Michelangelo Pistoletto Labirinto e Grande Pozzo 1969–2008
Corrugated cardboard, mirror
Dimensions variable
Courtesy of Galleria Continua, San Gimignano / Beijing / Le Moulin
Photograph: Bertrand Huet
© 2011 Michelangelo Pistoletto

An exciting new exhibition by leading Italian artist Michelangelo Pistoletto opens this summer at the Serpentine Gallery. Winner of the Golden Lion Award for Lifetime Achievement at the Venice Biennale in 2003, Pistoletto is acclaimed worldwide as a key figure in the development of conceptual art and as a founder of the influential Arte Povera movement.

For his exhibition at the Serpentine, titled The Mirror of Judgement, the artist has devised a labyrinth. This is a site-specific installation that returns to a form that Pistoletto often explores through his work, one which draws visitors through a maze of sculptures throughout the Serpentine Gallery. He describes the labyrinth as ‘a winding and unforeseeable road that leads us to the place of revelation, of knowledge.’

Pistoletto’s maze alters the viewers’ understanding of the architecture and makes each one a fundamental part of the work itself. Throughout his career, Pistoletto has worked as a theorist and activist using art to inspire and produce social change. In 2004 he announced the most recent phase of his work, the Third Paradise, an imagined new level of human civilization. The exhibition will include elements from the Third Paradise series and representations of four major religions; Christianity, Islam, Judaism and Buddhism.

Born in Biella, Italy, in 1933, Pistoletto began as a painter in the mid-1950’s and in the 1960’s received critical acclaim for his series of Mirror Paintings. These works broke down the traditional notions of figurative art by reflecting their surroundings and the viewer as a part of the image, linking art and life in an ever changing spectacle.

The exhibition at the Serpentine continues the artist’s exploration of participation. In the late 1960’s, Pistoletto established The Zoo, a workshop open to artists, filmmakers, intellectuals, poets and the public that focused on collaboration and performance. The projects he worked on with The Zoo were closely entwined with his individual studio practice, with both of these combining material form, pictorial space and theatrical gesture. This focus on participation developed in 1998 with the creation of Cittadellarte : Fondazione Pistoletto, a centre for the study and promotion of creativity of all kinds. This interdisciplinary approach is an intrinsic part of his goal to unite the diverse strands of human civilisation through art.

Also on view is the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2011, designed by Peter Zumthor, 1 July – 16 October.

Michelangelo Pistoletto
12 July 2011 – 17 September 2011

Serpentine Gallery
Kensington Gardens
London W2 3XA

Michelangelo Pistoletto Labirinto e Megafoni 1969
Installation view at Museum Boymans van Beuningen, Rotterdam
San Gimignano / Beijing / Le Moulin
© 2011 Michelangelo Pistoletto

Michelangelo Pistoletto Pozzo (Well) 1965
Cardboard, canvases and broken frames
100 x 140 cm
Fondazione Pistoletto, Biella
Photograph: P. Pellion
© 2011 Michelangelo Pistoletto

Michelangelo Pistoletto The Cubic Meter of Infinity in a Mirroring Cube 1966–2007
Mirror, neon lights, plaster
500 x 500 x 500 cm
Courtesy of Galleria Continua, San Gimignano / Beijing / Le Moulin
Oak Taylor-Smith
© 2011
Michelangelo Pistoletto


Arte Povera, Cittadellarte : Fondazione Pistoletto, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Serpentine Gallery, The Zoo,