9 dicembre 2022
by Guendalina Dainelli

Pistoletto at the Abu Dhabi Louvre


Hat (strictly Panama), thick white beard and neck scarf. The allure of a world-renowned artist invited to join the Louvre Abu Dhabi to celebrate its 5th anniversary. Michelangelo Pistoletto was welcomed with warmth and interest in the Emirati capital, where he brought a series of works created following a photographic project at the Louvre in Paris in 2013.  New ‘mirror paintings’ today on display at the Louvre in Abu Dhabi: a Middle Eastern temple of the arts created in 2017 thanks to the partnership between France and the United Arab Emirates. A unique venue.

Walking through the four wings of the Louvre Abu Dhabi, visitors are struck by the series of 11 mirrors distributed all the way through the permanent galleries, amidst works from all over the world and every historical period. Mirrors that depict life-size images of visitors and classical sculptures photographed previously and that now operate in admirable dialog with the visitors here today, in person, and with the works exhibited in Abu Dhabi. In a conversation between one Louvre and another. Between different societies, between people and artistic objects distant in time and space.

Pistoletto has been asked to join the Louvre Abu Dhabi in celebrating its 5th anniversary

Michelangelo Pistoletto is a much-loved artist at the Louvre. This museum is, in turn — with the nonchalance that can only belong to such a recognized artist — also interpreted in its social role, as a universal museum, the mirror of humanity, the cultural meeting place par excellence. In fact, most of the mirror paintings are constructed around a series of oppositions.

Between people of the past and those of the present day, between the nude body and the clothed body, and between a body of flesh and one of stone, enabling the superimposition of three moments: past (photograph), present (reflection in the mirror), future (the photograph becomes the memory of a moment that follows all subsequent moments).

One of the most significant Italian artists on the contemporary art scene, a Biella-born son of art, and one of the most famous exponents of arte povera, Pistoletto has also never ceased to amaze

This unusual feature of engaging the viewer is common to all of Pistoletto's work. A newly reiterated theme. You don't just look. You get involved. In a sort of trompe-l'oeil, the observer becomes the creator, an active part of the work of art, breaking the mold and the rigidity of traditional roles.

Among the most important Italian artists of the contemporary art scene, born in Biella to an artist father, one of the most famous exponents of arte povera (poor art), Pistoletto has never ceased to amaze. As with Venus of the Rags (1967), an irreverent work in which the immortal icon of classical art is placed in front of a pile of worn-out clothes. Or with the conception in 1998 of Biella ‘Cittadellarte’, a large creative laboratory that engages young artists in every area of creativity. As far as Terzo Paradiso (Third Paradise), staged in 2015 on SamSara Beach in Gallipoli. The mathematical symbol of infinity, revisited by the artist with the addition of a third circle, a metaphor for the encounter between human nature and technology, was composed on a summer afternoon by tourists gathered on the beach. A work of art pulsating with life that has took shape amidst the beachgoers. Perhaps one of the most daring challenges faced with a work of art.

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