Michelangelo Pistoletto is one of Italy's most famous contemporary artists. He started making his "mirror paintings" in the early 1960s, designed to include not just the artist but also the viewer. He has been exploring variations on the mirror theme ever since, even though he's of course done other things. At the Biennale di Venezia in 2009 he took a slegehammer to large mirrors hung on the gallery walls, which might have been a breaking moment (pun intented) in his art. But if we, and he, might think of mirrors differently after that performance, two exhibits by Pistoletto now in Tuscany still use the mirror as primary medium.
The mirror only exists if it reflects, otherwise it is nothing, it loses its function. Identifying myself in the mirror I wondered: If I am mirror how can I recognize myself… without a mirror? I had to give it a double so it could reflect and be/call itself mirror. Absurd, isn’t it? Then, cutting the mirror I saw a third mirror, its firstborn, also reflecting. And one could carry on to infinity. (…) The process of acting and breaking a mirror is a way of rendering physical the action of dividing-to-multiply.Below are the three locations in Tuscany to see Michelangelo Pistoletto.
Palazzo StrozziFrom 1 October 2010 to 23 January 2011, visitors to Palazzo Strozzi in Florence will be surprised by a contemporary addition to the Renaissance Palazzo's central courtyard. Metrocubo d'Infinito in un Cubo Specchiante (Square Metre of Infinity in a Mirror Cube) is an installation by Michelangelo Pistoletto. While the exterior of the cube looks like a gigantic rusty rubix-cube, inside is really a kind of infinity of self-reflection, covered entirely, floor to ceiling, in mirrors. And in the center of the cube is another smaller cube made of grey stone. This is one of the artist's historic works, the Metrocubo di Infinito (Square Metre of Infinity) of 1966, which consists of exceptionally opaque surfaces on the outside and reflecting surfaces on the inside (which we cannot see).
Galleria Continua San GimignanoThe artist is presenting a series of previously unshown works constituting a new project entitled Buco nero (Black Hole). The works conceived for this solo exhibition represent an effective evolution of some of the key concepts on which Pistoletto’s practice has been based since the start of his career in the early 1970s. The mirror is employed in two new wall installations; silver and black mirrors in succession, circular and elliptical forms evoking the sign of infinity and the cyclical nature of time.
Until 29 January 2011. Via Arco dei Becci 1, Tuesday-Saturday, 2-7pm
Castello di Ama (Chianti)Castello di Ama is a producer of Chianti Classico wine whose grounds also house works by important artists like Pistoletto, Daniel Buren and Anish Kapoor. In 2000 they approached Pistoletto to create a work that expressed the "locus geni" of this place.
From the main entrance of the old cellars of the Castle of Ama, we can see a great trunk standing at the end of the staircase. Inside a fissure along the diameter of its trunk has been inserted a mirror (as a sort of lesion), cut in various angles so as to produce different refraction. Michelangelo Pistoletto confronts us with a powerful and synthetic image, a work on the dialectic between the unity and division of the mirror. On the surface the rind is opaque, while inside the light of the mind reigns. The trunk is the uniqueness, the matter; the interior is the forest, and the internal mirror multiplies itself in the repeated refraction of light, until it reaches the infinite.The internal part is also the place where the time marks and draws the tree's age, in circles. With this simple and deep image, Pistoletto reminds us that the thought is always placed inside the physicality of the body.Località Ama 53013 Gaiole in Chianti (SI). Visits by appointment Wednesday and Friday, 10 am and 2 pm. Contact Castello di ama.