Michelangelo Pistoletto: Immagini in più, Oggetti in meno, un paradiso ancora is the exhibitionthat GAMeC in Bergamo has devoted to Michelangelo Pistoletto (b. Biella, 1933), one of Italy’s most representative artists on an international level.
The exhibition path covers five rooms and is composed of aboutfifty of his most important works, which include – as the title suggests – the famous Quadri specchianti and the group of works entitled Oggetti in meno, placed in constant dialogue with each other, and a special project devoted to Terzo Paradiso, the work the artist conceived and developed over the past few years.
The Quadri specchianti constitute the foundation of Pistoletto’s oeuvre, which he began to execute in 1962, helping change the perception of painting, seen until then as a painting to observe and contemplate. The immense steel plates, polished to a mirror-like sheen, with serigraphs of people, animals and everyday objects applied to them, are “activated” thanks to the observer: entering into their field of reflection, the spectator’s presence adds new images to the artist’s work, turning it into a “participated” work that acquires meaning through interaction. Furthermore, placement of the works directly on the floor means that they create an opening through which the environment where they are displayed extends into the virtual space of the work, forging a relationship between art and life.
The exhibition features some of Pistoletto’s historic pieces, including Figura umana (1962), Cappio (1973) and Tigre (in gabbia) (1974), but also more recent works, like Solidarity (2007), Lavori in corso (2008) and Persone in coda (2015). They are works that anticipated the fragmentation and fluidity of contemporary society, in which our identity is constantly being redefined.
The Quadri specchianti are juxtaposed along the exhibition route with the Oggetti in meno series, considered one of the most important and decisive for contemporary visual culture: sculptural objects created in the mid-Sixties that are inspired by different fields such as craftsmanship, architecture, design and popular culture. They are reinterpretations of everyday objects, “still lifes” on an environmental scale, which represent a critical discursive action responding to the society of consumption and, above all, Pop Art.
These include Quadro da pranzo and Lampada a mercurio (1965), Semisfere decorative (1965–66), Mappamondo (1966–68), in which we find – as is the case with all of Pistoletto’s art – improvisation and an ongoing interest in the differences and unique aspects of each object.
The works are created through a process tied to spontaneity and contingency, which go against the dogma whereby each work by an artist must be stylistically recognizable, like a standardized commercial brand. In Oggetti in meno, repetition and uniformity are intentionally contested, thereby highlighting the contrasts between the individual works.
As the artist himself observes, “My works are not intended as constructions or fabrications of new ideas, just as they are not objects that represent me, for me to impose or to impose myself on others. They are objects through which I liberate myself of something – they are not constructions but liberations – so I do not consider them extra objects but objects that are subtracted, in the sense that they bring with them a perceptive experience that is definitively externalized.”
The exhibition itinerary is completed by a project devoted to Terzo Paradiso – the work Pistoletto conceived in 2003 and developed in recent years – and its symbol is a reconfiguration of the mathematical sign of infinity, formed by a line that, intersecting twice, designs three aligned circles. The two opposite circles represent nature and artifice, while the middle one is the conjunction of the two and represents the generative womb of a new humanity.
Over the years, the project tied to this work led to the interweaving of a dense network of relationships and collaborations with individuals, associations, organizations and institutions, active not only in the artistic field, but also in various areas of society.
GAMeC’s participation in the project will be interpreted in two ways: with a site-specific installation in the exhibition space and with #UnParadisoAncora, a true “call to the arts” open to all (groups, associations, students from every schooling level), promoted by the museum’s Educational Services.
Participation will take place through personal or collective initiatives entailing proposals, actions and activities in keeping with the responsible transformation process of society set out in Terzo Paradiso. This will be documented and circulated through GAMeC’s social channels and the museum has set up a special section on its website.
On 21 December the museum will be the exceptional setting for a performance tied to Terzo Paradiso for “Rebirth Day”, the universal commemoration inspired by one of the artist’s ideas, and this year it will be devoted to the theme of Respect.
Opening: Thursday, 6 october 2016, 7 p.m.
Curated by Giacinto Di Pietrantonio