“Politics is the offspring of creation; therefore culture must be thought of starting from art and subsequently reach politics through the appropriate mechanism. This is why it is so important that Italian art be present here, in a place open to the world,” Michelangelo Pistoletto told the Multi-media Editorial Board of the Farnesina and the Velino/Pei News service at the last edition of “Farnesina Porte Aperte” (“Open Doors at the Farnesina”), an initiative of the Italian Foreign Ministry – Video
For Maestro Pistoletto: “The role of art is to arouse something: arouse, resuscitate, give birth to. Therefore I think that art plays a very important role precisely in the creation process.” Pistoletto’s creative force arises from the rebirth of social transformation, in a vision that is increasingly accompanied by an innovative artistic research aimed at building a new mode of communication between society and politics, through the privileged channel of art in all its forms. Thanks to his work Pistoletto, a master of Arte Povera (“Poor Art”) and the winner of a Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale, art also actively relates to foreign policy as the driver of interaction and dialogue. This is what gave rise to “Love Difference”, which turns the Mediterranean into a meeting table which reflects global challenges through collective action.
“It is a work of art, mirroring, imaginary, imaginative and ingenious but, at the same time, it is real because it is the Mediterranean,” Pistoletto explained. He continued: “The people who sit around this table know they are the major players in the Mediterranean. And there are the chairs; they are donated by the different countries around the Mediterranean that, when positioned, appear like a small Parliament waiting to speak, to meet. This somehow converts the symbol into reality. We are at the centre of the Mediterranean; we have a huge responsibility. Around us are three continents: Europe, Asia and Africa. This makes the Mediterranean crucial and we see that it is becoming the focus of all the conflicts, including religious ones. Religion is also the way to solve spiritual problems but only art is made of open, complex and comprehensive spirituality.”
The “Third Paradise”
Michelangelo Pistoletto, with his 50-year track record in artistic creation, reflects on contemporary times through dynamic and participative artwork: The “Terzo Paradiso” (“Third Paradise”) is a factual example of this. The symbolic portrayal of the mathematical symbol of the infinite is turned into the Italian flag in Brussels during Italy’s 6-month presidency of the European Council and became the 2015 symbol of the rebirth of the UN and the sense of its mission thanks to a monumental sculpture consisting of 153 stones – the number of UN member states – installed in the park of Geneva’s Palais des Nations to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the United Nations.
The artist continued: “The Third Paradise is another symbol that puts art in connection with society. No longer through the Mediterranean but through the world, starting with education, schooling, politics, the economy. This symbol connects all the opposites to create a new condition. It is a sign of creation that involves the UN. That’s why it was called ‘Rebirth’, the day it was born again. It is the UN that wants to be born again. But we must all continuously be born again. Life is made up of continuous rebirths until it slowly fades out.” The Third Paradise, in its different variations, continues to tour the world in order to create a fairer and more responsible society. From Milan to Paris and, in 2014, it reached an emblematic place like Cuba, the epicentre of rebirth, where the performance revealed to be a premonitory event. “The crucial point for me and on which we are working is Cuba – Pistoletto said – and by pure coincidence Third Paradise was made with boats and fishermen on the 16th of December of 2014 and then on the 17th Obama had a telephone conversation with Castro. Now we are working with all of Cuba’s society to give Cuba a new start after this finale of the Cold War, possibly with a ‘hot peace’”.
The artist : Political leaders must be “free and responsible”
Art as a creative and political faculty, as the art of governing. This dual-track connotation contains the sense of the work of art, which launches a universal message to political leaders: “To be free and responsible. Responsible does not mean taking advantage on one’s position, which is achieved through the use of power. Exercising power is something different: it is the power of doing, not through the use of power but of words, in order to be of help. It is a service that power must empower us all to do.”