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Biography: 1961-1963


Piero Manzoni showed with Enrico Castellani at Galleria La Tartaruga, in Rome (April). Manzoni signed his first human beings certifying them as Living sculptures (Sculture viventi). Among those thus recognised as work of art were Marcel Broodthaers, Umberto Eco, Emilio Villa, Henk Peters.
In August Manzoni inaugurated at Zagreb the collective exhibition "Nove tendencije" with the Gorgona group. For "Gorgona" he plans a first version of the "Tavole d'accertamento". This edition was never published, while Vanni Scheiwiller instead published the "8 Tavole d'accertamento" (first in October of 1961 and then exactly one year afterward), featuring works produced separately between 1958 and 1960: two maps (Ireland, Iceland), two alphabets, a fingerprint, a line, the imprints of his left and right hand.
1961 was also the year of Merda d'artista (Artist's shit): ninety examples were canned in May and were first exhibited in Albisola (Galleria Pescetto, 12-19 August). In the same year Manzoni produced the Magic Bases (pedestals that transformed the people standing on them into works of art) and new Achromes made of anomalous materials: polystyrene treated with cobalt chloride, cotton fibre and fibreglass, straw, white rabbit pelt, bread rolls. At Herning (Denmark), he produced the Base of the world, an upside down Magic Base holding on its bearing surface the entire world.
In the last months of the year, Manzoni took part in various collective shows, the most important of which was certainly the twelfth edition of the Premio Lissone (Lissone, 23 September-23 October); he was included in the "Informative Experimental Section", along with the Gruppo Milano 61 artists.


In 1962 Manzoni contributed to Zero exhibitions (Antwerp and Bern) and participated at the collective show of Nul (Nothingness) at Amsterdam (Stedelijk Museum, March 9-25), organised by his artist friend Henk Peters. The theory of Nul (focused on the disappearing of the work of art as an object) was anticipated in 1960, when the "Manifesto contro niente per l'esposizione internazionale di niente" ("Manifesto against Nothing for the International Exposition of Nothing") was published in Basle. Its signatories were Manzoni, Bazon Brock, Enrico Castellani, Rolf Fenkart, Carl Laszlo, Heinz Mack, Onorio, Piene and Herbert Schuldt.
Manzoni's latest projects have an architectural scale: from the phosphorescent window made in a shirt factory in Herning, to the Placentarium, an habitable Body of Air; and finally an only planned white Line as long as the Greenwich meridian.
In the same year, Manzoni co-edited with Jes Petersen a book with white pages: "Piero Manzoni. The Life and the Works".


Piero Manzoni died in Milan at the age of twenty-nine for a fatal infarction, in his studio at 16 via Fiori Chiari, on 6 February, while a variegated demonstration of his Achromes was being held in Brussels.

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