Michelangelo Pistoletto

b. 1933

LAMA holds the world auction record for La Rosa by Michelangelo Pistoletto, which realized $53,125 (Lot 68) in the October 22, 2017 auction.

About The Artist

Italian artist Michelangelo Pistoletto (b. 1933) once stated, "the material for making art is not just canvas, wood or marble – but society itself." Pistoletto’s work takes civilization as its subject, holding an uneasy mirror up to human activity and its effects on the environment and humanity at large. "Everything in my work has come from the mirror," Pistoletto once said, "and the idea that it reflects society and reality." 

A chief figure in the Arte Povera movement and a key force in the fields of conceptual and performance art, Pistoletto was also an accomplished classical painter, though he is most widely associated with his work in other media. Since the term ‘Arte Povera’ was coined in 1967, Pistoletto’s work has been rarely left out of exhibitions and studies devoted to the movement. 

In the early 1960s Pistoletto began creating self-portraits on canvases using ground metallic paint. He subsequently began working on a series of life-size portraits of individuals by silk-screening images on reflective steel. In line with the tenets of Arte Povera, Pistoletto’s works often engage humble materials. During the late 1960s Pistoletto turned to sculpture, creating pieces in marble and polyurethane that referenced and engaged classical precedents. 

Pistoletto is widely known for his iconic “Mirror Paintings,” which he began in the 1960s and continued throughout his career. Pistoletto initially used grounds of metallic paint applied directly to canvases in the production of his reflective works, but later abandoned canvases in favor of polished steel, which was better suited for realizing the figurative and conceptual representation now associated with the works. As the name implies, Pistoletto’s “Mirror Paintings” are highly reflective works that integrate the viewer, as well as the surrounding environment, effectively blurring the line between reflection and self-reflection.

Pistoletto’s art has been the subject of several retrospectives, including at 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). Pistoletto’s work has been included in numerous important international exhibitions including Documenta 4, 7, 9, and 11 in Kassel (1968, 1982, 1992, and 1997) and the Venice Biennale (1966, 1976, 1978, 1984, 1986, 1993, 1995, 2003, and 2005). At the 2003 Venice Biennale, he was awarded the Leone d’Oro for lifetime achievement, and in 2007 he received the Wolf Foundation Prize in Jerusalem.

 

Pistoletto, Michelangelo. “Michelangelo Pistoletto: the artist with a smashing way to save the world,” The Guardian, https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2014/may/28/pistoletto-arte-povera-mirror-smasher-eco-houses-interview. Accessed 12 July 2017.

Pistoletto, Michelangelo. “Michelangelo Pistoletto: the artist with a smashing way to save the world,” The Guardian, https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2014/may/28/pistoletto-arte-povera-mirror-smasher-eco-houses-interview. Accessed 12 July 2017.

 

 

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