The renowned Italian artist Michelangelo Pistoletto, one of the leading figures of Arte Povera (impoverished art), gave a free conference within the framework of BIENALSUR, in which he underscored the relevance of art “for a responsible social transformation and as a binding, communication and activation element of society”.
At the UNTREF rectorate, in a dialogue with Diana Wechsler - Artistic Director of the biennial - and Brazilian curator Marcello Dantas, the Italian artist pointed out that such concepts are upheld at Cittadellarte, the foundation he established in Biella, his birthplace, in 1998, from where he seeks to bring about responsible change in society.
“Cittadellarte is based on the ideals of Arte Povera, a movement created in the 1960s by a group of artists that detached themselves from the idea of consumerist art, from an art made to praise the system, from the consumerist glamour, as was the case of pop art”, said Pistoletto.
“For Arte Povera the word ‘poor’ does not mean penniless, but ‘essential’, in a direct relation with the Earth, with the phenomenology of existence”, explained Pistoletto, who will participate in the next edition of BIENALSUR in 2019.
Before full a house, Pistoletto also mentioned his use of mirrors, which have been a fundamental element in his works: “Artists can reproduce everything they see in the world but cannot make a self-portrait without a mirror. I began to make self-portraits as the need to recognize myself through my image. It has been a way to discover my identity, to find out who I am through my image, what I do in this world, why I am here and why I am an artist”.
“Mirror paintings - he added – work directly with time. They reflect an image that lasts an instant, the present, which keeps changing. That is why I included photography, which freezes that instant, the past, and in doing so, it becomes a memory as time goes by. And memory is the future.”
“And each person that is reflected on the work at that moment becomes a protagonist. Then it is no longer the self-portrait of a single person. My identity is the self-portrait of the world, where we all are”, he concluded.