December 16, 2010

Michelangello Pistoletto Installation Exhibition at CCCS, Palazzo Strozzi in Florence, Italy

Michelangelo Pistoletto
Metrocubo d'Infinito in un Cubo Specchiante 
Square Metre of Infinity in a Mirror Cube 
CCCS, Palazzo Strozzi, Florence, Italy
Through January 23, 2011

Michelangelo Pistoletto
MICHELANGELO PISTOLETTO, Grande cubo specchiante - Luogo di riflessione e meditazione, 2007. Photo: Enrico Amici. Courtesy Galleria Continua, San Gimignano / Beijing / Le Moulin.

The CCCSCentro di Cultura Contemporanea STROZZINA, Palazzo Strozzi, Florence – has invited one of the most celebrated contemporary artists in Italy to present an installation which is on view in the courtyard of Palazzo Strozzi, a spectacular example of Renaissance architecture in Florence. Through 23 January 2011, visitors to Palazzo Strozzi encounters Metrocubo d'Infinito in un Cubo Specchiante – Square Metre of Infinity in a Mirror Cube, by MICHELANGELO PISTOLETTO

This installation is on view concurrently with the exhibition Portraits and Power: People, Politics and Structures in the CCCS and Bronzino, Artist and Poet at the Court of the Medici on Palazzo Strozzi’s piano nobile .

Metrocubo d'Infinito in un Cubo Specchiante (Square Metre of Infinity in a Mirror Cube), an installation covered externally with opaque steel plates and internally clad with mirrors, is intended to offer the public an opportunity to experience boundless space. Its centre is occupied by one of this Piedmontese artist's historic works, the Metrocubo di Infinito (Square Metre of Infinity), 1966, which consists of exceptionally opaque surfaces on the outside and reflecting surfaces on the inside, thus taking the potential of refraction to its extreme limit.

Mirrors are a crucial element in Pistoletto's art. They represent the physical and intellectual extension of the human mind, revealing that which is normally hidden from the human eye. Pistoletto himself argues that “the mirror expands the eye's characteristics and the mind's capabilities to the point where it offers a vision of totality”. He also says that “this space for concentration is designed to be one of art's places of prophecy, a territory where art succeeds in expressing its religious value”. The work of art becomes a secular place for meditation, where man with his capacity for imagination is the only true value.

Michelangelo Pistoletto

MICHELANGELO PISTOLETTOGrande cubo specchiante - Luogo di riflessione e meditazione, 2007. Photo: Enrico Amici. Courtesy Galleria Continua, San Gimignano / Beijing / Le Moulin. 


Born in Biella in 1933, Pistoletto is one of Italy's most famous contemporary artists. He started to exhibit his works in 1955 and in 1960 he had his first solo show, at the Galleria Galatea in Turin. His early work experimented with the painting of self-portraits. In 1961-1962 he produced the Quadri specchianti (Reflecting Pictures) that include the presence of the spectator in the work itself, creating a new real-time dimension and challenging the idea of perspective. These works brought him international recognition and success, resulting in solo exhibitions in prestigious European and American galleries during the Sixties. The Quadri specchianti would become the basis for Pistoletto’s entire artistic production and theoretic reflection. 

From 1965 to 1966 Pistoletto produced a series of works entitled Oggetti in meno – Fewer Objects– which played a key role in launching Arte Povera. He began to take his art outside traditional exhibition venues in March 1967, leading to the first of the so-called “creative collaborations”. Pistoletto was to develop this approach during the following decades, always cooperating with several artists coming from different disciplines and social fields. In the Seventies he revived the mirror theme, developing it in such works and actions as his Divisione-Moltiplicazione dello Specchio – Division-Multiplication of the Mirror and L’Arte assume la Religione – Art Takes on Religion. In 1975 to 1976 he produced at the Galleria Stein, Turin, a work that stretched over time: Le Stanze – The Rooms –  was an exhibition lasting a year, divided into twelve sections of a month each. It was the first of a series of complex works intended to be shown for a full year, such as Anno Bianco – White Year, 1986, or Tartaruga Felice – Happy Turtle, 1992. In 1978 he had an exhibition at the Galleria Persano in Turin, where he showed two of the most important new directions of his artistic research and production: Divisione e moltiplicazione dello specchio – Division and Multiplication of the Mirror –  and L’arte assume la religione (Art Takes on Religion). At the beginning of the Eighties he created a series of sculptures in stiff polyurethane, which were translated into marble for the solo show at the Forte Belvedere, Florence, in 1984. From 1985 to 1989 he worked on his series of “dark” volumes, entitled Arte dello squallore – Art of Squalor. During the Nineties, through Progetto Arte (Art Project) and the creation of Cittadellarte-Fondazione Pistoletto, he created a straight and active link between different social fields aiming to achieve a responsible transformation of society. 

In 2003 he was awarded the Leone d’Oro, or Golden Lion award, for his career at the Venice Biennale. In 2004 the University of Turin awarded him an honoris causa degree in political sciences. On this occasion he unveiled the most recent phase of his work, which he called Terzo Paradiso – Third Paradise. In 2007 he was awarded the Wolf Foundation Prize in Arts at Jerusalem, “for his constantly inventive career as an artist, educator and activist, whose restless intelligence has created a prescient form of art that contributes to a new understanding of the world”. In 2008 Pistoletto – Cittadellarte received the Sasso Marconi city Special Award for his new use of languages. In 2009 he has shown at Galleria Continua, San Gimignano / Beijing / Le Moulin two installations dedicated to spirituality: Metrocubo d'Infinito in un Cubo Specchiante and Il Tempo del Giudizio. A retrospective of Michelangelo Pistoletto is on view at the Contemporary Art Museum, Philadelphia, since November 2010 through January 2011. He has been recently nominated Artistic Director for the Bordeaux Event in 2011. He has published the essay Il Terzo Paradiso (The Third Paradise), Edizioni Marsilio.

Michelangello Pistoletto
MICHELANGELO PISTOLETTO, Grande cubo specchiante - Luogo di riflessione e meditazione, 2007. Photo: Enrico Amici. Courtesy Galleria Continua, San Gimignano / Beijing / Le Moulin.

The event follows similar initiatives in 2008 and 2009, when Wang Yu Yang (Harbin, China, 1979) and Yves Netzhammer (Schaffhausen, Switzerland, 1970) produced site-specific installations for the courtyard of Palazzo Strozzi. The project, devised and produced by Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi – in cooperation with Cittadellarte-Fondazione Pistoletto and Galleria Continua, San Gimignano / Beijing / Le Moulin – marks the start of a new partnership with Castello di Ama per l’Arte Contemporanea in Gaiole in Chianti (Siena).

Lorenza Sebasti and Marco Pallanti, proprietors of the Castello di Ama wine company, decided to launch a project known as “Castello di Ama for Contemporary Art” in 2000. For this project, realized with the support of Galleria Continua, some of the leading artists on the international contemporary art scene have been invited to produce works of art designed to interact with the unique spirit of the small medieval village of Ama, nestling in the Siena hills. Over the years the Castello di Ama has hosted work by Michelangelo Pistoletto, Daniel Buren, Giulio Paolini, Kendell Geers, Anish Kapoor, Chen Zhen, Carlos Garaicoa, Nedko Solakov, Cristina Iglesias and Louise Bourgeois, offering personal reflections on this unique environment and producing permanent site-specific works now on display in the cellars and grounds of the company's two villas. (The works of art may be viewed by appointment only). 


10-01-2010 / 01-23-2011

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