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Zorio, Gilberto

Artist Closely identified with arte povera, Zorio studied at the Scuola di arte e di ceramica (School of Art and Ceramics) and then at the Accademia delle Belle Arti (Academy of Fine Arts) in Turin, the city where he continued to live. His first solo exhibition at the Sperone Gallery in 1967 led to his adoption by Ileana Sonnabend and Leo Castelli in New York. From 1967 to 1972, his work appeared in pioneering group exhibitions such as ‘When Attitudes Become Form’ in Berne. Zorio began his artistic experimentation using materials from his father’s building sites, creating structures made of scaffolding, polystyrene, cement mixes and rubber. His work explores the energy in materials and their interaction, sometimes involving the spectator as catalyst: in Tent (1967), salt water dries on canvas leaving deposits; in Burnt Writing (1969), words in invisible ink appear for an instant on combustion of a piece of paper; in To Purify Words (1969-84), chemical substances react to human breath. For Zorio, art is a corporeal experience embracing all the senses and does not require prior knowledge to be understood. Like those of Penone and Mario Merz, Zorio’s creations are accompanied by his own philosophical commentaries.