Barcelona hosts Michelangelo Pistoletto, the Arte Povera king reconverted

By Maria Bendito - Friday, February 26, 2016
Barcelona hosts Michelangelo Pistoletto, the Arte Povera king reconverted

Michelangelo Pistoletto is an exhibition that can be visited until the 27th of March at Blueproject Foundation in Barcelona. This is the case of a solo exhibition that shows eight works of the artist, covering the last forty years of his production. From some classic Arte Povera pieces like L’alto in basso, il basso in alto (1977), Senza titolo 92 (1976) and Specchio di taglio (1976), in which the artist reflects on fundamental problems like identity, to his last works.

Barcelona hosts Michelangelo Pistoletto, the Arte Povera king reconverted

Michelangelo Pistoletto is an exhibition that can be visited until the 27th of March at Blueproject Foundation in Barcelona. This is the case of a solo exhibition that shows eight works of the artist, covering the last forty years of his production. From some classic Arte Povera pieces like L’alto in basso, il basso in alto (1977), Senza titolo 92 (1976) and Specchio di taglio (1976), in which the artist reflects on fundamental problems like identity, to his last works. These are the ones concerned with the commitment to a sustainable social development, Color and light (2014) Vortice-dittico (2010-2013), Vortice-pentittico (2010-2013), Love difference (2002) and Love difference (2002) as well. This gesture presents an exhibition based on the idea of involving the observer in the genesis and development of the artist, thanks to a linear exposition of the works of art. 

 

 Il Salotto, Blueproject Foundation. Photo courtesy of Blueproject Foundation. 

All the pieces have been provided by Galleria Continua at San Gimignano (Italy), the regular headquarters of Pistoletto and with whom Blueproject Foundation had already worked to host the Japanese artist Ken Matsubara in February 2014. 

For what refers to the space, Blueproject Foundation is located at Borne quarter of Barcelona. On their principles, they argue to be a content-forming center that promotes responsible artistic creation in all the possible ways, since they are opened to host all kinds of artistic language: performance, dance, music, sculpture, paintings. This ethical commitment suits very well with the idea of being a young space, as it opened for the first time in September 2013. Blueproject Foundation is directed by Vanessa Salvi and her small team, who allocate all that happens in this self-financing institution. 

Amongst their three different spaces, they picked Il Salotto room for this solo exhibition, a rectangular space of two hundred square meters devoted exclusively to acclaimed artists. In this clear and open space, where only a few thin pillars set the rhythm, the Pistoletto works are arranged in a thematic sense: the three big povera pieces are settled in the middle of the room while the rest of them, almost all of them mirrors, dress up the walls. 

Il Salotto, Blueproject Foundation. Photo courtesy of Blueproject Foundation. 

Choosing Michelangelo Pistoletto shows that Blueproject Foundation is truly following its course of action, promoting contemporary and respectful art as the artist is lately concerned with social causes. Pistoletto, who was born in the city of Biella in 1933, felt the art calling very soon. His father was a painter and a restorer and included Michelangelo on his workshop at the age of fourteen. The first works of the artist, made on the fifties, were a series of self portraits that started developing one of the most important ideas for Michelangelo: individual identity. Sooner, he joined a new element to these works: mirrors, the basis for his later theoretical thought. The Mirror Paintings were born and Michelangelo Pistoletto was launched to worldwide fame. 

Included on conventional circuits, he couldn't but feel some kind of rejection of that superficial, highly speculative and unsustainable world and that feeling led him to develop a new formula to be born again as an artist. He launched the Minus Objects in 1965. This series meant a turning point on his career. From that moment on, he unveiled one of the most magnificent art movements of the XX Century, Arte Povera. Michelangelo exposed new paths for art, integrating long-term processes, which led him to begin participative and collaborative projects. Then, in 1994 he presented Project Art, a sum of different artistic forces that expected art to be the tool for social transformation that long ago used to be. Ten years later Terzo Paradiso was born, a huge project one step beyond and the new phase of the artist’s work. Terzo Paradiso (Third Paradise) is the mixture of the First Paradise (the real and natural one where humans and nature became one for the first time), and the Second Paradise (the place where human development has raised inconceivable artificial scopes). As the artist believes that we have to react to this separation he created the third one, the paradise where art is involved in developing a more responsible way of combining the natural and progress worlds. 

