Claudio Costa, Macchina Alchemica, 1986, 155 × 129 cm, Edition of 35
Courtesy of Archivio Conz, Berlin
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The edition is a silkscreened motif on individually pre-worked cloth.
  • 155 × 129 cm
    (61 × 50 ¾ inches)
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  • Claudio Costa was a prominent figure in the Italian avant-garde scene of the 1970s, working across genres ranging from Arte Povera to alchemical art. Costa pursued a degree in Architecture at the Polytechnic University of Milan and completed his education with a course in printmaking in Paris. While working at Atelier 17 in Montparnasse, he encountered Marcel Duchamp, by whom he was significantly influenced. In 1969, Costa displayed his work in his first solo exhibition at the Galleria La Bertesca in Genoa. In the 1970s, he traveled to New Zealand and Africa, experiences that influenced his investigation of tribal societies. In 1975, together with Aurelio Caminati, Costa founded the Museum of Active Anthropology in Monteghirfo, Genoa. Located inside an abandoned but intact farmhouse, where it was still possible to collect ancient agricultural artefacts, the artist duo cataloged and recovered a trace of rural culture removed by the advance of industrialized society. This work, ideologically close to that of Christian Boltanski, involves reconstructing an individual and collective memory. Together with Jakob de Chirico, Angelica Thomas, Antonino Bove, and Igor Sakharov Ross, Costa was also a protagonist of the group Kraftzellen. Following his participation in several exhibitions in Germany, Costa was invited to participate in documenta 6 in Kassel in 1977. In the 1980s, he returned to painting, symbolism, primitivism, and shamanism inspired by Joseph Beuys. In 1986, Costa presented the series Diva Bottiglia (1980–86) at the Biennale di Venezia as part of the exhibition Art and Alchemy, curated by Arturo Schwarz. That same year, Costa held a position at the psychiatric hospital in Quarto Dei Mille in Genoa, where he was responsible for organizing an art therapy workshop in collaboration with the psychiatrist Antonio Slavich. Out of this collaboration evolved the Museo Attivo delle Forme Inconsapevoli (Active Museum of Unconscious Forms), which brings together internationally renowned artists and artworks created in the hospital wards. The artist has exhibited at the Biennale di Venezia (1972, 1986), the Biennale de Paris (1973), the Palazzo Reale in Milan (1974), and the Museo Vostell Malpartida (1978), among many other venues.

Artworks (1)