Simon Lee Gallery is proud to announce a solo exhibition of new and recent works by Michelangelo Pistoletto. For his fifth exhibition at the gallery, the artist presents a series of mirror paintings that reflect on themes of captivity, isolation and restriction at a fractured moment in contemporary history.
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. The artist gained prominence in Italy during the 1960s and 70s against a turbulent socio-political background characterised by unstable leadership, economic downturn and social upheaval. Amidst this tense political atmosphere, he used his art to reflect on the radical ideologies gaining currency amongst a younger generation struggling to find their place in a broken society, exploring subjects from student insurrection and incarceration to anti-government feeling and political demonstration. His mirrored surface offered the perfect vehicle to implicate agency on the behalf of the viewer, whose fleeting presence in the work vacillates between active participant and passive spectator. This critical attitude is by no means isolated in Pistoletto’s practice, which has continued to function as a zealous site for political interrogation to the present day.