Born in Biella in 1933 Michelangelo Pistoletto began to exhibit his work in 1955. However, it was in the early 1960s that he gained international attention with the first of his Mirror Paintings, which changed the traditional style of artistic perspective by reflecting the viewer and real time as part of the image. Just a few years later, Michelangelo Pistoletto created a series of sculptural works titled Minus Objects (1965–1966).Made from inexpensive materials, these works were a rebellious expression against the commodification of art. They explore the reciprocal relationship between objects and art, and contributed significantly to the emergence of the Arte Povera movement.
A year later Michelangelo Pistoletto began to work outside of traditional exhibition spaces, instituting The Zoo, a period of creative collaboration between the artist, artists from other disciplines and people from other sections of society.During the late 1970s and early 1980s, the artist promoted a greater role for art in society and politics, attempting to re-fashion the human world by involving many creative collaborators and crossing disciplinary lines, including mixing elements of music, theatre, and installation, along with other visual art elements.
In 1994 he began Project Art, a manifesto, public meetings, displays and exhibitions that involved artists of different disciplines and representatives of broad sectors of society—which seeks to place art at the centre of socially responsible change. In 1998 he founded Cittadellarte: Fondazione Pistoletto, where the goals of Project Art are still being developed and enacted.
In 2004 the artist announced the beginning of the most recent phase of his work, The Third Paradise, and in 2010 he wrote his essay of the same name. In 2012 he began promoting the Rebirth-day, celebrated every year on 21 December with initiatives taking place all around the world.
His works feature in the collections of more than 50 leading museums of modern and contemporary art.
Awards and Honours
2003 Venice Biennale’s Golden Lion for Lifelong Achievement
2004 Awarded a laurea honoris causa in Political Science, University of Turin.
2007 Awarded the Wolf Foundation Prize in the Arts
2011 Artistic Director of Evento 2011 – L’art pour une ré-évolution urbaine in Bordeaux.
2013 Awarded the Praemium Imperiale for painting, in Tokyo.
2014 the symbol of the Third Paradise was installed in the hall of the headquarters of the Council of the European Union
in Bruxelles for the period of the Italian Presidency of the European Council.
2015 awarded a degree honoris causa from the Universidad de las Artes of Havana in Cuba.