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Michelangelo Pistoletto Biography

Michelangelo Pistoletto is one of Arte Povera’s most significant protagonists. Since the 1960's his work has followed two profoundly linked paths, a body of conceptual sculpture grounded in the tenents of Arte Povera and an ongoing iconic series of Mirror Paintings, comprising figurative, graphic or sculptural images applied to the surface of polished stainless steel. Representing his dual interest in conceptualism and figurative representation, together these bodies of work have earned Pistoletto enduring international recognition. Alongside this practice Pistoletto is the founder of the cittadellarte in Biella, northern Italy, a cross-disciplinary foundation for research and the development of ideas.

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‘Michelangelo Pistoletto has been making his Mirror Paintings for almost fifty years documenting the world that he sees and lives in. They are diaristic, time-based works incorporating not only the history of photography in the period he has been making them – he has proceeded from using glass negatives to Polaroid to digital photography, from the hand-painted to the screen printed, from black and white to colour, from static to motion – but also the history of clothing, artefacts, manners and mores. As time passes so the images he presents on the surface of the mirror become increasingly like relics reminding the viewer of his own mortality and of times past. But he also presents the viewer with a reaffirmation of his individuality, his distinctness from what he sees, for every time he looks in the mirror he evokes what Lacan called the mirror stage, the moment in a young child’s life when he recognises that the image he gazes at is his own reflection and he gradually forms an identity separate from his mother. Every time I look in the mirror I encounter myself as the other, and in receiving my gaze can explore both my separateness from and connectedness to the world. A Mirror Painting is a means to orientation in the world, of encouraging conscious experience of phenomena as experienced from the first person point of view, invoking perception, thought, memory, bodily awareness and social activity. It is a work of art in the world and the world in a work of art.’ (Jeremy Lewison, in Michelangelo Pistoletto. Mirror Paintings, Hatje Cantz, 2011).  

Michelangelo Pistoletto Featured Artworks

Testa con foulard by Michelangelo Pistoletto contemporary artwork
Michelangelo PistolettoTesta con foulard, 1982Screenprint on polished stainless steel
40 x 40 cm
Tornabuoni Art Enquire about this work
Scaffali - strumenti fotografici (Shelves – photographic instruments) by Michelangelo Pistoletto contemporary artwork
Michelangelo PistolettoScaffali - strumenti fotografici (Shelves – photographic instruments), 2015Silkscreen on super mirror polished stainless steel
250 x 125 cm
Simon Lee Gallery Enquire about this work
Senza titolo by Michelangelo Pistoletto contemporary artwork
Michelangelo PistolettoSenza titolo, 1986Screenprint on polished stainless steel
125 x 100 cm
Tornabuoni Art Enquire about this work
Tovaglia Azzurra by Michelangelo Pistoletto contemporary artwork
Michelangelo PistolettoTovaglia Azzurra, 1974Silkscreen on polished stainless steel
230 x 120 cm
Mazzoleni Enquire about this work
Workers' exit by Michelangelo Pistoletto contemporary artwork
Michelangelo PistolettoWorkers' exit, 2007Silkscreen on polished stainless steel
250 x 125 cm
Simon Lee Gallery Enquire about this work
Ritratto sigg. Lerre by Michelangelo Pistoletto contemporary artwork
Michelangelo PistolettoRitratto sigg. Lerre, 1987Silkscreen on polished stainless steel
125 x 230 cm
Simon Lee Gallery Enquire about this work
Partitura in nero - G by Michelangelo Pistoletto contemporary artwork
Michelangelo PistolettoPartitura in nero - G, 2010-2012Silkscreen on polished stainless steel
244 x 122 cm
Simon Lee Gallery Enquire about this work

Michelangelo Pistoletto Recent Exhibitions

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Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, Metal at Simon Lee Gallery, London
Closed
17 January–23 February 2019 Group Exhibition Metal Simon Lee Gallery, London
Contemporary art exhibition, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Origins and Consequences at Mazzoleni, London
Closed
27 September–21 December 2018 Michelangelo Pistoletto Origins and Consequences Mazzoleni, London
Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, Towards Infinity: 1965-1980 at Simon Lee Gallery, London
Closed
4 July–7 September 2018 Group Exhibition Towards Infinity: 1965-1980 Simon Lee Gallery, London

Michelangelo Pistoletto Represented By

Michelangelo Pistoletto In Related Press

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Always Two: An Interview with Michelangelo Pistoletto Related Press Always Two: An Interview with Michelangelo Pistoletto 13 November 2017, Frieze

Fifty years after its first outing, the artist reprises his legendary Walking Sculpture performance in the US. Perched on a quiet bend of the Hudson's east bank, Cold Spring, New York, is a far cry from Turin. On a recent Saturday afternoon, however, the town's Main Street hosted an event originating in the Piedmont capital 50 years ago, along...

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US artist Jenny Holzer chosen for Blenheim Palace installations Related Press US artist Jenny Holzer chosen for Blenheim Palace installations 8 March 2017, The Guardian

The American artist Jenny Holzer, known for challenging texts imposed on urban settings, has been chosen as the next contemporary artist to tackle one of the most privileged spaces in the UK, the baroque splendour of Blenheim Palace.

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Introspective Mirrors and Stacks of Rags Fill an English Palace Related Press Introspective Mirrors and Stacks of Rags Fill an English Palace 26 February 2017, Creators

The late-1900s movement, arte povera, drew upon the use of unconventional materials and methods. Its literal meaning translates to 'poor art' in Italian, and considers disposable and unextraordinary items to take on commercialization. In a visually stunning short documentary by Mike Nybroe, the work of one of one of the movement's leading artists...

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Michelangelo Pistoletto goes from rags to riches at Blenheim Palace Related Press Michelangelo Pistoletto goes from rags to riches at Blenheim Palace 21 December 2016, Apollo Magazine

Michelangelo Pistoletto, a luminary of Italian art since the inception of Arte Povera in the 1960s, stands unassuming in Blenheim Palace’s Long Library. Above him, historic portraits of British aristocracy – Spencers and Churchills – seem to peer down disapprovingly. If they suspect an intruder, they must look again; this is one of the artist’s...

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Michelangelo Pistoletto In Video & Audio

Michelangelo Pistoletto Related Video & Audio Michelangelo Pistoletto 1 March 2018, Simon Lee Gallery

Michelangelo Pistoletto (b. 1933, Biella, Italy) is widely recognised as one of the most influential contemporary artists of his generation and a leading proponent of the Arte Povera movement. Since the 1960s his work has followed two profoundly linked paths, a body of conceptual sculpture grounded in the tenets of Arte Povera and an ongoing...

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