Michelangelo Pistoletto was born in 1933. While still a teenager, he spent time in the studio of his father, a painter and restorer, after which he trained at the school of design run by Armando Testa. Pistoletto’s work is connected to the Arte Povera circle, an Italian conceptual movement launched by Germano Celant with the exhibition “Arte Povera” held in 1967 at La Bertesca gallery in Genova. In the early 1960s, Pistoletto began making his famous series of Quadri specchianti (Mirror Paintings): sheets of polished inox steel, like mirrors, onto which he applied images he obtained through a photographic reproduction technique. These works enabled him to include the viewer and his or her surroundings in the work of art. Time, which the artist understands as a container, thus enters his work and is at the heart of his year-long projects, such as Anno Bianco (White Year) (1989) and Tartaruga Felice (Happy Tortoise) (1992). In the 1990s, Pistoletto explicitly directed his work towards social responsibility. With Cittadellarte-Fondazione Pistoletto and the University of Ideas at Biella, he positions himself at an activator of processes within the urban and social enrivronment.
In 2003 he won the Golden Lion for Career Achievement at the Venice Biennale. The most recent exhibitions dedicated to his work include those at Galleria Continua, San Giminiano (2015), Museo Pecci, Prato (2014) and Palais des Nations, Geneva (2014). His works were shown at Punta della Dogana in the exhibitions “Prima Materia” (2013-15) and “Mapping the Studio” (2009-11) and at Palazzo Grassi in the exhibitions “Italics” (2008-2009) and “Where are We Going?” (2006).