Home Life Style The 90-year-old artist reflects on the multiculturalism of the United Arab Emirates, citing it as an exemplary instance of peaceful coexistence among diverse nationalities and religions.

The 90-year-old artist reflects on the multiculturalism of the United Arab Emirates, citing it as an exemplary instance of peaceful coexistence among diverse nationalities and religions.

Renowned Italian painter, action, and object artist, as well as art theorist, Michelangelo Pistoletto, discusses his utilization of reflection as a medium to craft art that embodies themes of infinity and humanity.

by Soofiya

At the age of 90, Michelangelo Pistoletto stands as one of Italy’s renowned contemporary living artists, excelling as a painter, sculptor, and art theorist. Initially gaining prominence in Pop Art, he later became a prominent figure in the Arte Povera conceptual art movement, challenging the prevailing culture of ‘mass consumption.’ Currently, his solo exhibition, ‘Judgement Time,’ organized by Galleria Continua, is being showcased at the Burj Al Arab, Jumeirah, Dubai.

Running until January 7, the exhibition marks the culmination of a project spanning major global capitals, commemorating Pistoletto’s extensive life and artistic journey. Notably, the exhibit features interactive mirror works, turning viewers into participants, offering a unique experience described by Pistoletto as a “continuous selfie” shared with others—a virtual delight for art enthusiasts witnessing reflective pieces that encapsulate both the finite and infinite aspects of the world.

Pistoletto’s artistic journey began at the age of 14, assisting his painter father. His exploration of advertising and modern art laid the foundation for his work, blending classical and modern influences. In 1958, his debut in a Turin show propelled him into Paris and New York exhibitions, earning him international recognition. His recent Abu Dhabi Louvre exhibition spanned over a year, celebrating the museum’s fifth anniversary.

In an interview, Pistoletto discussed his profound connection with the Louvre, emphasizing its role as a mirror reflecting humanity and serving as a multicultural meeting place. He elaborated on the symbolism in his mirror paintings and shared insights into his inspirations.

The title ‘Judgement Time’ refers to an installation featuring mirrors as a recurring motif, symbolically uniting the four major monotheistic religions—Islam, Christianity, Judaism, and Buddhism. Pistoletto chose to showcase this work in Dubai, citing the cultural significance of Abu Dhabi’s One World Religion Headquarters—a symbol of interfaith harmony with its inclusive representation of a church, mosque, and synagogue. The artist aims to encourage religions to introspect on tolerance and ecumenism, aligning with the UAE’s commitment to openness and coexistence.

Pistoletto’s affinity for self-portraiture, especially through mirror paintings since 1961, reflects his journey of self-discovery and understanding. The mirror, devoid of inherent imagery, becomes a tool for containing the entirety of reality, emphasizing the infinite nature of his mirror works.

Addressing the contemporary phenomenon of selfies and narcissism, Pistoletto acknowledges the human need for self-recognition but warns against excessive attachment to technology. Refusing an invitation to move to the United States in 1963, he explains his divergence from the American Pop Art concept of consumerism and his commitment to Arte Povera, a movement he fathered.

Pistoletto sees symbols as powerful tools with transformative capabilities, permeating his art and life. He embraces utopia as a necessary step in envisioning solutions and navigating societal challenges. Reflecting on the vandalism that targeted his work, the Venus of Rags, in Naples, he emphasizes the duality of beauty and degradation, illustrating how contrasting elements can converge to regenerate society.

As Pistoletto continues his artistic journey, a new Venus of Rags is in the works, set to be installed at the original site on January 22, 2024.

Related Articles

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More