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Arte programmata [It.: ‘programmed art’].

Term given to the work of various Italian artists active during the early 1960s who were primarily interested in KINETIC ART and OP ART. The phrase was used by Umberto Eco in 1962 for an exhibition that he presented at the Olivetti Showroom in Milan. This show included works by BRUNO MUNARI, Enzo Mari and members of GRUPPO N and GRUPPO T (both founded 1959). The artists produced objects by a procedure analogous to the methods of technological research, creating a prototype that was then developed through a series of closely related artefacts. This practice was exemplified by Munari, whose mass-produced ‘multiples’ took the form either of hand-operated objects or simple machines (e.g. X Hour, 1963). The ‘multiples’ required the participation of members of the public in order to function and were intended to explore optical and physical phenomena, concerns that also dominated the work of other Arte programmata artists. Giovanni Anceschi (b 1939) created remarkable dynamic images with coloured liquids, while Gianni Colombo (b 1937) made reliefs constructed out of blocks that moved mechanically. Arte programmata gained an international reputation and in 1964 was the subject of exhibitions at the Royal College of Art, London, and at various venues in the USA. In the late 1960s, however, the artists became less closely associated, even though most continued to pursue their interests in kinetic and optical effects.


Bruno Munari
Negativo-positivo giallo-rosso



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