Michelangelo Pistoletto has captured an intimate family moment, the viewer witnesses the making of a memory for these three people while also, through the medium of the super stainless steel mirror, being inserted into the image itself.
Michelangelo Pistoletto was born in Biella, Piedmont, Italy in 1933, he is an Italian painter, art theorist, action artist, installation artist and object artist and is considered prolific in the Arte Povera movement. From 1947 to 1958 he worked as a painting restorer alongside his father.
In the 1950s he worked primarily by painting self-portraits and figurative works. In 1959, he participated in the Biennale di San Marino. A year later, he had his first solo exhibition in Galleria Galatea in Turin.
The development for his what would become extremely famous mirror paintings started from his self-portraits of 1960-61. In these paintings, he covered his canvases with grounds of metallic paint. Later on, he would replace the canvas with polished steel. Michelangelo Pistoletto started photo silkscreening images onto these sheets of polished steel. The aim of these images of life-size people was to integrate the surroundings and the viewer into his work therefore examining reality and the representation of it. Mirrored surfaces were to become a recurring feature throughout Pistoletto’s career.
In the late 1960s, Pistoletto began to experiment with performance art. Having founded the Zoo group, Pistoletto presented “actions” from 1968 to 1970. The performances were intended to bring art to people’s everyday lives. They were performed in the artist’s studio, in schools, theatres and in the streets of Turin as well as other cities.
Michelangelo Pistoletto had retrospectives in some of the world’s most prestigious museums; Palazzo Grassi, Venice (1976), Palacio de Cristal, Madrid (1983), Forte di Belvedere, Florence (1984), Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna, Rome (1990), and Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (2000).
He has also participated in Documenta, 4, 7, 9 and 11 in Kassel as well as the Venice Biennale more than 8 times.
In 1994, Pistoletto founded Progetto Arte, a project that aims to bond the diversity to be found in society through art. In 1998, he established Cittadellarte, Fondazione Pistoletto which is a centre for the study and diffusion of cultural activity in Biella. Third Paradise, begun in 2004, was inspired by Pistoletto’s interests in symbology and engagement in social issues. The symbol of Third Paradise is the infinity symbol. The international project takes place in various manifestations all over the world in places like La Habana in Cuba and Naples, Rome, Biella in Italy just to name a few. The project’s aim is a social one, uniting people through art and creativity, to make society a better place.