By extending an invitation to Michelangelo Pistoletto, the Louvre
opens a new series of exhibitions by contemporary artists. The aim of this new series is not only to present works offering a fresh perspective on the museums permanent collections, which has been the founding principle of the Counterpoint exhibitions, but also to take advantage of the artists presence to organize a program of fruitful encounters in collaboration with the museums educational and cultural staff, as well as discussions and performances in the auditorium and in the Tuileries gardens. Of all the contemporary artists selected so far to be given carte blanche during a residency at the Louvre, the choice of Pistoletto, one of the leading figures of the Italian Arte Povera movement, undoubtedly underscores the multidimensionality of space and time more than ever before: the past embodied by the museums own holdings, the present of visitors captured in its mirrors, and the future heralded by the Third Paradise symbol, displayed on the facade of the pyramid, a work created by the artist especially for this exhibition.
Taking as its title Year One, Paradise on Earth, the exhibition marks the transition to a new era, one of human, social, cultural and political transformation, celebrated around the world on December 21, 2012 through various installations and performances at a number of high-profile venues, including the Louvres Cour Napoléon.
By intervening within several departments at the museum (Paintings, Sculptures, Medieval Louvre), through his works Pistoletto instills a dialogue with the history of art, from antiquity to present times, and embodies the meeting of disparate civilizations. This intervention thus echoes the essential elements of what constitutes a museum in the twenty-first century. From his first mirror paintings, which prompted a reconsideration of the purpose of art and challenged the very notion of perspective, to his most recent works, such as The Mirror of Judgment or Il Tempo del Giudizio, Pistoletto integrates the viewer into the composition, bringing us face to face with our own responsibility in the worlds evolution. The founding of Cittadellarte in the artists hometown of Biella (Italy) in 1996 stands as the most evident manifestation of his transition from individual creation, with his early investigations of self-portraiture, to collective and international creation, joining participants from several different disciplines and fields of study.
Love differences! This brief exhortation in neon tubing, rendered in several languages and blazoned on the walls of the oldest section of the Louvre palace, reflects the artists fascination with the multiple identities created by globalization, particularly in the Mediterranean region.
From the Department of Greek, Etruscan and Roman Antiquities to the Department of Paintings, taking in the Cour Marly and the Charles VI walls along the way, the Louvre is thus criss-crossed and activated by the presence of Pistolettos works, impregnated with the vision of this singular artist, whose Third Paradise symbol greets and piques the imagination of each and every visitor to the museum. For Pistoletto, this symbol announces the reconciliation of nature and artifice, of feminine and masculine, a new conceptual matrix to reflect upon all sorts of relations between mankind and society, to devise an entirely new economy of the world.