Manzoni’s Line: From the Roll to the Infinite Painting

Luca Bochicchio

On 8 February 1963, two days after the Italian artist Piero Manzoni’s sudden demise, his friend and fellow artist Lucio Fontana commented in a radio interview that:

Manzoni’s most important discovery, exceptional I would say, was
the ‘Line’, which I believe to be an artistic innovation of international
bearing … Manzoni was a man of research and the ‘Line’ was and is
not easy to understand and to accept, however, it is my firm conviction
that Manzoni’s ‘Line’ has marked a fundamental point in the history
of contemporary art.[1]

Line (fragment) (fig. 11.1), made in c.1959, is the sort of object Fontana would have had in mind as he spoke, a piece typical of the simultaneous conceptual depth and material simplicity that characterises much of Manzoni’s work.[2] Painted in black on long strips of white paper, these long lines were rolled up by the artist and enclosed inside special cardboard cylinders before being labelled with the date, a signature, and the total length of the line created (fig. 11.2). Yet for all their physical sparseness, these concealed scrolls had a significant intellectual grounding on which Manzoni had been working for some time.

Fig. 11.1 Piero Manzoni, Linea (frammento) (c.1959). Ink on paper, 255 x 20 cm. Milan, Fondazione Piero Manzoni. Photo: © Fondazione Piero Manzoni, Milano / Orazio Bacci, Milano

A central figure in the international neo-avant-garde scene of the 50s, Manzoni was concerned with the conceptual process of freeing paintings’ surface from the rules of representation.[3] In 1957, he began his first ‘white paintings’, pieces that from 1959 he referred to as Achromes. As the artist himself explained, these were the result of his experiments with the use of constantly different techniques and materials, from both the natural and synthetic world, to create a series of white surfaces where observers’ energies of thought and image might be released.[4] They were no longer canvas prisoners of painted fiction, forced into a confined space where drawings and colours pretended to be something else. Manzoni felt he had overcome a central artistic problem of what to do with composition and form, creating a new, unrestricted aesthetic model that made tangible contact with ideas of the infinite.[5]

cardboard cylinder
Fig. 11.2 Piero Manzoni, Linea (1959). Ink on paper, cardboard cylinder, 9,95 m. Philadelphia, Philadelphia Museum of Art. Photo: © Fondazione Piero Manzoni, Milano / Orazio Bacci, Milano

The roll format was integral to developing this process, growing into a substantial series, Lines, between 1959 and 1963. After two years’ research on the Achromes, in the spring of 1959 Manzoni exhibited sheets of white paper with hand-drawn black lines in a café in Milan named Bar La Parete. Soon after, he transitioned from a single sheet to a roll of paper, and that summer presented his first exhibition of Lines painted on paper rolls of different lengths. The exhibition ran from 18–24 August in Galleria del Pozzetto Chiuso, an unconventional exhibition venue in the Italian Mediterranean town of Albisola, on the Ligurian coast. Perhaps inevitably, the show caused considerable scandal in the Italian province, and the only Line to be exhibited in its entirety there was vandalised when a visitor spat on it.[6] Still, Manzoni’s interest in the series grew, as did the size of his creations. In his earliest Line-works, the length of the strips became their title: Line m 6, Line m 8,17Line m 9,84Line m 19,11, and Line m 33,63 (all made in 1959). By 1960 he had managed to construct a line painted on a continuous 7.2km-long piece of paper (figs 11.3–11.4).[7] This industrial-level project began when the businessman and patron Aage Damgaard invited Manzoni to Denmark to create experimental works in his shirt factory, Angli, in the town of Herning. It was there that the artist met the editor of the local newspaper, Herning-Avisen, who allowed him to use the press’ machines and paper rolls to create the Line, which was then dated, signed, and marked with his finger print before—like its smaller precursors—being sealed inside an enormous zinc cylinder (66 x 96cm). This was perhaps the closest Manzoni was to come to actually fulfilling his totalising conceptual goal of an infinite work, an infinite line.

