Lecture: the Worker, the Militant and the Monster: Visualizing Revolutionaries in 1960s and 1970s Italy

A lecture by Jacopo Galimberti, University of Manchester

Over the past twenty years, and particularly after the publication of Empire (2000), the theoretical insights of the 1960s and 1970s Italian far left have been reappraised by scholars, architects and artists. However, little has been written about the work of the artists who participated in the 1960s and 1970s social movements, and viewed operaismo and autonomia as both conceptual toolboxes and repositories of powerful images. A shared concern for these artists was to devise works that mirrored the material culture of the struggles and “the workers’ point of view”.

The talk will concentrate on Mario Mariotti, Pablo Echaurren, as well as on a Florentine collective, Archizoom. In particular, we will discuss their visualization of three figures: the worker, the militant and the monster. The talk will first examine the drawings appeared in the journal classe operaia (1964-1967). The second part of the talk will focus on an installation, Archizoom’s Centre for Eclectic Conspiracy (1968), which represented the cenotaph of Malcolm X. The drawings that Pablo Echaurren published in Lotta Continua in 1977 will close the narrative.


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