Michelangelo Pistoletto was born in Biella in 1933. As well as being a major figure in the Arte Povera movement, he has achieved recognition as an object and action artist. During his time in the Arte Povera movement, which peaked throughout Italy’s major cities from 1967-1972, he aimed to question the values of established industrial, governmental, and cultural institutions. Pistoletto’s art uses everyday materials to address the concepts of reflection and artistic unification, with reference to the idea of the Gesamtkunstwerk – an ideal or total work of art.
Michelangelo Pistoletto began his career as an art restorer, working for his father from 1947 until the late 1950s. His first one-man show came in 1960. He gradually came to international attention through the efforts of the gallery owner Ileana Sonnabend. His work around this time involved printing high-definition pictures onto steel plates, which he then polished. His subsequent mirror paintings are among his best-known creations. Pistoletto has had several exhibitions in America and the UK, in which he has shown the images he has painted or printed onto mirrors.