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Artists Michelangelo Pistoletto
Michelangelo Pistoletto Photo

Michelangelo Pistoletto

Italian Sculptor, Painter, Conceptual, and Performance Artist

Movement: Arte Povera

Born: June 25, 1933 - Biella, Italy

Michelangelo Pistoletto Timeline

Quotes

"Above all, artists must not be only in art galleries or museums - they must be present in all possible activities. The artist must be the sponsor of thought in whatever endeavor people take on, at every level, from that of the 'masses' to that of 'command.'"
Michelangelo Pistoletto
"Art is the primary expression of human creativity, thus the constant reference for every structural, technical, economic, and behavioral activity of society."
Michelangelo Pistoletto
"Art must go beyond the limitation of the object, of the so-called artistic product (while considering it to be of fundamental importance), in order to be active in every situation and place of planetary life."
Michelangelo Pistoletto
"Povera does not mean without money in your pocket. It means the essential energy of art."
Michelangelo Pistoletto

"At the crossroads between abstraction and representation, where I think every young painter today has passed or remained, I chose the representation of humans, because I feel it best suited to realizing my need to express particular feelings and situations of the human condition, what for me is the most vital and burning issue of all time."

Michelangelo Pistoletto Signature

Synopsis

Though well-trained and with a facility for classical painting techniques, early in his career Pistoletto developed a stronger interest in the conceptual aspects of art objects. This included his use of humble materials such as tissue paper and mirrors, which helped lay foundations for the Arte Povera movement. Influenced by the social implications of more experimental tendencies in theatrical performance of his time, Pistoletto promoted a greater role for art in society and politics through his later projects that attempted to re-fashion the human world while involving many creative collaborators and crossing disciplinary lines, including mixing elements of music, theater, and installation, along with other visual art elements. He also designed works so that each would appear to be created by a different artist, defying notions of "branding" a signature style. Both playful (in his unconventional means) and serious (in his high-minded goals of changing the status quo), Pistoletto is a rare figure in arts practice for his commitment to do things differently, both in the art world and the world at large.

Key Ideas

Helping both set the goals and provide some idiosyncratic means for the Arte Povera movement's attempt to dissolve the borders between art and life, Pistoletto rejected conventional art world practices with his constant shifting of the type of work he created, and by his insistence on avoiding the creation of objects only for visual admiration.
Pistoletto's introduction of unusual materials as components in his sculptures, installations and paintings is meant to excite active participation by viewers not only with art but with one another and the world around them by bringing art into life, and life into art. He accomplished this whether through incorporating a viewer's own shifting image into a painting, or by engaging their own ideas, or physical or social interactions to become part of the works of art. He didn't simply create such works to be "finished" once and for all, but rather launched them into the world to live their own complex, unfolding lives with the help of their audiences and viewers.
Both the content of the art experiences he produced as well as the locations he produced them in - insisting on occurring outside traditional gallery and theater spaces, and with the engagement of non-artists from all walks of life - have sought a more significant role for art in the real world through projects that have attempted to transform economics and politics as well as the environment.

Biography

Michelangelo Pistoletto Photo

Childhood

Michelangelo Pistoletto was born into an artistic family. Before his parents' marriage, his mother Livia Fila, was a pupil of his father, artist Ettore Olivero Pistoletto. A year after Pistoletto was born his father moved the family to Turin and opened an art restoration workshop. As a child, Pistoletto's father taught him how to draw, and at age fourteen he began working in his father's workshop. Pistoletto learned about art history through studying the important old master paintings that his father helped to restore. Pistoletto described how, despite his father's wishes that he too become a painter, from a young age he had no interest in painting only the landscapes and still-lifes he might see, but looked to question the nature of both reality and representation. He did this while re-activating viewers experiences with art objects in order, as he later stated about his work, "to give a part of myself to those who wish to give a part of themselves." That is, he sought to make a more dynamic, shared exchange between artists and audience.

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Michelangelo Pistoletto Biography Continues

Influences and Connections

Influences on Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Influenced by Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Michelangelo Pistoletto
Interactive chart with Michelangelo Pistoletto's main influences, and the people and ideas that the artist influenced in turn.
View Influences Chart

Artists

Francis BaconFrancis Bacon
Joseph BeuysJoseph Beuys
Marcel DuchampMarcel Duchamp
Jean FautrierJean Fautrier
Allan KaprowAllan Kaprow

Personal Contacts

Movements

Conceptual ArtConceptual Art
DadaDada
HappeningsHappenings
SurrealismSurrealism
Performance ArtPerformance Art

Influences on Artist
Michelangelo Pistoletto
Michelangelo Pistoletto
Years Worked: 1962 - present
Influenced by Artist

Artists

Martin KippenbergerMartin Kippenberger
Tino SehgalTino Sehgal

Personal Contacts

Morton FeldmanMorton Feldman
Franz WestFranz West

Movements

Arte PoveraArte Povera
Conceptual ArtConceptual Art
Performance ArtPerformance Art
Relational AestheticsRelational Aesthetics

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Edited and published by The Art Story Contributors

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