In the heart of Turin, a city steeped in artistic history, PAV – Parco Arte Vivente stands as a testament to the ever-evolving landscape of contemporary art. This November 4th, 2023, at 6 PM, the PAV invites you to embark on a journey through the life and work of Piero Gilardi, a celebrated artist whose groundbreaking contributions to the Arte Povera movement have left an indelible mark on the art world. Curated by the discerning Marco Scotini, the exhibition, aptly named “Car Crash,” will take you on a retrospective voyage, unveiling the artistic brilliance of Piero Gilardi from November 4th, 2023, to April 28th, 2024.

Piero Gilardi (1942-2023) was not only an artist but also the visionary founder of PAV, and “Car Crash” is a tribute to his enduring legacy. It focuses on the early years of Gilardi’s career, spanning from 1964 to 1969, a period that served as the breeding ground for his ideas and laid the foundation for the Arte Povera movement. This exhibition marks the first of a series of monographic exhibitions within PAV’s ambitious long-term project, designed to chronologically dissect and explore the artist’s work.

The exhibition delves into a transformative period of five years during which Gilardi played a pivotal role in Arte Povera. It was a time of creative exploration, marked by key events such as the Arte Abitabile exhibition in 1966, the establishment of the Deposito d’Arte Presente in Turin from 1967 to 1969, and his groundbreaking “micro-emotive art” theory. Gilardi’s work transcended the confines of traditional art forms, delving into the realms of functionality and interactivity. His commitment to understanding and theorizing the essence of art, and his engagement with fellow artists both nationally and internationally, marked him as a true innovator.

Gilardi’s journey was not limited to art alone. He was known for his critical stance on the art market and the broader art ecosystem. In 1969, he chose to step back from the limelight, dedicating himself to political activism, in sync with the spirit of the late 1960s political movements.

The title “Car Crash,” borrowed from an unrealized project, serves as a metaphor for the tumultuous years during which Gilardi navigated the art world’s challenges and the construction and deconstruction of relationships, theories, and ideas. It encapsulates the turbulence of that era and the clash between the art establishment and the avant-garde.

The exhibition provides insights into Gilardi’s journey through three fundamental themes: the extra-artistic space, the transition from pop costumes to political costumes, and the production of utilitarian art. These themes reveal the roots of his work and raise questions about his practices, which eventually led to the establishment of PAV – Parco Arte Vivente. PAV stands as an experimental center of contemporary art that interprets nature, emphasizing ecology, the public, and artists, symbolizing “the project of a life.”

“Car Crash” offers a glimpse into the artistic evolution of Piero Gilardi, showcasing his early experiments with nature-carpets made from expanded polyurethane. The inspiration for these pieces came from a simple walk along the riverbed of the Sangone stream near Turin, which led him to create forms representing an ideal natural environment using contemporary materials. His belief in merging technology and nature was a testament to his era, as he proclaimed in a 1969 article for Uomo Vogue.

Furthermore, the exhibition highlights Gilardi’s innovation in working with foam rubber, specifically his unique method of coloring and finishing. This innovation extended to the production of avant-garde design objects in collaboration with the Gufram company, including the iconic Sedilsasso. This collaboration marked a significant moment in the history of radical Italian design, later celebrated internationally at the New York Museum of Modern Art in 1972.


Car Crash. Piero Gilardi e l’arte povera

November 4th 2023 – April 28th 2024

November 4th 2023, 6 PM

PAV – Parco Arte Vivente
via Giordano Bruno 31, 10134, Torino

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