Black and white photograph of Manzoni making a scroll
Fig. 11.3 Piero Manzoni, making Line of m 7.200, Herning (Denmark), 4 July 1960, photographed by Ole Bagger. Photo: © HEART, Herning Museum of Contemporary Art, Herning / Herning Artmuseum / Fondazione Piero Manzoni, Milano.
Black and white photograph of Manzoni making a scroll
Fig. 11.4 Piero Manzoni, making Line of m 7.200, Herning (Denmark), 4 July 1960, photographed by Ole Bagger. Photo: © HEART, Herning Museum of Contemporary Art, Herning / Herning Artmuseum / Fondazione Piero Manzoni, Milano.

It is interesting to contextualise Manzoni’s Lines within an international framework of antecedents in the United States, Japan, and Europe, for he was far from the only post-war artist turning to notions of the continuous page to give physical form to their expansive conceptual ambitions.[8] Manzoni’s research into notions of ‘void’ and ‘infinity’ were closely linked to European and American art movements who were themselves influenced by existentialist philosophy, language reductionism, and new waves of Zen philosophy.[9] The paintings of Barnett Newman, for instance, especially those displayed in his second solo exhibition at The Betty Parsons Gallery in New York in April 1951, were not rolls in themselves but nonetheless drew on a related compositional language of stretched, seemingly never-ending forms. In The Wild (1950) the canvas is reduced to a slim section only four centimetres wide, extending vertically for more than two metres. It comes as no surprise that Newman, who said that ‘the idea of a “finished” picture is a fiction’, called his vertical strips of colour ‘zips’, ‘preferring it to “band”, for it connoted an activity rather than a motionless state of being’.[10] The following month, The Betty Parsons Gallery also hosted Robert Rauschenberg’s first solo exhibition, and it was here that the artist met John Cage.[11] They soon collaborated on a continuous scroll, Rauschenberg’s Automobile Tire Print (1953) , a rolled work created with Cage’s help. As Rosalind Krauss observes:

Tire Print from 1953, was made by lining up sheets of paper over more than
twenty-two feet of road and then directing John Cage to drive a car over
them. It was certainly a way of making a mark. But beyond that it was also
a way of finding an operational means of producing extension—of
accounting procedurally for the way that one piece of the art space relates to
the next’.[12]

Black and white photograph of a scroll
Fig. 11.5 Kanayama Akyra and his Footprints (1956), Outdoor Gutay Art Exhibition, Ashiya Park, Hyogo. Osaka City Museum of Modern Art GA08. Photo: © Osaka City Museum of Modern Art.

This was as much a philosophical movement as an aesthetic or formal one. Throughout the 50s and 60s, the writings of Alan W. Watts—such as The Way of Zen (1957) and Beat Zen, Square Zen, and Zen (1959)—had made extremely widespread in the West a number of cultural ideas that had been being taken up by artists in Japan for some time, ideas that injected strategies of infinity and distance into American and subsequently European scenes.[13] Manzoni himself came increasingly into contact with Japanese avant-garde artists from 1959,[14] and was likely aware of a continuous work made three years earlier in 1956 by Akira Kanayama, Footprints (Ashiato), presented at the Outdoor Gutai Art Exhibition in the pine forest of Ashiya Park in the city of Ashiya (fig. 11.5).[15] The piece comprised a strip of vinyl almost one-hundred metres long, running throughout the entire exhibition in a circuit. On the white surface of this unrolled vinyl, the artist had reproduced footprints at regular intervals, evoking in the viewer a natural path through the park; the path, however, led nowhere, ending at a tree trunk. Kanayama’s choice of vinyl instead of paper suggests an increasing interest in new materials from the chemical industry and emergent issues within contemporary consumer society; the work chimes with Manzoni’s later 7.2-km Line in both its elongated forms and technological engagement: the interest in mechanical seriality in Footprints is further confirmed by the footprints themselves, reproduced using a repetitive stencil technique.[16]

