Michelangelo Pistoletto


Michelangelo Pistoletto

Italia • Italy

The importance of raw materials, of traditions is fundamental for continuing to write pages of the history of the Universe, of our planet Earth, of our daily activities, of Mother Nature and, as such also of Art, and of each one of us.

The first Paradise, that of the collective imagination to which so many people aspire, is the beginning, the nature and here also the history of Venice, an excellent example of how Man is closely linked to the sovereign laws of the Universe. For centuries, the lagoon has relied on pilings created by human ingenuity, using wood centuries old, like nature itself, with which man has created a symbiotic relationship. Here our first Paradise is made of the tips of old mooring posts salvaged in the lagoon, a recovery that brings with it a part of the history of an enchanted and fragile place.

According to Pistoletto, the other first Paradise, the one needed to compose the symbol of infinity, is the “artificial” one created by man and his eagerness as homo faber (Man the Maker). Something that does not exist in nature, something modified...But the root of the term Artifice is the word ART... and so the outermost circle, the extension of Paradise, is depicted as coloured, many-shaped, like a precious glass mosaic in different Pantones, like a canvas painted by instinct, without a precise project or drawing. Glass, another symbol of Venice and its craftsmen, but also of natural elements, which come together to create a new material. But is this Paradise, this dream of infinity, really complete? Or, now that we are gradually acquiring awareness of the limit between nature and artifice, must we create a more perfect imaginary place, where everything exists and where everything can find the equilibrium for survival? Just as men and women have been given the gift of procreation, so too nature and art, if skilfully combined, can create a Third Paradise made of logic, laws, equilibriums that allow us to follow the path of Mother Nature and that of the evolution of the human race.

The Third and True Paradise is thus born inside the two circles, as though kept between them: the Paradise of the reality in which we live and where, with human help and planning, Nature is able to create other natural forms and goods that are indispensable for survival, foods that are able to nourish man and animals, but even the plant kingdom. And food is generated from water, just as emotion and communication are generated from Art... The whole closely linked together, tied with sailor’s ropes from the lagoon, as though to confirm an indestructible bond between the three paradises, reinforcing their equilibrium and drawing a new boundary and bond between two cities, that only seem to be so different.

Venice and Vercelli are linked in this installation with recovered materials typical of two territories tied to Water and Art and to the desire to be regenerated through these two forms of life.

Serena Mormino, Curator

Michelangelo Pistoletto The Third Paradise 2003 - 2012

What is the Third Paradise?

It is 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. Humankind has formed a real artificial world that gives rise, in an exponential manner and in parallel with its beneficial effects, to irreversible processes of decline on a planetary scale. The danger of a tragic collision between the natural sphere and artificial has been announced in every way1.

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 Third Paradise is the new myth that leads everyone to take personal responsibility at this momentous juncture.

The Third Paradise is symbolically represented by a reconfiguration of the mathematical infinity sign. In the “New Infinity Sign” three circles are drawn: the two opposite circles signify nature and artifice; the middle one is the conjunction of the two and represents the generative womb of the Third Paradise.

Michelangelo Pistoletto

1. The term artifice is rooted in the word art, so art today takes on core responsibilities with regard to the whole artificial world.