Gian Ruggero Manzoni was born in 1957 in San Lorenzo di Lugo (RA), where he currently lives.
He is a poet, a narrator, a painter, an art critic, a playwright and a performer.
After finishing grammar school in Lugo di Romagna, in 1975 he joined the DAMS School of performing arts in Bologne.
After “The Movement of 1977” he left Bologne to join the Army as a volunteer. In the following years he spent time in Belgium, France and Germany, where he joined inspiring artistic groups.
He taught History of Art, at the School of Fine Arts in Urbino from 1990 to 1995.
In 1984 and 1986, he took part in the “Venice Biennale” as an art theorist, painter and poet under the direction of Maurizio Calvesi. He has taken part in over 70 painting exhibitions
and published over 50 papers.
He loves small town life and he likes to say of himself that “he has all the flaws of the small town man, but also all his virtues”.
Following his family tradition, since his youngest years, Gian Ruggero Manzoni, has been interested in the study of Judaism, Western and Eastern philosophy, anthropology and history.
At the end of grammar school he studied music, cinema and modern language, in particular the phenomenon defined by the linguist Tullio De Mauro as “juvenile slang... new words used by young people”.
In 1980 he wrote his first book, in collaboration with Emilio Dalmonte, titled “Pesta duro e vai tranquillo/ dizionario del linguaggio giovanile” (“Stump hard and don’t worry / a dictionary of juvenile language”) (published by Feltrinelli).
In 1981 he started his friendship with the painter Omar Galliani, and since then they have been involved in a number of projects, some of which are still ongoing.
In 1983, while in London, he befriended the graffiti artist Keith Herring. In the same year he started working for the Roman journal “Cervo Volante” edited by the artist Tommaso Cascella and directed initially by Adriano Spatola, and then by Corrado Costa and finally by Edoardo Sanguineti together with Achille Bonito Oliva.
In the same years he got close to the artists of “Transavantgarde” in particular Enzo Cucchi and Mimmo Paladino but also Nino Longobardi and the gallerists Lucio Amelio from Naples and Emilio Mazzoli from Modena.
It was in the 80’s that he became known for his paintings (that Manzoni himself defines as “ a visual continuum with his writing work”).
In 1984 he was invited by Maurizio Calvesi and Marisa Vescovo to take part as a poet and artist in the XLI Venice Biennale, where he curated together with the poet Valerio Magrelli the poetry section for “Arte allo Specchio”. In the same year he started a solid collaboration with the gallerist Cleto Polcina from Rome, where he spent a lot of time.
He eventually met Gino De Dominicis, with whom he spent many hours discussing about anthropology and about the Assyrian and Babylonian cultures, together with Mario Schifano and Amelia Rosselli.
In 1985 he brought to the stage his “Filokalia” a poetic theatrical representation performed by himself. The premiere was in Udine. In the same year the musician Fernando Mencherini, produced the music for Manzoni’s “La Religione del Suono”. The premiere was in Porto Venere.
After a period in Germany, where he spent time with artists such as Penck, Lupertz, Beuys, Immendorff, Disler, Polke, Baselitz (of which he followed several workshops), he returned to London and got close to Kenny Scharf, Bruce McLean and Jim Dine.
Once back in Italy, he worked with the cartoonist Andrea Pazienza, already his friend as a student in Bologne, with Augusto Daolio, lead singer in the group “Nomadi” and with his long time friend Pier Vittorio Tondelli.
In 1986 he took part again in the Venice Biennale.
He spent time with Giovanni Testori and together with Marisa Vescovo, Concetto Pozzati, Piero Dorazio, Roberto Sanesi, Vettor Pisani and Omar Galliani he founded the journal “Origini” (published by La Scaletta), that he directed until 1998.
In 1987, his readings were accompanied by the music of jazz artists such as Mario Gallegati, Nicola Franco Ranieri, Giorgio Ricci Garotti and later on in the mid ‘90s by the music of pianist and composer Guido Facchini and the singer-vocalist Jhon De Leo.
This is the time when the collaboration with Lucrezia De Domizio and her husband Budy Durini started.
The acting company Giocovita and Paolo Valli, put on stage his manuscript “Per colui che è” dedicated to Ezra Pound. The narrating voice belonged to the director Egidio Marcucci and the set was by Graziano Pompili. The premiere was in Piacenza.
In 1988 he was invited to take part in the seminar “La nascita delle grazie” , an event organised in Riccione by the poets Giuseppe Conte, Rosita Copioli, Mario Baudino, Roberto Mussapi, Tomaso Kemeny and Stefano Zecchi (all artists that will become he hard core of Mitomodernismo). Part of the proceedings were published in the “Origini” journal.
