The series of highly commended essays written for the National Prize for the history and criticism of contemporary art, promoted by the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and the MAXXI Foundation, continues. The study conducted by lara conte hinges on the crucial period of the mid-1960s, when visual art was given a new frontier, dangerously close to life and all its anxieties, leaving behind its ancient vocation for 'form'.
At a time in history that was affected by strong tensions in the political, social and cultural field, in various places, there was a development of artistic experience which shared the same operational spirit. Artists were drawn towards a gradual breaking-down of the great divide between art and life. They extended the range of materials and procedures used. Art became a “sensitive field”, breaking new ground in terms of action, and processes used, where the observer no longer exploited the artwork passively, but was encouraged to be actively involved in the event. The first chapters describe the early forms of the new artistic language, in Italy and especially Turin, in the years 1966-67. There follows an in-depth examination of the beginning of the first proposals of the post-minimalists in the United States, and the very first assimilation overseas of European attitudes and processes. Then there is a similar description of the situation in Europe. The study reveals that these artistic experiences were closely linked. “A rare work because of the painstaking research involved (exhaustive research in many of the world’s leading public and private archives), and equally because of the way it is written, shying away from technical jargon, using clear language, composed of things and not contrived phrases.” Fabrizio D’Amico .