Introspective Mirrors and Stacks of Rags Fill an English Palace

Insightful commentary and sweeping footage comprise a documentary chronicling Michelangelo Pistoletto's 2016 retrospective at Blenheim Palace.
February 19, 2017, 12:45pm
Screencaps by the author, via

The late-1900s movement, arte povera, drew upon the use of unconventional materials and methods. Its literal meaning translates to "poor art" in Italian, and considers disposable and unextraordinary items to take on commercialization. In a visually stunning short documentary by Mike Nybroe, the work of one of one of the movement's leading artists, Michelangelo Pistoletto, receives a sweeping video retrospective. Pistoletto's 2016 exhibit at the English estate Blenheim Palace represented a unification of many of his best-known works, as well as the artist's dedication to "presenting art for peace" in past and future. The short documentary, entitled Private View, combines previews of the Italian master's works, like his silk screened Mirror Paintings and sculpture Venus of the Rag, with interior and exterior perspectives of Blenheim.

"My philosophy," Pistoletto explains in a voiceover, "is to bring the viewer inside the work of art, and the viewer that comes to visit the palace comes to be part of the artwork. They don't just look, but they act inside my work [such as Mirror Paintings], in the palace, so they that become actors in the palace."

The palace's architecturally grand views are a pitch-perfect complement to Pistoletto's art and defined political thinking and craftsmanship: "There is always a change in my art, nothing is static forever. Everything is there for one minute, but only for one minute. If you move away, you have another vision, another possibility, another condition. You can, with art, change your vision, but also change the reality."

See the full video below, with in-depth looks at the many of the artist's works, along with many corridors of Blenheim Palace: