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Manzoni responded to these gestural enactments of absence and violence by volatilizing the material surface of painting and then pushing his experiments with materials toward practices prescient of later inquiries associated with performance. This chapter argues that Manzoni’s primary project was to respond to Fontana and to affirm disciplinary yet deskilled, repetitive, value-productive labor as the framework for art making. Manzoni’s work indexes Italy’s economic-historical entwinement at the intersection of a belated full capitalism and a prefigurative restructuring, later associated with globalization. This same nexus preoccupied the Marxists of Operaia, or workerist movement, who were retheorizing deskilled work as a...

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