The artistic progress from the self to us makes sense when we perceive that, for Michelangelo, research and creation in art are both the tools that help him know his purpose in the world and in which ways can he contribute to leave something good for society behind. For the Pistoletto, artistic concept always implies a message of responsible social transformation. 

Poster of the performance. Photo courtesy of Blueproject Foundation. 

It is in this line of action in which the two parallel activities to the exhibition can be framed. Both where organized by Blueproject Foundation and the artist and happened the day of the opening, November 13th. The first activity was an open conference of Pistoletto at Escola Massana, Barcelona’s municipal Art and Design School and the second, was a performance related to Terzo Paradiso’s project that was played out at Parc de la Ciutadella. 

One of the most peculiar works of Michelangelo is L’alto in basso, il basso in alto. The splendid chair of Pistoletto combines the purity of eloquence of Arte Povera with his tireless work on the concepts of time, the mirror, the observer and opposite polarities. With this piece, Michelangelo responds his need to understand the universe. 

Michelangelo Pistoletto, L’alto in basso, il basso in alto, 1977. Chair, wood, mirror, iron wire, about 350 cm, unique work. Galleria Continua. Photo courtesy of Blueproject Foundation. 

Michelangelo Pistoletto, L’alto in basso, il basso in alto, 1977. Chair, wood, mirror, iron wire, about 350 cm, unique work. Galleria Continua. Photo courtesy of Blueproject Foundation. 

A universe that, according to him, is always perceived depending on our point of view and perspective. In adopting one point of view we create our opposite: the high and the short, the close and the distant, the past and the future, the static and the dynamic. A world formed by opposites is born and that is one of the most powerful ideas that Pistoletto is trying to communicate in his work. 

Art as a tool cannot only be used as a way of transforming social conscience, as he did the November 13th, but also as a chance to express the ontology and the duality of the world by means of contrasting the abstract presence (the concepts behind the works and the intellectual presence of the artist) and the physical presence (the material appearance and the reflection through the mirror). In this piece, both worlds are clearly shown. 

On March 4th the catalogue of the exhibition will be launched. It is an intention to close the vast program that Blueproject Foundation planned with the artist and it will include new content like the conference at Escola Massana and an interview with the artist.

Image above: Il Salotto, Blueproject Foundation. Photo courtesy of Blueproject Foundation. 

Maria Bendito is an art historian based in Barcelona. She graduated from the University of Barcelona and now she is completing an MA in Advanced Studies, which allows her focus on her fields of interest: art and architectural theory as well as contemporary thought. She has experience as a teaching assistant at the University of Barcelona and as a documentation assistant at Arts Santa Mònica. Maria currently combines art history with guided tours in the city.

Subscribe to the Newsletter

Image of the Day

Museo Jumex (a private art collection based in Mexico City, Mexico) / David Chipperfield. Image © Simon Menges

Museo Jumex (a private art collection based in Mexico City, Mexico) / David Chipperfield. Image © Simon Menges

Search

About ArtDependence

ArtDependence Magazine is an international magazine covering all spheres of contemporary art, as well as modern and classical art.

ArtDependence features the latest art news, highlighting interviews with today’s most influential artists, galleries, curators, collectors, fair directors and individuals at the axis of the arts.

The magazine also covers series of articles and reviews on critical art events, new publications and other foremost happenings in the art world.

If you would like to submit events or editorial content to ArtDependence Magazine, please feel free to reach the magazine via the contact page.