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White Gray Black

Gilberto Zorio (Italian, born 1944)

About this artist

Source: Oxford University Press

Italian sculptor, performance artist and conceptual artist. He studied painting and sculpture at the Accademia di Belle Arti, Turin (1963–70) and held his first one-man show at the Galleria Sperone, Turin, in 1967. Use of such non-artistic materials as the scaffolding and foam of Chair (1967; New York, Sonnabend Gal.) ensured his inclusion in Arte Povera (1968; Bologna, Gal. de Foscherari) and performance at Arte Povera—azioni povere (1968; Amalfi, Arsenale). Zorio’s characteristic pieces rejected sculptural weight and solidity by use of cantilevers or suspension and reactions over time or with the environment. Several incorporated light; Phosphorescent Fist (1971; Paris, Pompidou) was lit and plunged into darkness, alternatively absorbing and emitting and absorbing energy, being lit and then unlit.

In common with his friend Giovanni Anselmo, Zorio raised linguistic problems, as in Odio (‘Hatred’), axed into a wall at Documenta 5, Kassel (1972), but his concern with energy led to experiments with both chemical and physical instability. He initiated gradual chemical reactions in his materials, which continued beyond the period of making, and used Olympic javelins to provide cantilevers; when combined with fragile, glass vessels or with the emblematic form of the five-pointed star (e.g. 5 Javelins, 1974, Lucerne, Kstmus.), they allowed for multilayered suggestions of energy and aspiration. In 1984 Zorio added to his repertory of forms the canoe (artist’s col.), while new tactile elements allowed for ironic cultural references (e.g. Brancusi, 1983–9, India rubber, javelins, iron tube, halogen lamps; see 1991 exh. cat., pp. 21, 42).

Matthew Gale
From Grove Art Online

© 2009 Oxford University Press

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