Nicola De Maria, Regno dei fiori (Kingdom of flowers), 1984–85, oil on canvas, 7' 2 1/2“ x 10' x 2 5/16”.


Castello di Rivoli

As it was with arte povera, so it goes with the Transavanguardia. Some two decades after Achille Bonito Oliva coined the term (in a 1979 article in Flash Art), it now resurfaces on the occasion of an exhibition reuniting the five artists who were its most emblematic vectors. Having handily won out over the rival label arte cifra (proposed by critic Wolfgang Max Faust, for the group’s first exhibition, held in June 1979 at Galerie Paul Maenz in Cologne), Transavanguardia was indeed rather rapidly effaced in favor of the proper names Sandro Chia, Francesco Clemente, Enzo Cucchi, Nicola De Maria, and Mimmo Paladino. Similarly, in the early ’70s, the label arte povera disappeared in order that its twelve purported adherents might assert themselves individually. Thus, these artists did not find themselves gathered again under the banner unfurled in 1967 by Germano Celant until the mid-’80s (

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