Luhring Augustine is pleased to present The Minus Objects 1965-1966, an exhibition of one of the earliest and most important bodies of work created by the Italian artist Michelangelo Pistoletto. Widely regarded as fundamental tothe birth of the Arte Povera movement in the 1960s, this seminal series radically upended the prevailing art trends of the time.
Pistoletto is best known for his Quadri Specchianti (Mirror Paintings), which were first conceived of in 1962 and represent a crucialandon going facet of the artist’s oeuvre. By affixing an image on to a reflective surface, the artist enables a dynamic and ever-changing interaction between the art object and the viewer. The Mirror Paintings garnered international acclaim early on, but Pistoletto was reluctant to yield to expectations that he continue solely in this vein. He opted to create instead the Oggetti in Meno (Minus Objects), a series of Works which defied both categorization and commodification.
Exhibited for the first time in 1966, in the artist’s studio in Turin, the Minus Objects comprise a group of disparate sculptural objects, striking for their individuality as well as their sheer diversity of form, media and means of production. Each work evolved in a spontaneous and organic manner and came together as a larger ensemble after their making. For example, Rosabruciata (Burnt Rose), a work of corrugated card board and spray paint, is the materialization of an object seen in a dream, while Strutture per parlare in piedi (Structure for Talking while Standing), a minimalist iron sculpture, is inspired by Marks made on a gallery wall by visitors resting their feet. Certain objects such as Lampada a mercurio (Mercury Lamp) and Specchio (Mirror) are industrial and utilitarian in nature, while others such as Paesaggio (Landscape), Ti amo (I LoveYou) and Quadro da Pranzo (Lunch Painting) clearly reference the history of painting. Each object is non-representational, unfamiliar ands lightly absurd, yet seems to possess a kind of self-sufficiency and innate reason for being.
There markable singularity and self-containment of each Minus Object serveto minimize the role of authorship. Bycreating an ensemble of objects with no discernible relation to each other, the artist essentially negates his own persona and enables the series as a whole to speak forit self. As Pistoletto writes, “…they are objects through whose agency I free my self from something—not constructions, then, but liberations. I do not considerhem more but less, not pluses but minuses, in that they bring with them a sense of a perceptual experience that has been definitively manifested once and for all.”
Michelangelo Pistoletto was born in Biella, Italy in 1933. He has exhibited extensively and his work is in the collection of numerous museums including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington D.C.; Tate Modern, London; Castellodi Rivoli, Turin, and the Reina Sofia Museum, Madrid. He has participated in several international exhibition sincluding the Venice Biennale on eleven occasions, and four iterations of Documenta. Recent solo exhibitions have been presented at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, MAXXI, the Serpentine Gallery, and at the Louvre in Paris in 2013. He is alsothe 2013 recipient of the prestigious Praemium Imperiale Award for Painting. The artist lives and works in Biella, where he founded the interdisciplinary laboratory Cittadellarte.