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Title:Behind the mirror: rereading theatricality in Luciano Fabro's Allestimento Teatrale
Author(s):Thomas, David A.
Advisor(s):Small, Irene V.
Department / Program:Art & Design
Discipline:Art History
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Arte Povera
Luciano Fabro
Abstract:In the 1967 article "Art and Objecthood," the American art critic Michael Fried faults Minimalist sculpture for its inherent theatricality. Theatricality, as he defines it, results from the form's anthropomorphic scale and sense of hollowness that imply a presence, like that of a human body, inside the work. The dialogical relationship between the viewer and this interior presence becomes a spectacle. I intend to examine Fried's definition of theatricality alongside the work of the Arte Povera artist Luciano Fabro, who utilizes familiar Minimalist-like forms as containers for real human bodies. In a scantly documented performance piece Allestimento teatrale: cubo di specchi [Theatrical Staging: Mirror Cube], (1967/75), Fabro presents a theatrical performance with an audience seated around a large mirror cube listening to a monologue performed by an actor sealed inside the cube. Since its inception in the late 1960s, the Italian Arte Povera movement has been described, among other things, as a critique of Minimalism. The group read Minimalist sculpture as a reflection of an alienating technological system of American capitalist production. As I argue, Fabro's construction of presence renders it an affectation, a manipulation of the public audience, and further that the reflection of the audience on the sides of the mirror cube allows for the formation of a collective subject. But what are the implications of such developments in a movement opposed to American influence and in the midst of the turbulent political environment of late 1960s and 1970s Italy?
Issue Date:2010-06-22
Rights Information:Copyright 2010 David A. Thomas
Date Available in IDEALS:2010-06-22
Date Deposited:May 2010

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