For nearly half a century, Michelangelo Pistoletto has merged art and its environment through performance, sculptural installation and most famously, his iconic stainless steel paintings. Commonly referred to as mirror paintings and comprised of photo-silkscreened images on steel, these signature works were developed in 1962 and represent the artist’s dual interest in conceptualism and figuration. By working with a reflective surface, the viewer becomes an integral part of the piece while the subject of the work is drawn into the activity of the gallery space, prompting one to contemplate questions of self, representation and reality.
One of his earliest and most important sculptural works, Oggetti in meno (Minus Objects), is considered fundamental to the birth of Arte Povera, an art movement theorized by Germano Celant in 1967. The term translates to poor art, but the movement as a whole encompassed far more than the use of humble materials. During the sixties and seventies, several young artists based in Italy strove to create work in a spirit of experimentation and openness, and Pistoletto is widely acknowledged as one of the leading proponents of the trend.
Michelangelo Pistoletto was born in Biella, Italy in 1933. Since the 1950s, he has exhibited extensively and his work is owned by numerous museums and institutions worldwide including the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington DC, the Tate Modern, London, and the Reina Sofia Museum, Madrid. Important exhibitions have been presented at the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Palazzo Grassi, Venice, Palacio de Cristal, Madrid, Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna, Rome, and Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona, and most recently at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, MAXXI, Rome, and the Serpentine Gallery, London. His work has been included in major international exhibitions including the Venice Biennale on eleven separate occasions, and four iterations of Documenta. Forthcoming projects are planned for the Neue Galerie, Graz in 2012 and the Louvre, Paris in 2013. The artist lives and works in Biella, where he founded the interdisciplinary laboratory Cittadellarte.