The most forceful collision of these twinned American and Japanese concerns with visual and conceptual continuity took place in September 1962, when—in the wake of Rauschenberg, Cage, and Gutai’s research, as well as Allan Kaprow’s New York ‘Happenings’[17]—Eastern and Western avant-gardes came together as part of the first Fluxus Festival in Wiesbaden, Germany.[18] Here, the visual and fantastical quality of continuous rolls was again invoked, this time by the Korean artist Nam June Paik, who created a performance with the revealing title Zen for Head. In a total exchange of different artistic disciplines that was typical of Fluxus, Paik accompanied La Monte Young’s Composition 1960 # 10 to Bob Morris by marking a four-metre-long line on a strip of paper using only his own head covered in ink and tomato juice. Rather than colouring the paper roll with instruments or machines—objects that were to characterise Paik’s later expressive and conceptual work in the form of the monitor—the final dynamic, informal line evolved from the interaction of the body with its continuous material support.

These international concerns, to come full circle, combined with Manzoni’s ongoing Lines to embed linearity and continuity in European practice of the late 50s, where—unlike Paik—the concept of ‘line’ was to increasingly come under sway of the machine. The roll embodied a metaphor of uncontrolled need and a collectively shared experience of painting. In the first Industrial Painting exhibition at Turin’s Galleria Notizie in May 1958, Italian artist Giuseppe Pinot Gallizio exhibited a seventy-four-metre-long roll of painted canvas, now housed at Tate Modern, London. Gallizio had set up a makeshift studio in the small town of Alba, Piedmont, where he lived and worked as a pharmacist, chemist, and herbalist. Here, he converted a cellar into a space for the production of rolls of industrial painting, including a rudimentary, hand-driven machine that used brushes to distribute colour onto rolls of canvas. In actual fact, the system not only used paint but resins, solvents, and chemical mixtures that Gallizio had invented and experimented with alongside Asger Jorn, Constant, Guy Debord, and other friends involved in the International Situationist movement, which was officially started in July 1957.[19] Gallizio’s aim in this work was to use industrial techniques to create a surplus of paint, simultaneously overturning the laws of the market and liberating artists from the limitations of inspiration and physical dimension; this idea was not unrelated to the concept of potlatch, a key theory in the Lettrist International, a co-founding group of the SI.[20] Once it had undergone the mechanical process, the roll was left in the open air where it was contaminated with atmospheric agents.[21] Sold by the metre at an extremely low price, the long canvas could be cut to suit the client’s needs, its inspiration emerging from a coincidental combination of technical and natural elements.

Such mechanical concerns were not Gallizio’s alone. In the third edition of the Situationist International Bulletin (December 1959), Gallizio republished a text that had already been presented one month earlier in Notizie-Arti Figurative.[22] The article began with a quotation from the French journal, L’Express, dated 8 October 1959, which reviewed a performance by the Swiss artist Jean Tinguely in the square of the Musée d’Art Moderne, the day before the opening of first Paris Biennale. The work-machine protagonist of Tinguely’s performance was named Méta-Matic n.17, and is described as follows in the journal:

Seen from close up, it is made of a series of interwoven pulleys driven by a small,
two-stroke engine. It unrolls a long roll of paper that is automatically covered with
splashes by convulsively moving ink rollers. A knife cuts the finished product into
pieces, with a chaotic, circular and sputtering movement.[23]

Again in 1959, on 12 November, Méta-Matic n. 17 was the protagonist of a now-legendary performance at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London, an event originally intended as a conference. Here, the machine was modified so it could be driven via pedals by two racers, who took it in turns to see who was able to unroll the one-and-a-half-kilometre-long roll of paper first. Before cascading into the room, the band of paper was automatically painted by an ink-roller.[24] The audience, sitting in the stalls, was suddenly overcome by a flow of paper that was thrown at high speed from the machine driven by the first cyclist.[25]

