Arte Povera

Last week we spent a day working in groups in a workshop inspired by the Arte Povera movement.

The first task was to crit each others work and come up with a list of words relating to the use of visual language. These words then informed the ‘bundles’ we produced, from found objects, with the aim of portraying words we had selected. Mine were “soft” and “reflective”.

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We then had a research type task where we read information, made notes but these could only be visual, which would act as prompts when came to relaying the information to our peers. Some of the facts that I picked up:

  • Arte Povera was very popular in Italy, began mid-1960’s
  • It developed as a reaction against abstract painting
  • Related movements emerging at the time included Conceptual and Dada
  • The artists were linked not by a unifying style but by philosophy; making use of found, ‘poor’ materials, encouraging viewers to re-examine the everyday and consider the message of something banal when situated in a new context
  • Artists hope to erase the divide between the worlds of ‘art’ and ‘life’

The final task was to work together as a group to produce a larger scale work in the vein of arte povera. We chose to explore the issue of prejudices and obstacles surrounding arts education, drawing from personal experience. The four of us produced an individual box – a metaphor for the ‘boxes’ we have all felt forced into in terms of conventions of society – representing our feelings on the subject. We then stacked these together to produce one 3D piece. In mine I tried to represent a figure, weighed down by baggage (expectations, pressure, judgements, worry etc.) trying to burst free and reach outside of ‘the box’.


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