Michelangelo Pistoletto's On This Side Of The Mirror

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When visiting the contemporary collection at Johnson Museum, I couldn’t help but notice a piece painted on a shinny, reflective surface. It is the work of an Italian artist, Michelangelo Pistoletto, called Parade #3 (figure 1). The two figures here are carrying a banner and marching forward. In fact, this is a typical example of his iconic Quadri Specchianti, or mirror paintings, which brought him international acknowledgement. Although Pistoletto also makes sculpture, land art, and staged performance, these mirror paintings remain his largest body of work across his career. Replacing the canvas with the polished stainless steel in these works, Pistoletto pastes photographic images of people and objects onto the mirror, but still leaves a…show more content…
The mirror always reflects the present, but the images belong to the place and time of their making. The viewers approaching the mirror with their own history and story from the past and encountering a different past of the image. But the present is fleeting: no reflection at every instant ever repeats. But the transience is forever part of the picture. 4. Create a new spatial dimension Juan Antonio Ramirez, in his essay “On This Side of the Mirror”, mentions the special hanging requirement by Pistoletto. Unlike traditional paintings hung at mid-height, many works of him are simply propped up against the wall, so the bottom edges touch the ground. Ramirez argues, instead of being a window to look through, these works serve as a “door which one can (or must) pass through.” However, there is also a tension between involvement and distance. On the one hand, we could get extremely close to the object of the painting, as if we are standing right in front of her. On the other hand, we shall never physically pass through the mirror door. In addition, we cannot see what the figures are seeing. They appear to be absorbed in the protest, as if we were not there. Thus, what seems to be reachable at first turns out to be

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