Michelangelo Pistoletto: Origins and Consequences
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Michelangelo Pistoletto: Origins and Consequences @ Mazzoleni, London

Thu 27 Sep 2018 to Fri 21 Dec 2018

Michelangelo Pistoletto: Origins and Consequences @ Mazzoleni

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Open: 10am-6pm Mon-Fri, 11am-5pm Sat

27 Albemarle Street, W1S 4HZ, London West End, UK
Open: 10am-6pm Mon-Fri, 11am-5pm Sat


Michelangelo Pistoletto: Origins and Consequences


Michelangelo Pistoletto: Origins and Consequences
to Fri 21 Dec 2018
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Mazzoleni presents the exhibition Michelangelo Pistoletto: Origins and Consequences, curated by Alberto Fiz.

Mazzoleni Michelangelo Pistoletto 7

Mazzoleni Michelangelo Pistoletto 1

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Collating artworks from various private collections, this exhibition focuses on a selection of works spanning from 1958 to 2012, and features early figurative paintings, drawings in charcoal on paper, sculptures in different materials, alongside silkscreens on stainless steel – the renowned mirror paintings that defines his oeuvre.

Pistoletto is one of the most distinguished figures within the Arte Povera movement. The exhibition examines Pistoletto’s early experimental period and elucidate the techniques that led to his mature work. It features three rare oil paintings on canvas depicting male portraits, including L’uomo nero, 1959. These seminal works should be viewed as the hereditary seat of Pistoletto’s visual language; an arresting exploration of portraiture as well as an important precursor to the artist’s series of self-portraits on a reflective black background – his first works to explore the reflective device.

Pistoletto presented his first solo show in 1960 at Galleria Galatea in Turin. That same year he made several life-sized self-portraits on gold, silver and copper monochrome backgrounds. In 1962, he initiated the use of reflective materials by applying painted and later photographic-silkscreened images to highly-polished stainless steel, the mirror paintings that have earned him an enduring international artistic reputation. What animates the mirror paintings is the duality of a fixed photo image placed on the surface of a reflective steel plate and the moving images produced by reflections of the viewer and their environment. The performative element of the works is completed by the observer who becomes the central protagonist.

Pistoletto comments of his work, ‘It suggested a double projection, into the wall and out into the space of the viewer. In a way it integrated painting and sculpture’. This is true of Dono di Mercurio allo Specchio (Mercury’s Gift to the Mirror), 1971, where a bronze statue of Hebe is strategically placed by a mirror. Pistoletto forces the viewer to stand alongside Hebe, deemed to be the goddess of youth in the classical world and enter into a visual dialogue. The poetry of the mundane is once more elevated, echoing Pistoletto’s renowned Art Povera work, Venus of Rags, 1967. However, in this case it is the viewer who is installed in its place. In Donna con lampada, 1974, a silkscreen of a photographic image on stainless steel, a technique perfected in 1971, the drama of the piece is heightened by an image of photographer’s assistant (his wife) holding a lamp. The work is from a series produced with photographer Paolo Mussat Sartor, Pistoletto’s long-term collaborator in Turin, where the photographer and his wife became Pistoletto’s subjects – a photography shoot within a photography shoot.

Further works from the 80s, 90s and from last two decades are also be presented, including ‘black’ works such as Specchio Nero, (Black Mirror), 1989, a wood and glass work, where the artist explores the ‘dark’ reflection and contrasts the light with the void.

The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue with an essay in English and Italian by Alberto Fiz.

Courtesy Mazzoleni

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