A Theoretical Analysis of Arte Povera

  • Marco Zaffino

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


Arte Povera was an Italian avant-garde movement in the 1960s and was revolutionary in its theories and techniques. The research explores the historical, theoretical and political background of post-World War II Italy that influenced the Poverist artists. This Italian movement is relatively unknown and yet has influenced the artworld greatly. Relatively few scholars have studied Arte Povera and the importance of this movement has been overlooked giving voice more readily to US and French avant-garde artists of the 20th century. The study recognises similarities between the capitalism of 1960s Europe and the high-consumer societies of 2022. Such parallels between these two eras encourage an analysis of a movement that resisted commodification. Such an accomplishment, regarding the criticism and resistance of commodification is rare and worth further investigation. An example of art that polarises this Poveristi political aesthetic is needed, to recognise explicit and implicit explanations considering distinctive relationships to commodification. The Young British Artists of the 1980s are an example the research explores as a movement who were absorbed into the processes of commodification. Furthermore, the research gives a fresh perspective to the analysis of Poveristi artworks. In addition to exploring pertinent literature, the study uses a phenomenological lens to view Arte Povera. The method of analysis has been chosen regarding its relevance to the theories of and surrounding the movement. The phenomenological analyses realise a democratic and subjective interpretation of Poveristi artworks with the aim of revaluating such art within a contemporary context.
Date of Award26 Jul 2023
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorRina Arya (Main Supervisor) & Jill Townsley (Co-Supervisor)

Cite this