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Reversing the Eye: Arte Povera and Beyond 1960-75: Photography, Film, Video
Various Artists

Reversing the Eye.

Reversing the Eye.Reversing the Eye: Arte Povera and Beyond 1960-75: Photography, Film, Video
Various Artists
Edited by Quentin Bajac, Diane Dufour and Coline Aguettaz.
Co-Published by Atelier XB, Jeu de Paume, LE BAL, and Triennale Milano.

Essays by Giuliano Sergio and Elena Volpato.

410 pages
220 x 230 mm
ISBN 9782365113403



Reversing the Eye publication and exhibition it accompanies take a fresh look at the arte povera movement rarely associated with photographic and film media. They invite the viewer to “reverse the eye” through this unprecedented view of the artistic movement by also placing it in the social and political context of the time in Italy. The result of extensive research in artists’ studios and private and public collections, the book reveals the extraordinary richness of a period when Italian artists were among the most important interpreters of the transformation of visual languages.

This publication is structured around four themes: body, experience, image and theater. It presents more than 300 works by major figures of arte povera, including Giovanni Anselmo, Alighiero Boetti, Luigi Ghirri, Jannis Kounellis, Piero Manzoni, Mario Merz, Giuseppe Penone, Michelangelo Pistoletto… It also offers a visual immersion in the political and cultural context of the time with portfolios (printed on colored paper) dedicated to cinema, theater, political events, happenings and press extracts presenting the major socio-cultural issues of the time.

Several texts shed light on the visual corpus at the end of the book: an essay by Giuliano Sergio on this period of Italian artistic effervescence in the 1960s and 1970s in a context of media development, a text by Elena Volpato on video art, followed by a detailed chronology of the movement as well as biographical notices of the artists.

The title “Reversing the eye” is a reference to the eponymous work by Giuseppe Penone, Rovesciare i propri occhi, which appears in the book and exhibition. This book accompanies the exhibition presented jointly at the Jeu de Paume and LE BAL from October 2022 followed by the Triennale Milano in 2023, curated by Quentin Bajac, director of the Jeu de Paume, Diane Dufour, director of LE BAL, and Giuliano Sergio, independent curator, with the complicity of Lorenza Bravetta, curator at the Triennale Milano.

About the Publishers
Atelier EXB / Éditions Xavier Barral
publishes works that address new forms of photography, contemporary art and sciences. Founded in 2002 by Xavier Barral, and taken over in 2020 by the five members of the team (Jordan Alves, Nathalie Chapuis, Yseult Chehata, Charlotte Debiolles and Perrine Somma), the publishing house conceives each book with great attention to both content and form. To question the forms of photography, to bring to light artistic voices, to approach the major questions which innervate our contemporary societies through the image: the Atelier EXB is at the same time a space of creation, curiosity and opening on the world.

The Jeu de Paume is an iconic cultural institution located in the Tuileries Gardens. It has gained an international reputation as an art centre that exhibits and promotes all forms of mechanical and electronic imagery (photography, cinema, video, installation, online creation, etc.) from the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. It produces and coproduces exhibitions but also organises film programs, symposiums and seminars, as well as educational activities. The Jeu de Paume also publishes a number of art publications each year. With its high profile exhibitions of established, little-known and emerging artists (especially via the Satellite program), this venue ties together different narrative strands, mixing the historic and the contemporary

Le BAL is an independent platform for exhibitions, publications, ideas and education, centered on the contemporary image in all its forms – photography, video, film and the new media. Founded in 2010 by Raymond Depardon and Diane Dufour with the support of Mairie de Paris, it is a non-profit organization. In 2018, Christine Vidal was appointed co-director of the BAL.

Triennale Milano is a cultural institution, that conveys the complexities of the contemporary world in a host of artistic forms: design, architecture, and the visual, scenic, and performing arts.From 1923 The first International Exhibition of Decorative Arts is held in Monza. The event is held every two years in the park of Monza’s Villa Reale, with the objective of stimulating the relationship between industry, art and society at large. Post war Italy looks to industry for an opportunity of renewed prosperity, and to creative design for the unifying element of its productions.