Lévy Gorvy, New York
October 14, 2020 - February 27, 2021
Michelangelo Pistoletto (2020–21) was the first US presentation in a decade to feature multiple installations by the renowned Italian artist, presented in collaboration with Galleria Continua. The exhibition, which the artist specifically designed for Lévy Gorvy’s New York space, resonated with the themes that have animated Pistoletto’s body of work for over six decades: perception, time, history, tradition, and the relationship between art, artist, and viewer.
The exhibition featured an installation inspired by a pairing from One and One Makes Three, Pistoletto’s 2017 retrospective at the Basilica di San Giorgio Maggiore during the Venice Biennale. Featuring the artist’s signature use of mirrors, the grouping at Lévy Gorvy included Pistoletto’s historic Viceversa (1971) and the recent Color and Light (2016–17). Together, these works created a dynamic, constantly metamorphosing environment and dramatized the contrast between the fixity of the past and the ever-changing nature of the present.
A cage-like structure defined by steel bars was presented on the exhibition’s second floor. Empty and inaccessible to the viewer, the installation’s title is spelled out around its perimeter: The Free Space (conceived 1976 / fabricated 2020). The first and only English-language version of Spazio Libero—a work that Pistoletto conceived in 1976 and realized in 1999 with inmates in Milan’s San Vittore prison—The Free Space provokes reflections on freedom, imprisonment, and the real but often hidden boundaries of society.
Porte Uffizi (conceived 1994 / fabricated 2020) occupied the exhibition’s top floor. The installation was a unique, newly realized version of a seminal installation by Pistoletto consisting of an open-timber architectural structure of subdivided chambers, each labeled with a single word such as Economy, Science, and Spirituality. Major works by Pistoletto were installed within each chamber, illustrating his belief that art should unite with other aspects of society.