The land art by the Italian Michelangelo Pistoletto, now finished, with 20 tons of stones, finds a permanent place at the Festival Arte Serrinha, in Bragança Paulista.
The land art by the Italian Michelangelo Pistoletto, now finished, with 20 tons of stones, finds a permanent place at the Festival Arte Serrinha, in Bragança Paulista.

Can art redirect the world and propose new ways of living? Michelangelo Pistoletto has dedicated himself to the ambitious project for almost ten years Third Paradise (Third Paradise), supported by a critical repertoire of mathematical terminologies to develop an action of respect for nature, urban spaces and man, placing art at the center of a responsible social transformation.

It would be a mistake to imagine that the proposal revolves around itself. On the contrary, it contaminates other circuits, opens the field of reflections and narratives through artistic and educational activities involving the population of the place where it is installed, causing social consequences.

The concept of project begins with Pìstoletto's gesture of taking the mathematical sign of infinity as a starting point. THE Third Paradise it is the fusion of the first circle of the symbol, which he says is integrated with nature, with the second, immersed in artificial needs, for both to form the third that represents the new humanity.

Easy to identify visually and theoretically complex, as he defines himself, Third Paradise it has already been drawn, danced, played, planted, in different topographies: seas, rivers, squares, designed and even printed on an Italian spaceship. Now, on a grand scale, it reaches the bucolic and mountainous landscape of 19th Serrinha Art Festival, designed by Fabio Delduque in Bragança Paulista, which takes place virtually until November, with the theme Art and Science. The installation reinforces Pistoletto's idea that the earth is the landscape for a new level of civilization. The curatorship is by Marcello Dantas and Catarina Duncan, and the installation was made under the guidance of Pistoletto. “We could not involve the population or students because of Covid-19. But now the public will be able to see the work made with rocks from the region throughout the year, because it is already part of the festival’s permanent collection.”

conversation in Havana

There are projects that bewitch and act like hallucinogenic substances on their authors. I talk to Pistoletto at the Raquel hotel in Havana in 2015, accompanied by his wife, Maria, a beacon of his life. Calm, excited, he shows signs that he would do the Third Paradise in the interior of São Paulo, so I save the interview for this occasion. In the Cuban capital, his work takes on other contours for bringing to light a control mechanism. He had just performed the performance without government authorization, involving dozens of fishing boats, under the coordination of artist Kcho, curator Laura Salas, both Cubans, and Lorenzo Fiaschi, of the Italian gallery Continua, with a branch in Havana.

Terzo Paradiso mounted in Havana Bay, in 2015, as a great performance performed alongside local fishermen. Photo: Disclosure

Without consulting the Cuban bureaucracy, he convinces the fishermen to sign the Third Paradise float in Havana Bay. Knowing the complexity of the situation, I ask how he managed to intervene within an area of ​​so-called “coastal water”, sovereign territory of the State, a law in force in any country. “Fishermen must have the right, like any other citizen, to speak out. Third Paradise is a work of open process, community, of planetary action in which all are authors and protagonists regardless of their country, race, politics or religion”. Anyway, Pistoletto executed the work and tested a model of how to display performance events in a forbidden zone. Havana is one of the embassies of the Third Paradise, as well as San Gimignano, Beijing and Quebec.

The new millennium warns that the planet is at risk. Third Paradise practices two recurring issues, recycling and environmental sustainability. The reproductive function of the project is in the by-products generated in seminars, debates, workshops, residencies, festivals, in the defense of a future in which nature and society coexist in a sustainable way and guarantee life to the earth. Third Paradise it means the passage of a new level of planetary civility.

“The term 'Paradise' was appropriated by religion as a doctrine, but it belongs to the Persian language which means protected garden. In that culture, Paradiso refers to agriculture, the way of producing vegetables in the desert, building two parallel walls of stone, with enough space between them to retain the humidity and allow the plantation to flourish. From the point of view of religion, it is configured as the garden that can be reached after death”, he explains. But men want a garden in their terrestrial life, hence the artist created a symbol from tridynamics, an element taken from the mathematical sign of infinity. “I want to talk about our finite life in society, to give birth to a third space that represents the beginning and the end of our existence. After all, everything that exists has a duration and then ends.”

In this perspective Third Paradise it is participatory, spatial and, above all, political. “Art cannot be separated from politics. Art is politics and politics has to be art. Art has the freedom to be free and responsible.” Cittadellarte, his art center in Biella, where he was born, is home to the Terzo Paradise. There he made the exhibition Criticism is not enough, a kind of response to artists who criticize the status quo without proposing anything new in return. “Criticism is utopia and if it is simply blocked in a situation, it does not provoke the new. It is not enough for an artist to criticize the system, he must have a proposal for change”.

Considered one of the fundamental artists of contemporary art, Pistoletto, at the age of 86, tested positive for Covid-19, spent a month in the hospital, recovered, continues to work and assumed a new identity, as he says, going from an individual subject to a collective subject. of artistic creation. “Art must be placed at the center of a transformation, introducing an attention to ecology and practical research, accompanied by a mental process that allows people to start living with new motivations. Art is an enzyme of social fermentation, a balance of the effective reality of the world”, he concludes.

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