Gilberto Zorio 

Gilberto Zorio 

Italian artist Gilberto Zorio (1944­–) ranks among those artists who have a very distinct aesthetic. With his characteristic imagery and clear-cut themes, he created a hugely influential oeuvre, making him a notable presence in the Arte Povera movement.

An influential artist in art circles

Upon graduating from the Accademia Albertina di Belle Arti in Turin, Zorio quickly moved from painting to sculpture, presenting his first exhibition in 1967. His fascination with language prompted him to launch his art project Per purificare le parole, which extended up through the early 1980s. His works have been exhibited around the world, and he has taught at the Accademia Albertina di Belle Arti in Turin since graduating in 1971.

Characteristic themes

With his insistent aesthetic and art style, Zorio’s works are often easily recognisable. His themes usually contain parts or reflections of particular forms. Alchemy is a particular fascination of Zorio’s, prompting him to work with recurring imagery such as flasks, chemical compositions, or natural phenomena such as evaporation or redox reactions. Some works incorporate versions of alchemical diagrams and the five-pointed star, which he claimed to be the symbol of Venus and an important symbol in alchemy. Other themes found in Zorio’s works are less alchemical in nature, but nonetheless rich in symbolism. They include his canoe motifs, which, echoing another recurring trope in his art, ‘resemble a javelin as it cuts purposefully through the water like a dream eagerly flying towards its realisation’. The canoe and javelin motifs reflect the intense, thrusting force required to propel these objects forward, while the way they are presented, suspended and unstable, introduces aspects of the fragility found in something that is powerful when in motion, but becomes delicate as soon as the momentum is lost.


Works by Gilberto Zorio are exhibited here:

HEART – Museum of Contemporary Art

Socle du Monde Biennale 2021 is supported by: