Michelangelo Pistoletto
La Conferenza, 1975

Cittadellarte – Fondazione Pistoletto* 
Re-Birth, 2013


Participating artists*
Yoav Weiss
invites: Naomi Gerstein, Assaf Rahat, Yonat Cintra, Michal Rivlin, Ilan Dotan

Alejandro Vasquez Salinas
invites: Daniel Gil, Yesenia Rodriguez Bedoya, Víctor Muñoz, Ika Putranto,
Yumemi Kobayashi

CTRLZAK (Katia Meneghini  & Thanos Zakopoulos)
invites: Harris Kodosfiris, Nikos Sereal, Yuangyung, Alistair Gentry, 2:pm
(Paul & Mathiew)

Nataša Perković
invites: Dragana Antonić, Amila Handžić, Renata Papišta, Dejan Slavuljica

Chalie Jeffery
invites: Aurélie Godard, Camila Oliveira Fairclough, Philippa Jeffery, Jon
Lockhart, Virginie Yassef


From La Conferenza to Cittadellarte: portraying the community

In his 1975 work, La Conferenza, Michelangelo Pistoletto reflected on the relationship between the individual and the community. “A speaker stands in front of an audience of twenty people. Everyone is given a camera. The audience takes pictures of the speaker and the speaker takes pictures of the audience at the same time. In the end the image of the speaker has been reproduced twenty times, while the entire audience has been reproduced in just a single image, taken by the lecturer. This is a snapshot of power: the entire audience is concentrated in the person of the speaker, whereas the person of the speaker is multiplied by however many people are in the audience.”1 In this work Michelangelo Pistoletto builds a reflection on the 1:1 relationship, considering the individual as an integral part of a community where s/he observes and acts, while at the same time that community, made up of individuals, observes him or her and acts in its turn. On the basis of this historical work we decided to construct a sort of “community portrait,” starting with the relationship between the one and the many. In this case Cittadellarte is intended as one—not an individual but a place where people create, share ideas and develop projects; and a community is represented by five former residents of UNIDEE – University of Ideas,2 who in turn have invited five of their contacts to join the project. In this instance the “community portrait” is created not by a single image, or a series of images that portray the individual subject, but by a relationship among individuals that develops a common concept: rebirth. The concept has been chosen by Michelangelo Pistoletto to highlight, within a process of social change, the opportunity that art and culture have to stimulate a new interpersonal responsibility and to encourage people to promote ethical and sustainable practices with a view to sparking a cultural re-evolution.
Starting from the theme of the show, we’ve built a network portraying the relationships among people who live in different places around the world, who have participated in the activities of Cittadellarte, and who in turn have used their network of contacts, like the shoots of a rhizome, to enlarge the final image.

Juan E. Sandoval


Cittadellarte is a new form of artistic and cultural institution that places art in direct interaction with the various sectors of society. An organism aimed at producing civilization, activating a responsible social transformation necessary and urgent at local and global level.
Cittadellarte is an open community where individual and collective energies get activated towards the achievement of a common good in the different areas that constitute the social structure: from sustainable architecture and town planning to sustainable fashion, from industrial design and production to the development of craftsmanship, from international political relations to communication, nourishment and spirituality.
Cittadellarte is a non-profit organization of social utility, recognized by and under the patronage of the Region of Piedmont since 1998. Its headquarters are in Biella, in a 19th century former wool mill, itself a piece of industrial archeology and protected by the Ministry of Cultural Assets.


Michelangelo Pistoletto was born in Biella in 1933. In 1960 he had his first solo show at Galleria Galatea in Turin. Between 1961 and 1962 he made his first Mirror Paintings, which directly include the viewer and real time in the work. The Mirror Paintings quickly brought Pistoletto international acclaim, leading, in the sixties, to one-man exhibitions in important galleries and museums in Europe and the United States. Between 1965 and 1966 he created a set of works entitled Minus Objects, considered fundamental to the birth of Arte Povera. In 1967 he began to work outside traditional exhibition spaces, with the first instances of that Creative Collaboration he developed over the following decades by bringing together artists from different disciplines and diverse sectors of society. In 1975-76 he presented a cycle of twelve consecutive exhibitions, Le Stanze, at the same gallery in Turin. This was the first of a series of complex, year-long works called Time Continents. In 1978, in a show in Turin, Pistoletto defined two main directions his future artwork would take: Division and Multiplication of the Mirror and Art Takes on Religion. During the nineties, with Project Art, the creation in Biella of Cittadellarte – Fondazione Pistoletto and the University of Ideas, he brought art into active relation with diverse spheres of society with the aim of inspiring and producing responsible social change. In 2003 he won the Venice Biennale’s Golden Lion for Lifelong Achievement. In 2004 the University of Turin awarded him a laurea honoris causa in Political Science. On that occasion the artist announced what has become the most recent phase of his work, Third Paradise. In 2007, in Jerusalem, he received the Wolf Foundation Prize in the Arts, “for his constantly inventive career as an artist, educator and activist whose restless intelligence has created prescient forms of art that contribute to fresh understanding of the world.”
He was Artistic Director of Evento 2011 in Bordeaux. In 2013 he has a solo exhibition at Musée du Louvre in Paris: Michelangelo Pistoletto, année un – le paradis sur terre. His works are present in the collections of leading museums of modern and contemporary art all over the world.



1 Michelangelo Pistoletto, Omnitheism and Democracy, Cittadellarte Editions, 2012. http://www.pistoletto.it/eng/testi/omnitheism_and_democracy.pdf.

2 UNIDEE in Residence is a four-month residency program that aspires to explore the relationship between art and society and to investigate creative ways of activating projects for responsible change in society. UNIDEE in Residence trains participants in a new professional role—that of  “artivator” of projects for Responsible Social Change—which combines the characteristics and skills of the artist, the curator, the entrepreneur and the manager of cultural projects.