Piero Manzoni was born in Soncino, Italy, in 1933. He was a close friend of the Italian artist Lucio Fontana. In 1951 Manzoni began studying law and also taking painting courses. In 1955 he started studying philosophy in Rome, and after a year he transferred to Milan’s Università degli Studi. He was in contact with representatives of the avant-garde movements, including artists from the groups Arte Nucleare and CoBrA, as well as the Spatialists around Lucio Fontana. He got to know the material kaolin, used in ceramics, and it awakened his artistic interest. In 1957 he produced his first monochrome white pictures, or Achromes, out of folded canvas and plaster, soon replacing the plaster with kaolin. Together with Enrico Castellani, in 1959 he published the journal Azimuth. Manzoni took part in exhibitions all over Europe, and numerous essays appeared about his conceptual work. At this time he created cylinders containing a line on paper several metres long, and he signed people as works of art. Manzoni recorded his thoughts about art in numerous writings. He died in Milan of a heart attack in 1963.