Machine interventions in the continuous page are common features of Rauschenberg’s Automobile Tire Print, Kanayama’s Footprints, Gallizio’s Industrial Paintings, and Tinguely’s Méta-Matic. Yet, it is important not to see these, nor Manzoni’s Lines—even his 1960 Line of 7.200 Meters, made on the Herning print machine—as a blind triumph of technology. As Fontana implied in his radio eulogy to Manzoni with which I began, the scope of the Lines were both their material simplicity and their conceptual complexity, characterised by a mesh of intertwined concerns, especially philosophical and social dimensions. Consider the ultimate intended destination of Manzoni’s 7.2-km Line, which he had intended not to openly parade for its infinite capacity but instead to enclose in zinc and then bury, alongside another monumental examples, in the most important cities in the world; the total sum of the lengths of the individual Lines when unrolled would equal the circumference of the earth.[26] Tinguely and Paik co-opted the scroll for performative actions—collective and collaborative—that were governed to some degree by chance and which culminated in paintings of intriguing continuous coincidence. Gallizio’s Industrial Painting, too, and Rauschenberg’s Automobile Tire Print, likewise arose from an extraordinary time-based action, carried out in collaboration. For Manzoni, however, neither the making of the Line nor the shared performance of its creation was the ultimate objective: it was the reflective properties of the Line in itself that was central.[27] The lined roll was closed and hidden, the artwork formed through a combination of the artist’s action (in the past) and the viewer’s faith (in the present). Capitalising on this playful paradox, in 1960 Manzoni created various wooden tubes containing Infinite Lines: as long as they remained closed, the roll maintained the idea of the infinite but once it was opened, the infinite line disappeared.[28]

This is the greatest philosophical contribution of Manzoni’s Lines. They comprise universal concepts that open up infinite possibilities of thought, uniting artist and viewer in endless imagination. Manzoni did not see these rolled works as portrayals, but rather as an unlimited, time-based surface, where the idea of ‘infinite possibilities’ could be concretised. As he wrote in his 1960 text, Libera dimensione [Free Dimension]:

Why not empty, instead, this recipient? Why not liberate the surface?
Why not attempt to discover the limitless significance of total space?
Of pure and absolute light? … The infinitability is rigorously
monochrome, or better still of no colour … Artistic criticism which
makes use of concepts like composition and form has no value: form,
colour and dimensions have no sense in total space … All such
problems like composition of form, form in space and spatial
profundity are extraneous to us; a line can only be traced without
limits of length into infinity and beyond any problem of composition
or dimension. Dimension does not exist in total space … This indefinite
surface, uniquely alive, even if in the material contingency the work
cannot be infinite, is, however, infinitable, infinitely repeatable, without a
solution of continuity. And that is even more apparent in the ‘lines’, for in
these there no longer exists the possible ambiguity of the ‘painting’. The line
develops only in length and extends towards infinity. The only dimension is
time. And it hardly needs to be said that a ‘line’ is not a horizon or a symbol and
it has value not as something beautiful but in the degree to which it exists.[29]

Luca Bochicchio is an art historian, art critic and curator, focusing on modern and contemporary art. He is the director of MuDA Museum in Albissola, Italy, which includes the Asger Jorn House Museum. He is also Lecturer in Communication of Cultural Heritage at the University of Genoa, where he obtained his Ph.D. in 2011. Currently his research focuses on the international connections of the 1950s and 60s Italian avantgardes, with particular regard to the use of clay and ceramics in sculpture and architecture. He is the author of books, exhibitions, and essays on topics such as the diffusion of Italian sculpture in America between the nineteenth and the twentieth century, Futurism, and artists such as Arturo Martini, Enrico Baj, Lucio Fontana, Asger Jorn, Wifredo Lam, Leoncillo, and Piero Manzoni, among others. He has held Research Fellowships at the Henry Moore Foundation, the Beinecke Rare Books and Manuscripts Library, and the INHA in Paris.


