Michelangelo Pistoletto, Inginocchiatoio, 2008, Mirror: 250 x 200 cm; wooden kneeling-stool: 99 x 50 x 49 cm, Courtesy of Galleria Continua, San Gimignano / Beijing / Le Moulin, Photograph: Aurélien Mole, © 2011 Michelangelo Pistoletto

Michelangelo Pistoletto, Labirinto e Grande Pozzo, 1969-2008, Corrugated cardboard, mirror, Dimensions variable, Courtesy of Galleria Continua, San Gimignano / Beijing / Le Moulin, Photograph: Bertrand Huet, © 2011 Michelangelo Pistoletto.

Michelangelo Pistoletto's Long and Occulted Road to Revelation

Michelangelo Pistoletto, Pozzo (Well), 1965, Cardboard, canvases and broken frames, 100 x 140 cm, Fondazione Pistoletto, Biella, Photograph: P. Pellion, © 2011 Michelangelo Pistoletto.

Michelangelo Pistoletto, The Labyrinth, 1969-2007, Corrugated cardboard, Meters of cardboard, Courtesy Galleria Continua, San Gimignano / Beijing / Le Moulin, Photo by Oak Taylor-Smith, © 2011 Michelangelo Pistoletto.

 

Serpentine Gallery
Kensington Gardens
020 7402 6075
London
Michelangelo Pistoletto
The Mirror of Judgement
July 12-September 17, 2011

A new exhibition by leading Italian artist Michelangelo Pistoletto opens this summer at Serpentine Gallery. Winner of the Golden Lion Award for Lifetime Achievement at the Venice Biennale in 2003, Pistoletto is acclaimed worldwide as a key figure in the development of conceptual art and as a founder of the influential Arte Povera movement.

For his exhibition at the Serpentine, titled The Mirror of Judgement, the artist has devised a labyrinth that guides visitors through the Gallery’s interior where they discover a series of sculptural works. He describes the labyrinth as "a winding and unforeseeable road that leads us to the place of revelation, of knowledge." Pistoletto’s maze alters the viewers’ understanding of the architecture and makes each one a fundamental part of the work itself.

Throughout his career, Pistoletto has worked as a theorist and activist using art to inspire and produce social change. In 2004 he announced the most recent phase of his work, the Third Paradise, an imagined new level of human civilization. The exhibition will include elements from the Third Paradise series and representations of four major religions; Christianity, Islam, Judaism and Buddhism.

Born in Biella, Italy, in 1933, Pistoletto began as a painter in the mid-1950s and in the 1960s received critical acclaim for his series of Mirror Paintings. These works broke down the traditional notions of figurative art by reflecting their surroundings and the viewer as a part of the image, linking art and life in an ever changing spectacle.

The exhibition at the Serpentine continues the artist’s exploration of participation. In the late 1960s, Pistoletto established The Zoo, a workshop open to artists, filmmakers, intellectuals, poets and the public that centred on collaboration and performance. The projects he worked on with The Zoo were closely entwined with his individual studio practice, with both combining material form, pictorial space and theatrical gesture. This focus on participation developed in 1998 with the creation of Cittadellarte: Fondazione Pistoletto, a centre for the study and promotion of creativity of all kinds. This interdisciplinary approach is an intrinsic part of his goal to unite the diverse strands of human civilisation through art.

Michelangelo Pistoletto, Inginocchiatoio 2008, Mirror: 250 x 200 cm; wooden kneeling-stool: 99 x 50 x 49 cm, Courtesy of Galleria Continua, San Gimignano / Beijing / Le Moulin, Photograph: Ela Bialkowska, © 2011 Michelangelo Pistoletto.

Michelangelo Pistoletto, Labirinto e Megafoni, 1969, Installation view at Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam, Courtesy of Galleria Continua, San Gimignano / Beijing / Le Moulin, © 2011 Michelangelo Pistoletto.

Michelangelo Pistoletto, The Cubic Meter of Infinity in a Mirroring Cube, 1966-2007, Mirror, neon lights, plaster, 500 x 500 x 500 cm, Courtesy of Galleria Continua, San Gimignano / Beijing / Le Moulin, Photograph: Oak Taylor-Smith, © 2011 Michelangelo Pistoletto.

Michelangelo Pistoletto, Metrocubo d'Infinito in un Cubo Specchiante, (Square Metre of Infinity in a Mirror Cube), Photo Enrico Amici, Courtesy Galleria Continua, San Gimignano / Beijing / Le Moulin.

Pistoletto's Mirrored Modernism amid Florentine Renaissance Architecture

Michelangelo Pistoletto, Metrocubo d'Infinito in un Cubo Specchiante, (Square Metre of Infinity in a Mirror Cube), Photo Enrico Amici, Courtesy Galleria Continua, San Gimignano / Beijing / Le Moulin.

Michelangelo Pistoletto, Metrocubo d'Infinito in un Cubo Specchiante, (Square Metre of Infinity in a Mirror Cube), Photo Enrico Amici, Courtesy Galleria Continua, San Gimignano / Beijing / Le Moulin.

Michelangelo Pistoletto, Metrocubo d'Infinito in un Cubo Specchiante (Square Metre of Infinity in a Mirror Cube), Photo Oak Taylor-Smith, Courtesy Galleria Continua, San Gimignano / Beijing / Le Moulin.

