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MICHELANGELO PISTOLETTO PRESENTS "THE CUBIC METER OF INFINITY IN A MIRRORING CUBE" THROUGH THE HISTORY OF ART



Michelangelo Pistoletto was born in Biella in 1933. He began exhibiting in 1955.

Between 1965 and 1966 he produced a set of works entitled 'Oggetti in Meno’, considered fundamental for the genesis of Arte Povera, an artistic movement in which Pistoletto is the creator and protagonist.

In 2008, an important exhibition was inaugurated at Galleria Continua / Beijing, dedicated to the great artist from Biella, to show his art between past, present and future. 

The gallery spaces were dedicated to many of Pistoletto's most important artworks, and it tried to enhance the concept of evolution of style that has followed the artist from the early years of his career, starting from the early sixties.

The solo show, full of important new elements, offered a panoramic and retrospective look at Pistoletto's artistic journey while introducing the artist's aesthetic-conceptual universe.

To occupy the main exhibition space was a five-meter white cube centered in a room where, to reach it, a path was made through a maze of corrugated cardboard The Labyrinth (a poor material that recalls the art movement defined by Germano Celant in the 60s as Arte Povera, of which Pistoletto was one of the chief exponents). The only way of getting to the cube is by going through the maze, a structure from classical mythology that also features in Pistoletto’s Labyrinth, 1969–2001. 

The white cube is lined with mirrors inside. 2100 meters of cardboard were used to build the piece.

In the center of the room, inside the cube entirely covered with mirrors, there was the The Cubic Meter of Infinity, a work belonging to the series in Oggetti in Meno (1965-1966): a simple cube made up of 6 mirror slabs facing inwards towards each other.

The practicable mirroring space thus becomes the space of experience in which the spectator for the first time is invited to confront the sensation of being able to stay inside the cube which, until then, they had been excluded from: The Cubic Meter of Infinity, retains its status as a space of pure imagination.

This succession of works, that continuously recalls each to the other, places Michelangelo Pistoletto’s artistic research in a temporal dimension which includes the past, the present and the future.

In 'Omnitheism and Democracy' Michelangelo Pistoletto said: "The Cubic Meter of Infinity, was conceived by me in 1966. With this work, art becomes a catalyst of all the meanings related to cultures of the present, both religious and not.

The Cubic Meter of Infinity is a physical object that contains the verified phenomenon of the immeasurably infinite. A multiconfessional place exists in reality too and has been handed down to us by history. It is the city of Jerusalem, but it lacks a symbol proposed by art, like The Cubic Meter of Infinity, that might stimulate the attainment of a balance between its political and religious conflicts, which have ruinous consequences for the world as a whole."



Lorenzo Fiaschi, co-founder of Galleria Continua, talks about working with Michelangelo Pistoletto. 




The Cubic Meter of Infinity in a Mirroring Cube

1966-2007

mirror, neon lights, plaster

500 x 500 x 500 cm

196,85 x 196,85 inch

unique work


From the catalogue: "MICHELANGELO PISTOLETTO, BEFORE THE MIRROR"

Text by Carlo Falciani

Publisher: Gli Ori, 2015


[...] Michelangelo says that in the years of his youth “art had achieved complete autonomy from every event in the world”, that it could capture a place or depict a moment but that it could no longer relinquish that autonomy. The true path towards an Absolute that distinguishes the fleeting moment depicted from the idea external to that depiction contained in a single image had both begun and, at the same time, already been resolved in those early works. Thus the subjectivity of the narrative is captured in an objectivity which is real precisely because it is ideal, where the possibiity of depicting the social is merely a corollary. As has always been the case throughout the history of painting, the tangible idea, pure thought, that embraces everything is thus visible in its objective truth but perceptible only in its countless replicas. These thoughts, which are there in embryonic form in Michelangelo Pistoletto’s first self-portraits, were many years later to achieve icy,  moving depiction in the Cubic Metre of Infinity set inside a reflecting cube. Entering the cube, the visitor can only comprehend with his intellect the infinite reflection without any images in the mirrors that look solely at each other, while he can see with his eyes the reflection of his own self multiplied from one mirror to the other on the walls of the reflecting room.

Something similar happens in Dante’s Divine Comedy, where Beatrice describes three mirrors in which to observe the multiple reflection of light.


Thou shalt take three mirrors; two of them removed

at equal distance from thee, let the third,

placed ’tween them, more remotely meet thine eyes.


Then, turning toward them, let a lamp stand so

between them, as to shine upon all three,

and be reflected on thee from them all.


Though the most distant light will not extend

so much in quantity, thou shalt see thereby

how it must needs with equal brightness shine.

(Dante, Paradise, II, 91–105)


Nevertheless, on the path down which Michelangelo had set out, the reflection of the visible in a reflecting plate was to be the ultimate achievement, to reach which it was necessary to completely remove all of the narrative elements entrusted up until that moment to painting; but more than anything, it was necessary for him to turn his gaze no longer on the world but on the work, a rotation that was to occur in physical terms in a self-portrait dated 1961, just before his first mirrors. [...] 

Specchio diviso

1975

mirror and wood

2 elements 120 x 90 each | 47,24 x 35,43 inch each

Overall dimension 120 x 200 cm | 47,24 x 78,74 inch

unique work

Color and Light

2014

juta, mirror, gilded wood

180 x 120 cm

70,8 x 47,2 inch

unique work

Two Less One colored

2014

mirror, gilded wood

2 elements, 150 x 110 cm each | 59 x 43,3 inch

unique work

conTatto

Code: MIPI2007_28

conTatto

2017

silkscreen on polished stainless steel mirror, glass and marble

22 x 16 x 23 cm | 

with case 39,4 x 50 x 30 cm | 15,51 x 19,68 x 11,81 inch

Ed. 30