The End of Style
In February 1952 the first nuclear manifesto stated our intention of doing away with the last remaining concessions to academism. Our revolt against the reign of the right angle, against the dominion of the machine and against the glacial geometry of abstraction had found its voice.
And in our experimentations since then we have used every technical resource-going from the tachisme of objective automatism to the graphism [sic], action painting, calligraphying emulsifying, polymaterialism and fiottages of subjective automatism-to finally arrive at the 'heavy water' colours of Baj and Bertini in January 1957.
These technical experimentations have naturally brought their own vocabulary with them: we have gone from 'imaginary spaces' (cf. Pierre Restany) and 'states of matter' (Baj and Dangelo, 1951) to 'prefigurations' (Baj, Dangelo, Colombo and Mariani, 1953), 'new flora' (Dangelo), 'puppets, animals and fable' (Baj and Jorn, 1956) and 'atomized situations' (Baj and Pomodoro, 1957).
But every invention turns into convention: it gets imitated and copied for purely commercial reasons. That is why we must begin a vigorous anti stylistic action in the cause of an eternally 'other' art (cf. Michel Tapie). 'De Stijl' is dead and buried, and it is now up to its opposite-anti style-to break down the last remaining barriers of cliche-ridden convention that official stupidity still dares to oppose against this liberation-that has finally discovered its verbal definition-of art.
Once upon a time Impressionism helped painting get rid of conventional subject-matter; Cubism and Futurism later got rid of the need for the realistic reproduction of objects; and abstraction finally removed the last traces of representational illusion. A new-and final-link today completes this chain: we, nuclear painters, denounce, in order to destroy, the final convention, style. The last stylistic works that we recognize are the 'monochromes' ofYves Klein (1956-1957); only the bare boards-or Capogrossi's rolls of textile can follow them.
Decorators or painters: we have to choose. And we choose to be painters, creating something new and unique every time; painters for whom the virgin canvas is the constantly self-renewing scene for an unpredictable 'commedia dell'arte'.
We state that in a world in which the artifices of celebration are rejected, a work of art should be known by the unity of its character, by the effective influence of its appearance and for the simple reality of its living presence.
Milan, September 1957.
Signed by: Armand, Enrico Baj, Bemporad, Gianni Bertini, Jacques Calonne, Stanley Chapmans, Mario Colucci, Dangelo, Enrico de Miceli, Reinhout D'Haese, Wout Hoeboer, Hundertwasser, Yves Klein, Theodore Koenig, Piero Manzoni, Nando, Joseph Noiret, Arnaldo Pomodoro, Gio Pomodoro, Pierre Restany, Saura, Ettore Sordini, Serge Vandercam, Angelo Verga.
Leonardo, Vol. 3, No. 4 (Oct., 1970), pp. 465-466.