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Arte Povera and the Baroque

Building an International Identity

Laura Petican

This book explores the social history of contemporary Italian art with a focus on its relation to theories of national identity, cultural inheritance, and baroque historiography. Its scope encompasses Fascism’s involvement in the visual arts in the first half of the twentieth century and the regime’s deployment of the avant-garde as well as Italy’s interwar cultural isolation and Informale’s experimental works. The analysis of the «baroque-centric» vision of Arte Povera in the post-war era leads into the discussion of Italian artists’ relation to the cultural past. The baroque is employed as an historical, conceptual model involving notions of nature, space, tension, theatricality, time, materials and the senses, and is used to trace the trajectory of Italian art’s evolution in style and ideology in the twentieth century. The book examines the work of Arte Povera artists in the context of a persisting alternation between tradition and revolution and provides an alternate reading to analyses rooted in a materials-based interpretation.

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Preface 9

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9Preface This thesis has been completed with the support and guidance of several institu- tions and many individuals. Firstly, I would like to thank Jacobs University Bremen for the financial and institutional assistance that has been provided for the duration of the project. I thank Dean Hendrik Birus and the School of Hu- manities and Social Science for hosting this project. I thank Dissertation Com- mittee Member Professor Paul Crowther for his participation throughout differ- ent stages of this work. I wish to express my gratitude to Professor Isabel Wünsche, Dissertation Committee Chair and supervisor of this thesis, not only for the opportunity to pursue my doctoral studies at Jacobs University, but also for the continuous support and guidance she has offered me. I have appreciated the flexibility and accommodation with which Professor Wünsche has super- vised this project. I would also like to thank Dissertation Committee Member, Professor John G. Hatch, for guidance that reaches past the scope of this thesis. As supervisor of my undergraduate and previous graduate studies, Professor Hatch encouraged me to pursue this project. The topic of this thesis and the ob- servation of a link between Arte Povera and the baroque began with Professor Hatch and grew out of discussions held in his graduate seminar at the University of Western Ontario, London, Canada. I thank Ida Gianelli and the Castello di Rivoli Museo d’Arte Contempora- nea in Turin, Italy, for hosting my internship in the fall of 2005. As supervisor of my...

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