"A 'thing' is not art, but the idea expressed by that same 'thing' may be". These are the words of Michelangelo Pistoletto.
Born in Biella in 1933, Pistoletto is an exceptional Italian artist whose exhibition 'Anne 1. Le Paradis Sur Terre' (Year One: Paradise on Earth) starts the ball rolling at the Louvre on April 25th as part of The Louvre's new wave of welcoming contemporary artists.
Taking as its title “Year One, Paradise on Earth,” the installation is a vision of the future. The exhibition marks the transition to a new era, one of human, social, cultural change in relation with December 21st 2012 as noted via various installations and performances at a number of high-profile art galleries.
Comprising of 20 works, Pistoletto's 'Paradise on Earth' is the first of this new series of art exhibited at the Louvre and made possible by Illy Arte, Artists Association and Cittadellarte: Fondazione Pistoletto.
One of the iconic masterpiece on display is Venus of the Rags. A hit from the 'Arte Povera' movement. An over-life sized classical statue of the Roman goddess of love, beauty and fertility, with a large pile of brightly coloured, discarded clothes that are heaped on the floor in front of her.
Pistoletto was a prevalent artist in the 1950s and 60s and has always been known as one of the movers and shakers of the Italian 'Arte Povera' movement (poor or impoverished art). A movement focused on the everyday, the mundane. A shift back to classic art materials such as wood and marble.
Pistoletto's art has a political message and his signature style is the way in which he integrates the viewer into his works.Via this exhibition in question, he achieves exactly that. One segment of this grand exhibition is called 'Les Portes de Cittadellarte ', meaning The Doors to the City of Art.
The doors of 'Les Portes de Cittadellarte' represent departments and threads of the world dedicated to politics, education, ecology, economics, architecture, and fashion, among other disciplines.
Cittadellarte - which translates as 'City of Art' is a place in Italy where Pistoletto resides on his art haven base and dreams up artistic messages like this exhibition. He believes that art has an important social responsibility. The usage of his art to engage his viewers gives him the medium to thus deliver his messages of micro and macro social and political weight.
Cittadellarte is the result of Pistoletto's artistic investigations of the 1960's and the mission is to activate the 'Paradise on Earth' project in each of these diverse social outlets.
One of the other fabulous items on offer at Pistoletto's Louvre showpiece includes Love Difference. A work comprised of multi coloured neon tubes and writings adorning the Louvre's medieval walls, phrases adressing artists. The merging of words and the architectural environment awakens the viewer to take note of his political message.
The Love Difference manifesto is an Artistic Movement for an InterMediterranean Politic was established in Biella in the Politics Office of the Cittadellarte. The aim is to bring together, around the regions facing onto the Mediterranean Sea, people and institutions interested in creating new prospects that reach beyond the tragic conflict between different cultures.
Pistoletto's artistic presence at the Louvre was celebrated with 'Paradise on Earth' symbol, displayed on the facade of the pyramid, a work created by the artist especially for this exhibition.
Michelangelo Pistoletto is a true ambassador of Italian art all around the world. He has exhibited in London's Serpentine Gallery and Rome's Maxxi Museum. Catch him at The Louvre whilst you can.
'Paradise on Earth'
25th April - 2nd September 2013
Musee du Louvre,Paris