Michelangelo Pistoletto (b. 1933, Biella, Italy) is widely recognised as one of the most influential contemporary artists of his generation and a leading proponent of the Arte Povera movement. Since the 1960s his work has followed two profoundly linked paths, a body of conceptual sculpture grounded in the tenets of Arte Povera and an ongoing series of Mirror Paintings, comprising figurative, graphic or sculptural images applied to the surface of polished stainless steel. Representing his dual interest in conceptualism and figurative representation, together these bodies of work have earned Pistoletto enduring international recognition. Alongside this practice, Pistoletto is the founder of the Cittadellarte in Biella, an interdisciplinary laboratory that promotes the use of art to foster social change. Its primary mission is centred upon The Third Paradise, conceived in 2003 as the promise of a future realm in which nature and society will coexist in harmony.
The mirrored surface is instrumental to Pistoletto’s practice. The reflective plane of his paintings draws the viewer and their environment into the work, altering the fiction of the painted image as a frozen moment. An ardent advocate of the performative in art, Pistoletto’s work emphasises interactivity, spontaneity, the multiplicity of imaginative worlds, and an active relationship between artwork and spectator. The mirror creates a gateway for the viewer into the virtual space of the work, creating a portal between art and life. ‘The true protagonist’, he wrote of his mirror paintings in 1966, ‘was the relationship of instantaneousness that was created between the spectator, his own reflection, and the painted figure, in an ever-present movement that concentrated the past and the figure in itself to such an extent as to cause one to call their very existence into doubt: it was the dimension of time itself’.
Michelangelo Pistoletto: Scaffali
Simon Lee Gallery is delighted to present works from celebrated Italian artist Michelangelo Pistoletto’s most recent series of mirror paintings, in which he directs his attention towards the subject of scaffali, or shelves. This will be the artist’s fourth solo exhibition with the gallery.
Pistoletto is widely recognised as one of the most influential contemporary artists of his generation and a central figure within the Arte Povera movement. From early in his five-decade career the mirrored surface has been an instrumental element of his practice. Initiated in 1962, Pistoletto’s signature mirror paintings use the reflective picture plane to draw both viewer and environment into the work, playing with traditional notions of the painted image as a fixed moment in time.
Simon Lee Gallery is proud to present ‘Faux Amis’, a group exhibition that centres on the dialogue between the work of gallery artists and their chosen ‘false friend’.
For this, the first exhibition to cover both the ground and the new first floor spaces of the London gallery, Simon Lee Gallery artists are invited to exhibit alongside, and in dialogue with, the work of an artist of their choice which they find forges a relevant, interesting, distracting, misleading, or stimulating relationship with their own practice. The resultant selection of works not only highlights the interesting discourses that can exist between artists of divergent practices and generations, but also suggests new readings of the individual works on display.
Michelangelo Pistoletto Partitura in Nero
Simon Lee Gallery is proud to present an exhibition of acclaimed Italian artist Michelangelo Pistoletto, a key figure in the development of Italian art in the 1950’s and 1960’s and a founding member of the Arte Povera movement. The term meaning “poor” or “impoverished” art was coined to describe the practice of a group of Italian artists creating art who used everyday materials and found objects. Arte Povera rejected standards of artistic classification, seeking new approaches to making art and aiming to create a space for evaluation of the viewers’ responses and the art object itself. Pistoletto’s practice is profoundly driven by the belief that creative energy is linked not to the artist as a singular entity but as an extraordinary force capable of impacting every aspect of society. The role of the artist is dedicated to creating interaction between all spheres of human activity that make up society.
Simon Lee Gallery is proud to present Elective Affinities, an exhibition which brings together a group of sculptures which share an interest in narrative and prioritise content, reference and resonance over pure form. Proposing an alternative to the drive toward abstraction and the evacuation of content, the works in this exhibition insist on their relationships to their sources and antecedents and combine physical transformation with continuity of meaning. Whether through performance or materiality, as replicas or relics, they force the recognition of the ideas and processes by which they are made.