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Michelangelo Pistoletto

Michelangelo Pistoletto

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Michelangelo Pistoletto

Michelangelo Pistoletto at Blenheim Palace: 15 September - 31 December 2016

The third exhibition at Blenheim Palace spanned Italian artist Michelangelo Pistoletto’s prolific fifty-year career, featuring painting, sculpture, and new, site-specific installations. Pistoletto gave us a playful crash-course in Italian history, referencing the Renaissance and Fascism in turn. Classical Antiquity collided with post-war consumerism in his ‘Venus of the Rags’, in which the Classical goddess leans against a large pile of waste material in the Chapel. This work, an iconic piece from the Arte Povera period of 1960s-70s Italy, exemplifies Pistoletto’s anti-establishment use of cheap and unconventional materials to make high art. As well as celebrating the breadth of Pistoletto’s materials and techniques, the show also introduced Pistoletto the 

political philosopher, with many of his lyrical, colourful works underpinned with strong pacifist messages and calls for unity, collaboration, and freedom. His striking ‘Mappamondo’, a globe made of burnished newspaper, was remade for Blenheim Palace using material from British journalism. The breath-taking ‘Third Paradise’ symbol,wrapped in Pistoletto’s signature rags, hovered above the Great Hall, calling for a more harmonious, united future.