Yves Klein was another influential artist. When Manzoni saw Klein’s all-blue works in a gallery in Milan, he came up with an all-white version in no time. And those white Achromes in particular made a profound impression on the Dutch artists. No one shared their sentiments at first: when the paintings were displayed by the Rotterdam Art Circle in 1958, hardly anyone saw reason to react positively. Some even resigned their membership of the art circle. Nevertheless a solo exhibition was organized by De Posthoorn Gallery in The Hague just one year later.
When Manzoni took part in the comprehensive zero exhibition in the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam in 1962, he presented six Merda d’Artista cans (1961), possibly his most famous work and an icon of avant-garde art. That he used his own excreta as an artistic medium aroused disgust as well as admiration. Of the 90 originals that were produced, each can of crap weighs 30 grammes and costs just as much as 30 grammes of gold.
Piero Manzoni, Achrome, 1958. Collection Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam. Photography Studio Tromp, Rotterdam - ©Pictoright Amsterdam 2019