[1] Lucio Fontana, quoted in Gaspare Luigi Marcone, ‘Piero Manzoni. Achromes: Linea Infinita’, trans. Neil Davenport, reproduced in Gaspare Luigi Marcone (ed.), Piero Manzoni. Achromes: Linea Infinita (Poggibonsi, Siena: Carlo Cambi Editore; London: Mazzoleni, 2016), p. 9.
[2] Regarding materials in Manzoni’s works, see Rosalia Pasqualino di Marineo (ed.), Piero Manzoni. Materials, Zurich: Materials (Zurich: Hauser & Wirth Publisher, 2019).
[3] See Piero Manzoni, ‘Per la scoperta di una zona di immagini’, in Documenti d’arte d’oggi mac 1958 (Milano: A Salto Editrice 1958), p. 74, reproduced in Gaspare Luigi Marcone (ed.), Piero Manzoni. Scritti sull’arte (Milano: Abscondita, 2013), pp. 25–27. See also the English version of Manzoni’s writings, recently published as Piero Manzoni, Writings on Art, edited by Gaspare Luigi Marcone, with a foreword by Rosalia Pasqualino di Marineo and essays by Benjamin H. D. Buchloh and Gaspare Luigi Marcone (Zurich: Hauser & Wirth Publisher, 2019).
[4] ‘My first “achromes” date from ‘57: canvas soaked in kaolin and glue: from ‘59 onwards, the raster of the “achromes” was made of machine-made stitches. In ‘60 I made some out of cotton wool, expanded polystyrene, I experimented with phosphorescents and others soaked in cobalt chloride with colours that would change over time. In ‘61 I made others of straw and plastic and natural or synthetic fibres. I also made a sculpture using rabbit skin’. Untitled text published by Piero Manzoni in Evoluzione delle lettere e delle arti 1:1 (1963): p. 49; Marcone, Manzoni. Scritti sull’arte, pp. 50–52. See also Choghakate Kazarian and Camille Lévêque-Claudet (eds), Piero Manzoni. Achrome, Musée Cantonal des Beaux-Arts, Lausanne 2016; Gaspare Luigi Marcone (ed.), Piero Manzoni. Achrome (Lausanne: Musée Cantonal des Beaux-Arts, 2016); Marcone, Manzoni. Achromes, p. 7. Elio Grazioli, Manzoni (Torino: Bollati Boringhieri, 2007), pp. 61– 79.
[5] Piero Manzoni, ‘Libera dimensione’, in Marcone, Manzoni. Scritti sull’arte, pp. 34–38.
[6] Manzoni had actually decided to exhibit an unrolled Line next to the sealed cylinders with the rolls so that the public could understand what it was all about. The Line was 19.93 m long but was then reduced to 18.07m by the artist to eliminate the spat-upon part. See Francesca Pola, Una visione internazionale. Piero Manzoni e Albisola (Milan: Electa, 2013; Gualdoni 2013. Electa, 2013).
[7] Rosalia Pasqualino di Marineo (ed.), Piero Manzoni. Lines (Zurich: Hauser & Wirth Publisher, 2019); Flaminio Gualdoni and Rosalia Pasqualino di Marineo (eds), Piero Manzoni 19331963, exhibition catalogue, Palazzo Reale, Milan, 26 March–2 June 2014 (Milano: Skira, 2014), p. 159.
[8] For an international and comparative analysis of artworks based on the concept of line and repetition, see: Jack McGrath, ‘Along Different Lines: Manzoni by Comparison’, in Pasqualino di Marineo, Manzoni. Lines, pp. 49–56; Briony Fer, The Infinite Line. Re-Making Art After Modernism (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2004).
