PIERO MANZONI (1933–1963)
PIERO MANZONI (1933–1963)
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PIERO MANZONI (1933–1963)

Linea m 6,98 (Line m 6,98)

PIERO MANZONI (1933–1963)
Linea m 6,98 (Line m 6,98)
titled and inscribed '12/59' (on the label)
ink on paper, cardboard tube
8 ½ x 2 ½ x 2 ½in. (21.5 x 6.5 x 6.5cm.)
Executed in 1959
Galerie M.E. Thelen, Essen.
Collection P. G. Woog, Geneva.
Anon. Sale, Sotheby's London, 2 July 1998, lot 104.
Private Collection, Switzerland.
G. Celant, Piero Manzoni: catalogo generale, Milan 1975, no. 33 I (illustrated, p. 185).
F. Battino, L. Palazzoli, Piero Manzoni: Catalogue raisonné, Milan 1991, no. 926 BM (illustrated, p. 432).
G. Celant, Piero Manzoni. Catalogo generale. Tomo secondo, Milan 2004, no. 536 (illustrated, p. 472).
Paris, Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Paris, Piero Manzoni, 1991, no. 46 (illustrated, p. 116; p. 219). This exhibition later travelled to Herning, Herning Kunstmuseum, 1991; Madrid, Sala de Exposiciones de la Fundacion 'la Caixa', 1991; Rivoli, Castello di Rivoli - Museo d'Arte Contemporanea, 1992
London, Serpentine Gallery, Piero Manzoni, 1998 (p. 286).
Geneva, Mamco, Musée d'art moderne et contemporain, Philippe Thomas, 2014.
Special notice

Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent.

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Barbara Guidotti
Barbara Guidotti

Lot Essay

Linea m 6,98 (1959) stems from one of Piero Manzoni’s most iconic and provocative series: the Linee, or ‘lines.’ Each of these works consists of a sealed, cylindrical box containing a rolled length of paper, on which a line is drawn in black ink. A label on the outside records the line’s length and date of execution in English and French. In the present example, we are told that the line is 6.98 metres long, and was made in December 1959. Intended to remain unopened, the Linee are radical works whose central component is less an object than an idea: Duchampian in spirit, they anticipate much of the conceptual art that would not emerge as a definable movement until well after Manzoni’s death in 1963. As Manzoni put it, ‘The nature of the Linea is eternal and infinite, the concept is everything. I put the Linea in a container so that people can buy the idea of the Linea. I sell an idea, an idea closed in a container’ (P. Manzoni, quoted in Piero Manzoni, exh. cat. Serpentine Gallery, London 1998, p. 110). Linea m 6,98 was included in two major retrospectives of Manzoni’s work: in 1991, it travelled from the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris to the Herning Kunstmuseum, Denmark, and Madrid’s Fundación ‘La Caixa’; in 1998 it was shown in Piero Manzoni at the Serpentine Gallery, London, the largest-scale exhibition of the artist’s work since 1974.

The very literal expressions of the body in his famed Artists Breath (1960) and Artists Shit (1961) are only the most notorious among Manzoni’s pioneering conceptual statements. He also consecrated boiled eggs with his thumbprint, which gallery-goers were invited to eat; he signed people’s bodies to turn them into works of art; his Socle du monde (1961), a plinth inverted as if to support the earth, declared the entire world an artwork. Manzoni made at least fifty Linee between April and December of 1959, ranging in length between 0.78 to 33.63 metres. In July 1960, he would create a line measuring 7,200 metres long using a newspaper printing press in Herning, Denmark, which was subsequently entombed in a large lead-iron container and buried in the ground: he also made several cylinders that he christened Linee di lunghezza infinita (Lines of infinite length), which were in fact cylinders of solid wood. Bringing together the ideas of infinity, value and the magic of the creative act that were central to Manzoni’s practice, works like Linea m 6,98 are elegant relics of his ritual-conceptual vision.

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