Michelangelo Pistoletto

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Michelangelo Pistoletto
Michelangelo Pistoletto

I don't know if you'd agree, but I'm a bit tired of Anglo conceptual practices, so intellectual and so lacking in sensuality, that attack the status quo with dancing figures, shocking images and guerrilla texts... What a difference from Mediterranean artists: Passolini, Bruno Munari, Piero Manzoni and Michelangelo Pistoletto.

Pistoletto (Biella, 1933) could talk about art with my mother, for instance, and she, whether she agreed or not, would understand him. You could look at Wikipedia to discover that he's played an important role in the Arte Povera (literally 'Poor Art') movement, work with mirrors, his implciation in social works... But his work is basically existential.

Who doesn't like looking at themselves in the mirror? Or who can't avoid it? For Pistoletto, a mirror is a human construction that always tells us the truth. An animal doesn't recognise itself, but a person does. And we have mirror neurons that give us empathy. In the choice of works on show at the Blueproject Foundation, from the 1970s and 2000s, there's always a mirror. There, before us, we discover the other, and in the other, ourselves.

A very high chair, higher than a person is tall, has a mirror where you can see yourself when you pass under it. Earlex paint covers a mirror, and when you look closer you notice that the part where you see your reflection occupies the space of the Mediterranean... a sea that touches three continents: Asia, Africa and Europe. A sharing space.

Perhaps the piece that calls the most attention to itself is 'Senza título 92' (1976), a large two-sided mirror, with a big pile of clothing on either side. On one side the clothes are all white, and on the other they're all different colours. Quite the metaphor for the definition of a society.


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