Pistoletto Politico at Luxembourg & Dayan
Since their launch in 2009, Luxembourg & Dayan have been curating contemporary art exhibitions with a museum-quality style of display. The latest exhibition at their London site on Savile Row is a solo show of pieces by the Italian artist Michelangelo Pistoletto.
Pistoletto, born in 1933, is one of Italy’s best known contemporary painters. He is also an arts theorist and a pioneer of the Arte Povera movement, which developed during the 1960s in response to the political situation at the time (not dissimilar to that in the UK today), where the younger generation struggled to find a place for themselves in society.
At a time when art was dominated by capitalism (and often simply a means of private expression), Arte Povera or “poor art” aimed to open it up, making it relevant to a wider audience through the use of inexpensive materials.
This show focuses on Pistoletto’s work from this period and includes eight powerful pieces created in the 60s and 70s. Mirrored glass is used in the majority to involve the viewer, reflecting Pistoletto’s belief in art as an instrument of social awareness. The viewer is simultaneously looking at the creation and taking part in it, therefore it never physically appears the same to any two viewers. When the viewer walks away, the piece that they were seeing is lost, and if another viewer steps into the scene, it is altered – a fascinating concept on many levels.
The work entitled La Gabbia (1967-1974) is a large mirror, featuring prison bars, which cuts through the centre of the gallery space. It is difficult to avoid and the viewer has the feeling of entering the gallery from behind bars.
Mobili Capovolti (1976) consists of an upturned armchair with a mirrored bottom, referencing both the upturning of the old system and the physical displacement of furniture that happens during riots. The reflection in the bottom of the chair naturally changes as the piece is relocated, allowing the piece to take on new meanings in different situations.
The show gives the viewer an interesting concept to reflect upon, quite literally, and provides an exciting introduction to the works of Michelangelo Pistoletto before the opening of his major retrospective at the Musée du Louvre, Paris, in April.
Pistoletto Politico is at Luxembourg & Dayan until 12th April 2013. For further information visit the gallery’s website here.