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The New Michelangelo

  • Andersen's Contemporary
  • Andersen's Contemporary
December 22, 2014

The ways of perceiving oneself in the world represents one of the most complex notions in today’s postmodern societies. It seems that a person feels situated in that impossible-to-define space between the infinity of the outside world and the limitlessness of one’s inner self… There are those artists and philosophers who would say that we can never escape this imperfection of our being. A respected artist and theorist has been facing this set of notions head on during the entirety of his career…

Andersen's Contemporary
Michelangelo Pistoletto – The New Sign of Infinity, symbol of Third Paradise, traced on the sand by the artist, 2003, photo J.E.S. (courtesy pistoletto.it)
Andersen's Contemporary
Michelabgelo Pistoletto – Exhibition of works produced during the didactic laboratory The Third Paradise, 2006, photo R. Bena (courtesy pistoletto.it)
Andersen's Contemporary
Michelangelo Pistoletto at Andersen’s gallery (courtesy andersenscontemporary.dk)

The Artist: Practitioner and Theorist

Born in 1933 and began exhibiting work at an age of 22, Michelangelo Pistoletto is one of the most renowned European artists working today, originating from Italian cultural space (read about inspiring Italian urban artists in 10 Italian Urban Artists). Pistoletto had his first solo show in 1960, examining the field of self-portraiture. Soon enough, only two years later, the artist made his first Mirror Paintings, an instance which would determine Pistoletto’s creative investigations and define his aesthetics. What is more, apart form the international acclaim which the artist had gained during 1960s, Mirror Paintings represented a unique basis for Pistoletto’s theoretical work. Set of works titled Minus Objects are paradigmatic for yet another inspiring aspect of the artist’s practice. These pieces were going to become known as the instigating factor of the birth of an art movement called Arte Povera. At the core of the creative process of Arte Povera was the act of contextualizing works of art through the power of impoverished materials. Moreover, the artist had played a major role of being a bridge among artists and cultural institutions who had been devoted to the movement.

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

Pistoletto’s practice of manipulating mirrors could, arguably, be called a certain “deconstruction and construction of infinity.” His works, which were based on various mirror surfaces and a specific performance, aspired to invite the viewer to a dialogue of self-reflection. Even today, this aspect of the artist’s work is something which makes the artist’s style recognizable to a wider audience. It is quite interesting that this reflection on the role of an individual faced with the vastness of his or her surroundings transpired into the artist’s activities which address the various spheres of societies. For this kind of approach to art, as well as his masterful artistic practice, Pistoletto had won the Venice Biennale’s Golden Lion for Lifelong Achievement in 2003 and, a year later, University of Turin awarded him a laurea honoris causa in Political Science. This is the occasion when the artist announced the beginning of the most recent phase of his work – Third Paradise.

Andersen's Contemporary
Michelangelo Pistoletto at Andersen’s gallery (courtesy andersenscontemporary.dk)
Andersen's Contemporary
Michelangelo Pistoletto at Andersen’s gallery (courtesy andersenscontemporary.dk)

The Third Paradise and Pistoletto’s Work at Andersen’s

In 1996, the artist founded the art city Cittadelarte – Fondazione Pistoletto in a discarded textile factory near the artist’s hometown Biella. The Third Paradise represents a center idea for Pistoletto’s and Cittadelarte’s work. It resonates the overcoming of the existing contemporary conflict between the polarities of nature and artifice. Thus, the symbol of the Third Paradise is “The New Infinity Sign” – a mathematical infinity sign altered to have three circles. The two loops represent the mentioned notions of nature and artifice, while the middle one is a conjunction of the two and “represents the generative womb of the Third Paradise.” 21st December 2012 was the first celebration of the Third Paradise, Rebirth-day: prima giornata mondiale della rinascita (the First Worldwide Day of Rebirth). It was marked in various countries and locations across the globe. A part of this shared event was presented at the Louvre Museum from April to September of 2013. This year, the artist visited Copenhagen. This included a Third Paradise installation in the courtyard of Kunsthal Charlottenborg, an artist talk at the Royal Danish Academy and an exhibition at Andersen’s Contemporary in the period between October 14th and December 13th 2014.

Be sure to have a close look at the installation view at Andersen’s Contemporary and check out the interesting video below. In the meantime, take a moment to sign up for our exciting feature My Widewalls, by creating a profile, easy and FREE of charge!

Andersen's Contemporary
Michelangelo Pistoletto at Andersen’s gallery (courtesy andersenscontemporary.dk)
Andersen's Contemporary
Michelangelo Pistoletto at Andersen’s gallery (courtesy andersenscontemporary.dk)