[9] References regarding Existentialist philosophies, Zen, and Manzoni’s work, can be find in: Barbara Satre, ‘L’“esistenzialismo” di Piero Manzoni’, in Rosalia Pasqualino di Marineo (ed.), Piero Manzoni. Nuovi studi (Poggibonsi: Carlo Cambi editore, 2017), pp. 171–183; Fuyumi Namioka, ‘Manzoni tra Italia e Giappone: il concetto fra Libera dimensione ed Espansione all’infinito’, in Pasqualino di Marineo, Piero Manzoni. Nuovi studi, pp. 71–83; Guido Andrea Pautasso, Piero Manzoni divorare l’arte (Milano: Electa, 2015), pp. 12–14 and 18–20. By and large, for more about Manzoni and the international network of avant-garde groups in the fifties and sixties see Francesca Pola, ‘La costellazione della “Nuova Concezione Artistica” Azimuth epicentro della neoavanguardia europea’, in Luca Massimo Barbero (ed.), Azimut/h. Continuità e nuovo, exhibition catalogue, Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice, 20 September 2014–19 January 2015 (Venezia: Marsilio, 2014), pp. 123–143.
[10] Foster et al., Art since 1900, pp. 362–363. See also Ellen G. Landau (ed.), Reading Abstract Expressionism: Context and Critique (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2005).
[11] At this moment the two men had been engaging in parallel artistic experimentation, Rauschenberg in achromatic painting and Cage, who had been teaching at Black Mountain College since 1948, in experimental music. Cage was later to admit that Rauschenberg’s White Paintings had influenced his silent composition (4’33”, 1952). On the encounter between Rauschenberg and Cage and its consequences for the neo-avant-garde movements see Catherine Craft, Robert Rauschenberg (London: Phaidon Press, 2013). See also Branden W. Joseph, Random Order: Robert Rauschenberg and the Neo-Avant-Garde (Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press, 2003).
[12] Rosalind Krauss, ‘Rauschenberg and the Materialized Image’, in Branden W. Joseph (ed.), Rauschenberg, October Files 4 (Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press, 2002), p. 53.
[13] See Kay Larson, Where the Heart Beats: John Cage, Zen Buddhism, and the Inner Life of Artists (New York: Penguin Books, 2013). About the transnational influence of Zen on post-war art see also Majella Munro, ‘Zen as a Transnational Current in Post-War Art: The Case of Mira Schendel’, Tate Papers 23 (Spring 2015), accessed 23 May 2016,­transnational-current-in-post-war-art-the-case-of-mira-schendel. See also George Mathieu, De l’Abstrait au Possible. Jalons pour une exégèse de l’Art Occidental (Zurich: Cercle d’Art Contemporain, 1957). Allan Schwartzman (ed.), Parallel Views. Italian and Japanese Art from the 1950s, 60s, and 70s (Dallas: Damiani and Warehouse, 2014).
[14] In May 1959, Japanese artist Nobuya Abe visited Manzoni’s studio in Milan and wrote an article about the experience for the Japanese magazine The Geijutsu Shincho: Nobuya Abe, ‘Piero Manzoni’, The Geijutsu Shincho 3 (1960), Tokyo, pp. 184–185. In the first issue of Azimuth, the Italian review of which Manzoni and Enrico Castellani were editors, Japanese art critic Yoshiaki Tono wrote an article entitled ‘Spazio vuoto e spazio pieno’ [Empty Space and Full Space], Azimuth 1 (September 1959). An essay by Manzoni, Libera dimensione (1960), was translated into Japanese and published by The Geijutsu Shincho 7 (1960). In the following year, 1961, Yusuke Nakahara wrote an essay about Yves Klein, Piero Manzoni, and the monochrome researchers in Europe, in which the author also quoted Manzoni’s Lines: Yusuke Nakahara, ‘Mukei tono kakutoka tachi’ [Fighters against the shapeless], Mizue 679 (1961): pp. 51–53. See Namioka, ‘Manzoni tra Italia e Giappone’. In Italy, a special link to Gutai was created by the fellowship between French art ctitic Michel Tapié and Luciano Pistoi, director of the art gallery Notizie, in Turin, between 1957 and 1960. See Bruno Corà, ‘Gutai in Europe starting from Italy’, in Marco Franciolli, Fuyumi Namioka and Bettina Della Casa (eds), Gutai. Painting with time and space, exhibition catalogue, Museo Cantonale d’Arte, Parco Civico, Lugano, 12 October 2010–20 February 2011 (Cinisello Balsamo: Silvana Editoriale, 2010), pp. 175–187.