 

Strozzina
Courtyard of Palazzo Strozzi
Palazzo Strozzi
Piazzo Strozzi
+39 066 27 76 461/06
Florence
Square Metre of Infinity in a Mirror Cube
An Installation by Michelangelo Pistoletto

October 1, 2010-January 23, 2011

Visitors to Palazzo Strozzi from October-January will encounter Metrocubo d'Infinito in un Cubo Specchiante (Square Metre of Infinity in a Mirror Cube, by Michelangelo Pistoletto in the courtyard of Palazzo Strozzi, a spectacular example of Renaissance architecture in Florence.

The event follows similar initiatives in 2008 and 2009, when Wang Yu Yang (Harbin, China, 1979) and Yves Netzhammer (Schaffhausen, Switzerland, 1970) produced site-specific installations for the courtyard. The project, devised and produced by Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi — in cooperation with Cittadellarte-Fondazione Pistoletto and Galleria Continua, San Gimignano / Beijing / Le Moulin – marks the start of a new partnership with Castello di Ama per l’Arte Contemporanea in Gaiole in Chianti (Siena).

Metrocubo d'Infinito in un Cubo Specchiante (Square Metre of Infinity in a Mirror Cube), an installation covered externally with opaque steel plates and internally clad with mirrors, is intended to offer the public an opportunity to experience boundless space. Its centre will be occupied by one of this Piedmontese artist's historic works, the Metrocubo di Infinito (Square Metre of Infinity), 1966, which consists of exceptionally opaque surfaces on the outside and reflecting surfaces on the inside, thus taking the potential of refraction to its extreme limit.

Mirrors are a crucial element in Pistoletto's art. They represent the physical and intellectual extension of the human mind, revealing that which is normally hidden from the human eye. Pistoletto himself argues that “the mirror expands the eye's characteristics and the mind's capabilities to the point where it offers a vision of totality." He also says that “this space for concentration is designed to be one of art's places of prophecy, a territory where art succeeds in expressing its religious value." The work of art becomes a secular place for meditation, where man with his capacity for imagination is the only true value.

Born in Biella in 1933, Pistoletto is one of Italy's most famous contemporary artists. He started to exhibit his works in 1955 and in 1960 he had his first solo show, at the Galleria Galatea in Turin. His early work experimented with the painting of self-portraits. In 1961-1962 he produced the Quadri specchianti (Reflecting Pictures) that include the presence of the spectator in the work itself, creating a new real-time dimension and challenging the idea of perspective. These works brought him international recognition and success, resulting in solo exhibitions in prestigious European and American galleries during the 1960s. The Quadri specchianti would become the basis for Pistoletto’s entire artistic production and theoretic reflection.

From 1965 to 1966 Pistoletto produced a series of works entitled Oggetti in meno (Fewer Objects) which played a key role in launching Arte Povera. He began to take his art outside traditional exhibition venues in March 1967, leading to the first of the so-called “creative collaborations”. Pistoletto was to develop this approach during the following decades, always cooperating with several artists coming from different disciplines and social fields. In the Seventies he revived the mirror theme, developing it in such works and actions as his Divisione-Moltiplicazione dello Specchio (Division-Multiplication of the Mirror) and L’Arte assume la Religione (Art Takes on Religion). In 1975 to 1976 he produced at the Galleria Stein, Turin, a work that stretched over time: Le Stanze (The Rooms) was an exhibition lasting a year, divided into twelve sections of a month each. It was the first of a series of complex works intended to be shown for a full year, such as Anno Bianco (White Year), 1986, or Tartaruga Felice (Happy Turtle), 1992. In 1978 he had an exhibition at the Galleria Persano in Turin, where he showed two of the most important new directions of his artistic research and production: Divisione e moltiplicazione dello specchio (Division and Multiplication of the Mirror) and L’arte assume la religione (Art Takes on Religion). At the beginning of the 1980s he created a series of sculptures in stiff polyurethane, which were translated into marble for the solo show at the Forte Belvedere, Florence, in 1984. From 1985 to 1989 he worked on his series of “dark” volumes, entitled Arte dello squallore (Art of Squalor). During the 1990s, through Progetto Arte (Art Project) and the creation of Cittadellarte-Fondazione Pistoletto, he created a straight and active link between different social fields aiming to achieve a responsible transformation of society.

In 2003 he was awarded the Leone d’Oro, or Golden Lion award, for his career at the Venice Biennale. In 2004 the University of Turin awarded him an honoris causa degree in political sciences. On this occasion he unveiled the most recent phase of his work, which he called Terzo Paradiso (Third Paradise). In 2007 he was awarded the Wolf Foundation Prize in Arts at Jerusalem, “for his constantly inventive career as an artist, educator and activist, whose restless intelligence has created a prescient form of art that contributes to a new understanding of the world”. In 2008 Pistoletto – Cittadellarte received the Sasso Marconi city Special Award for his new use of languages. In 2009 he has shown at Galleria Continua, San Gimignano / Beijing / Le Moulin two installations dedicated to spirituality: Metrocubo d'Infinito in un Cubo Specchiante and Il Tempo del Giudizio. He is currently preparing for the October 2010 retrospective at the Contemporary Art Museum, Philadelphia. He has been recently nominated Artistic Director for the Bordeaux Event in 2011. He has published the essay Il Terzo Paradiso (The Third Paradise), Edizioni Marsilio.

Michelangelo Pistoletto, Metrocubo d'Infinito in un Cubo Specchiante (Square Metre of Infinity in a Mirror Cube), Photo Oak Taylor-Smith, Courtesy Galleria Continua, San Gimignano / Beijing / Le Moulin.