In 1990 he started to attend the Milan artistic circles and became the supervisor of the cultural journal “Risk – Arte Oggi”, directed by Lucrezia De Domizio Durini, and together with Gianni Celati, he worked on the column “Narratori delle riserve” , a section in the “Manifesto” newspaper, entirely dedicated to prose.
In 1991 Fernando Mencherini, created the music for Manzoni’s “Il codice”. The premiere was in Lugo di Romagna, with a special performance of Stefano Scodanibbio at the double bass.
In the same year he further studied the theories of Gorgia, Hume, Stirner, the Russian nihilists Zajcev and Pisarev, as well as Nietzsche, Heidegger, Benn, Bakunin, Jungler, Spengler, Carl Schmitt, Camus, Celine and many other modern theorists of nihilism and of the strong-thought movement.
In 1993 he started a collaboration with the publishing house “Il Saggiatore” and also became the Italian supervisor for the School of Thought “Liebe und Aktion” founded in 1901 in Berlin by H. Hoffmann and K. Fischer.
Also in the early 90’s he met and started several collaborations with artists such as Giosetta Fioroni, Aldo Mondino, Giacinto Cerone, Arcangelo, Luigi Ontani, Jan Knap, Bruno Ceccobelli. Also, together with Miranda Cortes and the group “La Frontera” he put on stage (and performed as narrating voice) a theatre play with set design by Cesare Baracca.
He took part in the works of the prose magazine “Il Semplice”, published by Feltrinelli and directed by Gianni Celati and Ermanno Cavazzoni. At the same time he worked as a sculptor on several vases and tiles,
in the famous studio “Bottega di Ceramica Gatti” in Faenza.
These were the years when he met the German painter Anselm Kiefer.
And these were also the years when he entered the editorial group of “Letteratura-Tradizione” (published by Heliopolis) and directed three issues of the paper.
Thanks to Matthes & Seitz Verlag, of Munich, in 2000 he published the poetry book “Il digiuno imposto”, illustrated by Mimmo Paladino. The book was first presented
in Merano and Brunnenburg, in the castle that belonged to Ezra Pound, as well as at the Book Exhibition of Frankfurt, in Berlin, Cologne, Munich and other German cities.
The musician Brian Eno took part into this project.
In 2001 he met Alessandro Scansani director of the publishing house Diabasis, of which he became author and associate.
In 2002 he spent time in Argentina and Uruguay, to promote his book “Il diguno imposto” translated by the poet Pablo Anadon.
In 2004 he formed a literary circle together with the poets Andrea Ponso, Francesco Camerini, Rino Cavasino, Sebastiano Gatto, Luca Ariano, Davide Brullo and others.
All their works were included in the anthology/ manifesto “Oltre il tempo” (published by Diabasis).
In 2005 he joined the Scientific Committee for Cultural and Literary Activities of the Camaldoli Monastery.
In 2006 he went back to working in the theatre and put on stage some of his monologues accompanied by the singer/vocalist Jhon De Leo.
In 2008 he founded the journal “Ali” (from the origin of the universe – from the origins of abyss) published by Bradipo, a four-monthly journal about art, literature and thoughts.
In this editorial adventure he has been accompanied by the scientist Edoardo Boncinelli, art critics Marisa Vescovo and Claudia Casali, literature critics Paolo Lagazzi,
Marco Sangiorgi and Giancarlo Pontiggia, the translator Marco Fazzini, the director Nicola Macolino, the painter and poet Salvatore Scafiti.
In that same year he put on stage “Il sonno di MacBeth” with the acting company “Abraxas”. The premiere was in the Teatro Savoia in Campobasso.
In 2009 he left the Scientific Committee for Cultural and Literary Activities of the Camaldoli Monastery and started working on the translation of the biblical “Esodo” published by Raffaelli of Rimini.
In 2010 he went back to work with the German School of Thought “Liebe und Aktion”.
In 2011 he taught painting and sculpture at the Espace Polychrome in Liege, Belgium.
In 2012 he translated the biblical “Genesis” and with Mimmo Paladino they put together a book of poetical prose and water colours.
“Tutto il calore del mondo” was published by Skirà in 2013. At the end of 2013 he went back to Germany to meet one of his old teachers, George Bazelist and then in 2012 he spent some time
in Great Britain where his daughter had moved to.
His literary work has been translated and published in Greece, Spain, France, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, Argentina, Uruguay, Chile and USA. He won several literary prizes: Savignano Poesia Inedita (1986), Mont Blanc Narrativa Inedita (1993), Todaro-Faranda Narrativa Inedita (1996), Confesercenti-Bancarella Narrativa (2002), Città di Bari- Costiera di Levante Narrativa (2002), Francesco Serantini Narrativa (2004).