When The Body as Language ("Body-art" and Performance) appeared in 1974, it was immediately a huge publishing hit, reviewed by some of the most influential art historians and writers (Giulio C. Argan, Edoardo Sanguineti, Max Kozloff, Lucy Lippard, François Pluchart, Peter Gorsen, Evelyn Weiss and many others). A direct testimony of the birth and development of one of the most controversial art trends, Lea Vergine's book avails of a series of texts by the artists themselves, whom the author had asked to contribute with a statement about the illustrations of their work. Featuring a thorough documentation of original photographs and film photograms, videotapes, happenings, actions and performances, the book analyses the evolution of this phenomenon through the works of sixty artists, including Gina Pane, Gilbert & George, Urs Lüthi and Katharina Sieverding, Rebecca Horn, Trisha Brown, Günter Brus and many others who have worked with and on the body.
In an absolutely unusual publishing event, nearly thirty years after the first edition, the text--by now a classic--is republished with all the original photographic material. The volume is enhanced and brought up-to-date by an afterword by Lea Vergine, who observes the changes of Body Art throughout the nineties: Orlan, Stelarc, Ron Athey, Franko B., Yasumasa Morimura, Jana Sterbak, Matthew Barney are "virtuosos of disorder and hungry for afflictions of any and every kind, mystics--like persons who display the subjection of their bodies to cruel and invasive devices, or who revel in virtual fantasies of such self-inflicted pains--destroy themselves in order newly to find themselves. . . . They finally pay a visit to the world of the saints and victims, exploring and prolonging its seductions."
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Lea Vergine is the author of many books on contemporary art issues. Among them: Attraverso l'Arte/Pratica Politica, Arcana, Rome, 1976; L'Arte ritrovata, Rizzoli, Milan, 1982; L'Arte in gioco, Garzanti, Milan, 1988; Gli ultimi eccentrici, Rizzoli, Milan, 1990; Arte in trincea, Skira, Milan, 1996.
She has curated a great number of exhibitions, among which: "L'altra metà dell'Avanguardia", Milan, Palazzo Reale; Rome, Palazzo delle Esposizioni; Stockholm, Kulturhuset (1980-81); "Arte cinetica e programmata", Milan, Palazzo Reale (1983-84); "Geometrie dionisiache", Milan, Rotonda della Besana (1988); "Quando i rifiuti diventano arte/Trash", Museums of Trento and Rovereto (1997-98).
In 1991 she organized the seminar "Arte: utopia o regressione?" ("Art: utopia or regression?") at San Marino; and in 1996 the seminar "La scena del rischio" ("The scene of risk") at the Galleria Civica of Turin.
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