist the urge to make things out of a world that is already animated, already magical. To organize living matter: the artist is an alchemist working to discover things. What interests the artist is discovery, exposition, the insurrection of the magical value of natural elements. The artist mixes themselves with the environment. What the artist comes in contact with is not elaborated upon in re-presentation. Rather, the artist begins to camouflage themselves into the threshold of things.

In the geologic painting, for example, there is no room to express a judgment upon it, neither moral nor social judgment. The artist leaves it ‘uncovered,’ as the substance of a natural event. – That of the pulverization of the field, the growth of a plant, the chemical reaction of the mineral, the movement of the river or the lake, the weight of the snow…

And among living things, the artist also discovers what is living: their body, their memory, their gestures – the sensory, sensitive, sensuous.

“He [sic] abolishes his role of being an artist, intellectual, painter or writer and learns again to perceive, to feel, to breathe, to walk, to understand, to make himself a man [sic]. Naturally, to learn to move oneself, and to re-find one’s own existence does not mean to admire or to recite, to perform new movements, but to make up continuously moldable material.” [2]


What would follow is the impossibility of any didatic information or explanatory imagery – that structure that would impose regularity, moralistic, cultural – even industrial or consumerist subjectivity. Rather, it is a work of art that is life and a work that gravitates as life, and the dimension of life as lasting without end, under the possibility of all contingent circumstances. No longer an individual, an identity politics, a dimension of neoliberal capital; rather, an abandonment of that which is imposed upon the artist by others and by the social system. …To loose oneself in contingency, to celebrate it at every instant. The object is always continuously changing. Cage says,

“Art comes from a kind of experimentation condition in which one experiments with living.”

To create art, one identifies with life. What is important is not just to reflect life in the work, but to live it as work. To live in art as a free design of itself, immediate and contingent…

This in this case, being, living, working makes art a speculative action caught up in the frenzy of life working in the world. Thought ‘poveri’ is the inseparableness of experience and consciousness with the mental and material event, with the art of contingency, with the infinite, the chain of motivations, the environment, space and time – the declared intention of feeling life continually going on, the necessity, dictated by nature itself, of speculating the manifestation itself.





[1] Germano Celant, from Art Povera, Milan 1969
[2] ibid



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