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This extensive retrospective of the work of Michelangelo Pistoletto (Biella, Italy, 1933) offered an overview of the most significant moments in the artist’s career, from his early self-portraits dating from 1960 to his latest interventions in the context of Progetto Arte, an initiative that has sought to stimulate reflection on the roles of contemporary art, artists and education since 1994. It also presented Pistoletto’s emblematic “mirror paintings”, his reflective and plexiglass objects, the works made out of old clothing, and, above all, the series Ogetti in meno (Minus Objects), produced between 1965 and 1966, which is considered to be the launching pad for Arte Povera and one of its most emphatic contributions.

The exhibition also presented extensive documentation that offered an account of Pistoletto’s work in the field of theatre with the group Lo Zoo, which he ran between 1968 and 1970 and which organised numerous projects based on collective action and participation. As the artist himself declared: “The step from the mirror paintings to theatre – everything is theatre – seems simply natural... Audience participation in the painting has evolved towards other forms of participation.”

This retrospective exhibition ranged in content from a pair of self-portraits painted in 1960, in which the images are framed inside a gold and a silver surface, respectively, through to the artistís most recent interventions, grouped under the title Progetto Arte, an initiative designed to provoke reflection on the state of art today. In other words, the exhibition traced a narrative thread which run from the image of the artist, and itsinitial pictorial representation, to the figure of the artist as the advocate of a different way of thinking and living in the world today. Pistoletto believes that now, at the start of the third millennium, the time has come for artists to take the responsibility for establishing links between the different branches of human activity, from politics to economics, from science to religion, in order to "eliminate distances while preserving differences", to quote the artist himself.

in meno" (Objetos de menos) que Pistoletto realizó entre 1965 y 1966 y que ha sido considerada una de sus aportaciones más rotundas. Asimismo, la exposición presentaba una amplia sección documental, para dar a conocer su trabajo en el campo teatral con su grupo Lo Zoo, que él mismo reunió entre 1968 y 1970.

Produced by: Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA) in a coproduction with the Museum of Modern Art Oxford

One always arrives to at something which one can no longer depict.
Dieter Roth