[15] In 1954, the avant-garde group Gutai (translated as into English as ‘embodiment’ or ‘concrete’) was created by Jiro Yoshihara, along with others young fellow artists from Osaka and Kobe. The performances and installations by Gutai artists were provocative, like the Dadaists, but at their core they attempted to revive Japanese artistic and philosophical traditions in the light of American abstract expressionism and ‘Informal’ European art. See in particular Franciolli et al.Gutai. See also Ming Tiampo (ed.), Under Each Other’s Spell: Gutai and New York, exhibition catalogue, Pollock-Krasner House and Study Center, East Hampton, New York, 30 July–17 October 2009, and Harold B. Lemmerman Gallery, New Jersey City University, Jersey City, New Jersey, 22 October–16 December 2009 (New York: Stony Brook Research Foundation, 2009); Joan Kee, ‘Situating a Singular Kind of “Action”: Early Gutai Painting, 1954–1957’, Oxford Art Journal 26:2 (2003): pp. 123–140. Françoise Bonnefoy, Sarah Clément and Isabelle Sauvage (eds), Gutai, exhibition catalogue, Galerie Nationale du Jeu de Paume, Paris, 4 May–27 June 1999 (Paris: Galerie Nationale du Jeu de Paume, 1999). Ming Tiampo and Alexandra Munroe (eds), Gutai: Splendid Playground, exhibition catalogue, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, 15 February–8 May 2013 (New York: Guggenheim Museum, 2013). Doryun Chong et al. (eds), From Postwar to Postmodern: Art in Japan 1945–1989: Moma Primary Documents (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2013).
[16] For an interpretation of the social, economic and political impact on Italian postwar avant-garde art see Jaleh Mansoor, Marshall Plan Modernism. Italian Postwar Abstraction and the Beginnings of Autonomia (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2016). By the same author, though more related to Piero Manzoni’s works, see also ‘We Want to Organicize Disintegration’, October 95 (2001): pp. 2853.
[17] Allan Kaprow recognised Gutai’s actions as a precedent of his own happenings. The connection between the European and American Fluxus groups occurred through some of Cage’s students in New York: Goerge Maciunas, the composer Dick Higgins, and the artists Al Hansen and George Brecht. See Osaki Shinikirō, ‘Une strategié de l’action: Gutai, Pollock, Kaprow’, in Bonnefoy et al., Gutai, p. 55.
[18] From 10 July7 August 1962, Manzoni took part in the collective show Dynamo I, at the Galerie Boukes in Wiesbaden, along with Pol Bury, Oskar Holweck, Yves Klein, Heinz Mack, Almir Mavignier, Herbert Oehm, Otto Piene, Dieter Rot, Jesús-Rafael Soto, Daniel Spoerri, and Jean Tinguely. See Marcone, Manzoni. Scritti sull’arte, p. 136.
[19] For an overall survey on Situationist International see Ken Knabb (ed.), Situationist International Anthology (Berkeley: Bureau of Public Secrets, 2007). See also: Tom McDonough (ed.), Guy Debord and the Situationist International: Texts and Documents (Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press, 2002); Frances Stracey, ‘Pinot-Gallizio’s “Industrial Painting”: Towards a Surplus of Life’, Oxford Art Journal 28:3 (2005): pp. 393–405.
