Michelangelo Pistoletto (b. 1933)

Biography

Michelangelo Pistoletto (born 23 June 1933 in Biella, Italy), one of the founders of the Italian Arte Povera movement in the 1960s, has produced conceptual two- and three-dimensional works throughout his extensive and ground-breaking artistic career.

Pistoletto began his artistic training in his father's restoration studio in Turin at the age of fourteen, before attending advertising design school. The young artist was heavily influenced by the work of Francis Bacon, and fittingly his early work of the 1950s explored self-portraiture. His first solo exhibition took place in 1960 at Galeria Galatea in Turin.

Beginning in 1962, Pistoletto produced a series of Mirror Paintings, in which a photograph of a life-size figurative image was silkscreened onto a reflective stainless steel surface. These paintings depict the static photographic image while incorporating the viewer and their environment in real time. The series brought him to the attention of the international art scene, and Pistoletto soon gained representation with influential American dealers Ileana Sonnabend and Leo Castelli. His paintings were subsequently exhibited in Pop and Nouveau Realisme shows alongside artists such as Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns, and Roy Lichtenstein. His sculptures and performances from the latter half of the decade were some of the original and most emblematic works of Arte Povera.

Pistoletto continues to stage conceptual exhibitions, installations, and performances in Italy and internationally. His work has been featured in solo shows at major international museums and galleries, and shown in prominent international group exhibitions, including the Venice Biennale and Documenta in Kassel. Pistoletto currently lives and works in Turin.

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