Cittadellarte – Fondazione Pistoletto | Biella
Cittadellarte – Fondazione Pistoletto in Biella, Northern Italy, is a non-profit art center and cultural institution founded by influential Italian Arte Povera artist Michelangelo Pistoletto (b. 1933). The name Cittadellarte is a portmanteau combining the words Città (City), Cittadella (Citadel), and Arte (Art).
History and building
Founded in 1998 with the support of the Piedmont Region Government, Compagnia di San Paolo, and CRT Foundation, Cittadellarte is not a traditional museum but a large workshop aimed to promote creativity by the means of eleven departments, each focused on a different field – education, ecology, economy, politics, spirituality, production, work, communication, architecture, fashion, and nourishment.
The idea is that the cross-influences and mutual collaboration between such fields could “operationally take artistic interventions into every sector of civil society to contribute responsibly and profitably to address the profound changes of our age.”
The concept on which the center is based on the principle of the so-called Third Paradise, that Michelangelo Pistoletto defines as “the fusion between the first and second paradise. The first is the paradise in which humans were fully integrated into nature. The second is the artificial paradise, developed by humans through a process that has now reached globalizing proportions. This paradise is made of artificial needs, artificial products, artificial comforts, artificial pleasures, and every other form of artifice. (…) The danger of a tragic collision between the natural sphere and artificial has been announced in every way.
The idea of the Third Paradise is to lead artifice—that is, science, technology, art, culture and political life—back to the Earth, while engaging in the reestablishment of common principles and ethical behavior, for on these the actual success of the project depends. The Third Paradise is the passage to a new level of planetary civilization, essential to ensure the human race’s survival.”
The center is housed in a former wool mill, the Lanificio Trombetta, which has been restored and renovated to accommodate permanent and temporary exhibition spaces, workshops, co-working spaces, performance spaces, rooms for educational programs and meetings, offices, a meditation space, a book and gift store, and a cafe-restaurant.
Cittadellarte – Fondazione Pistoletto, Biella; the “Third Paradise” hall; photo Enrico Amici
Permanent exhibitions, and program of events and activities
Cittadellarte also accommodates permanent exhibitions featuring both site-specific installations and artworks mostly related to the Arte Povera movement, of which Michelangelo Pistoletto has been one of the leading figures, including sculptures, paintings and installations by Giuseppe Penone, Gilberto Zorio, Giovanni Anselmo, Mario Merz, Salvo, Gianni Piacentino, and Luciano Fabro, along with several pieces by Pistoletto himself.
Named Arte al Centro, the multi-disciplinary annual program of events and activities taking place at Cittadellarte includes temporary exhibitions, special commissions, live performances, screenings, talks, conferences, seminars, workshops, educational activities, research programs, residential courses, and special events.
The opening times of Cittadellarte depend on the calendar of special exhibitions and events, the permanent exhibition is open Sunday and Saturday all year round; all visits to temporary and permanent exhibitions must be booked in advance at http://www.cittadellarte.it/termeculturali/.
Cittadellarte, Arte Povera permanent exhibition; Michelangelo Pistoletto, Venere degli Stracci (Venus of the Rags), 1967, marble and textiles
One of the rooms of the Arte Povera permanent gallery and the “Painting Room” space
Cittadellarte – Fondazione Pistoletto, former Lanificio Trombetto wool mill, the “Music Room”
The “Columns’ Room” exhibition space
One of the co-working spaces
Michelangelo Pistoletto, L’Etrusco (The Etruscan),1976, mirror, plaster, paint
Cover image, Cittadellarte – Fondazione Pistoletto in Biella, Italy, exterior view
All images courtesy of Cittadellarte – Fondazione Pistoletto; photos Enrico Amici
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copyright Inexhibit 2022 - ISSN: 2283-5474