[20] About the practices of potlach (a term that comes from the North American Indians), see the fundamental essay by Marcel Mauss, Essai sur le don. Forme et raison de l’échange dans les sociétés archaïques (Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1950), trans. W. D. Halls as The Gift. The Form and Reason for Exchange in Archaic Societies (London and New York: Routledge, 1990). Potlach was also the name of the bulletin of the Letterist International, the Paris based avant-garde movement that in 1952 resulted from a split within Letterism. Potlach was published twenty-seven times between 22 June 1954 and 5 November 1957.
[21] In 1959, Gallizio’s industrial roll-installations were to continue. Assisted by Guy Debord and fellow the Situationists, he mounted an exhibition on 13 May entitled The Cavern of Antimatter at Galerie René Drouin, Paris. He covered all the gallery walls and ceiling with 145 metres of industrial paintings and completed the installation with smells and sounds that were diffused throughout the rooms, while a model also wore pieces of the painted canvas. See: Maria Teresa Roberto, with Francesca Comisso and Giorgina Bertolino (eds), Pinot Gallizio. Catalogo generale delle opere 19531964 (Milano: Mazzotta, 2001), p. 100; Nicolas Pezolet, ‘The Cavern of Antimatter: Giuseppe “Pinot” Gallizio and the Technological Imaginary of the Early Situationist International’, Grey Room 38 (2010): pp. 62–89.
[22] Giuseppe Pinot Gallizio, ‘Per un’arte unitaria applicabile’, Notizie-Arti Figurative 9 (1959).
[23] The review was written by Jean-Francois Chabrun for the magazine L’Express, 8 October 1959, quoted by Giuseppe Pinot Gallizio, ‘Discorso sulla pittura industriale e su un’arte unitaria applicabile’, Internationale Situationniste 3 (December 1959), reproduced in Andrea Chersi et al. (trans.), Internazionale Situazionista 1958–1969 (Torino: Nautilus, 1994), p. 31.
[24] The interest of Manzoni in Tinguely’s work is testified by the fact that he wanted to organise a show of the Swiss artist at his gallery Azimut in Milan. Between June and July 1959, Manzoni visited Iris Clert’s gallery in Paris, where he had the opportunity to see Tinguely’s exhibition Méta-Matic. It was Iris Clert, from her gallery in Paris, who gave Manzoni a drawing made by Tinguely through Méta-Matic that was to be inserted into the first issue of the magazine Azimuth in September 1959. See Francesca Pola, Piero Manzoni e ZERO. Una regione creativa europea (Milano: Electa, 2014), pp. 30–31.
[25] Pontus Hulten (ed.), Tinguely. Una magia più forte della morte, exhibition catalogue, Palazzo Grassi, Venice, 19 July–18 October 1987 (Milano: Bombiani, 1987), p. 66–67.
[26] Piero Manzoni, ‘Progetti immediati’, in Marcone, Manzoni. Scritti sull’arte, pp. 46–47. As with many of Manzoni’s ideas, this project has never yet been accomplished. See Flaminio Gualdoni, Piero Manzoni. Vita d’artista (Milano: Johan & Levi, 2013). See also the English edition: Flaminio Gualdoni, Piero Manzoni. An Artist’s Life (New York: Gagosian and Rizzoli International Publications, 2019).
[27] Luca Bochicchio, ‘The Line Comes First: Sign and Myth in Piero Manzoni’s Line’, in Pasqualino di Marineo, Manzoni. Lines, pp. 16-29.
[28] Germano Celant, Piero Manzoni. Catalogo generale. Tomo secondo (Milano: Skira 2004), pp. 475–476; Marcone, ‘Piero Manzoni. Achromes’. See also Fabio Vander, Essere zero. Ontologia di Piero Manzoni (Milano: Mimesis, 2019).
[29] Piero Manzoni, ‘Free Dimension’, Azimuth 2 (1960), reproduced in Barbero, Azimut/h. Continuità e nuovo, pp. 104–106.

DOI: 10.33999/2019.13