Born into an aristocratic family in Northern Italy, Manzoni was a self-taught artist, one of the first to question the nature of art. His early works were gestural paintings, concerned with the concept of emptiness through the complete stripping back of traditional form and colour. Inspired by the work of Yves Klein, he produced the highly textured and neutral toned Achromes.
In 1961, Manzoni canned his own faeces in the controversial Artist’s shit series to challenge cultural perceptions still surrounding art, artist and the contemporary art market. He is also known for exhibiting balloons of ‘artist’s breath’ and rolled up drawings of measured lines. His works have had a significant impact on the history of art, influencing many of the movements that followed.
Manzoni died in Milan in 1963.