In honour of the Blenheim Art Foundation presenting Michelangelo Pistoletto at Blenheim Palace, in a solo exhibition running from 15th September – 31st December 2016 celebrating the extensive oeuvre of the Italian artist, we republish this classic interview.

 

Celebrating the 70th Anniversary of the United Nations.

In 2015 the world celebrates the 70th Anniversary of the United Nations. The creation of the United Nations and the adoption of its Charter were major achievements at a time of war and upheaval, and the Organization has worked tirelessly to fulfil the promises of the Charter, with many remarkable successes. Still, seventy years later, mankind continues to struggle with conflicts, hunger, illnesses and other development-related challenges in a fast-changing and globalized world.

The Rebirth Symbol, developed by Italian artist Michelangelo Pistoletto, represents the ‘rebirth’ of society – a new world, where the ‘human community’ is united, dialogue between opposites is fostered, and balance and harmony is achieved.

The Rebirth Symbol, developed by Italian artist Michelangelo Pistoletto, represents the ‘rebirth’ of society – a new world, where the ‘human community’ is united, dialogue between opposites is fostered, and balance and harmony is achieved.

Pistoletto, in Geneva on 24th October you will attend a very important day for the Third Paradise Symbol and the Rebirth movement?

The ‘Rebirth Symbol’ embodies the purpose and mission of the UN: finding balance between diverging ideas, creating a new world of harmony through a dialogue of opposites, bringing diversity together, providing inspiration for alternative ways of governance and politics, and promoting inclusive and sustainable development.

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The sculpture of ‘Rebirth’ in the Ariana Park at the Palais des Nations, Geneva.

The United Nations is committed to address the challenges it faces in more effective ways and adapt to changes by modernizing its policies and practices while staying true to its ideas and principles. Hence the idea of using the symbol of ‘rebirth’ to convey the intention of the United Nations to embrace this new path for diplomacy to undertake a renaissance and symbolically commit to a new start.

Where can the sculpture of ‘Rebirth’ be found?

The sculpture of ‘Rebirth’ is placed in the Ariana Park at the Palais des Nations. It will be a reminder to staff, delegates and visitors of the need to ‘meet in the middle’, to bridge distances and find harmony.

The sculpture of ‘rebirth’ in the Ariana Park at the Palais des Nations, Geneva.

The sculpture of ‘Rebirth’ in the Ariana Park at the Palais des Nations, Geneva.

What does your installation symbolize?

The sculpture represents all UN Member States united in the ‘Rebirth’ symbol. The stones will be left rough and be of a size between 50-50 centimetres of height, length and width. One stone from each country is included in the sculpture, and the name of the country is engraved on the stone.

The sculpture will represent all UN Members States united in the rebirth symbol. The stones will be left rough and be of a size between 30- 50 centimetres of height, length and width. As one stone from each country will be included in a sculpture, the name of the country will be engraved on the stone.

When and how will the sculpture be inaugurated?

The sculpture will be inaugurated during a ceremony in Geneva on 24 October 2015, with the participation of representatives of all UN Member States and of civil society. Representatives of youth, the new generation, will also be invited from all UN countries as “ambassadors” of “rebirth” and new beginnings. The inauguration of the ‘Rebirth’ sculpture will be accompanied by a series of art events and performances, as well as talks on the themes of rebirth and infinity.

Can you describe the meaning of your third Paradise symbol?

It stems from a reconfiguration of the mathematical infinity sign. Three circles are drawn: the two opposite circles represent the world of nature and the technological world, developed by humans through a process that has now reached global proportions; the middle circle is the conjunction of the two and represents the generative womb of a new world, the ‘Third Paradise’, the ‘Rebirth’. This new world is the ideal place where the technological world and nature meet in harmony, and it is reached through the eff orts of humans working together to bridge differences, find sustainable development, promote peace and create dialogue.

Permanent sculpture of Michelangelo Pistoletto’s ‘Rebirth-Third Paradise’ (2013) at the Baths of Caracalla in Rome and made from stone archaeological fragments.

Permanent sculpture of Michelangelo Pistoletto’s ‘Rebirth-Third Paradise’ (2013) at the Baths of Caracalla in Rome and made from stone archaeological fragments.

What is going to happen in Cuba in November?

On November 24, 2015, the 1st Rebirth Forum will open in Cuba. The forum will mark the beginning of a permanent workshop of art and politics in Cuba that will be developed in line with the 17 Sustainable Development Goals declared by the UN. With this forum Rebirth is opening a workshop of art and politics in Havana that, starting out from specific local characteristics and needs, will push the different tensions and conflicts toward resolution in a real balance, and one that can be extended to every other part of the planet.

What will the 1st Rebirth Forum comprise?

The forum brings together faculty members of Cuban universities, representatives of national and local public institutions and members of Cittadellarte. The forum is being held under the auspices of the United Nations. The program consists of an initial exposition of the Rebirth project followed by speeches from the participants and will continue with sessions of discussion and exchange of ideas. The United Nations list of Sustainable Development Goals forms the main plank of the subjects that will be tackled and will be considered as the basis for a possible commitment to development in the future through a collaboration between the Rebirth Embassy and the government and citizens of Cuba.

On December 16, 2014, the symbol of Rebirth was outlined on the sea off Cuba. The following day, December 17, the agreement between President Barak Obama of the United States and President Raul Castro of Cuba on a resumption of the relations between the two countries was announced.

On December 16, 2014, the symbol of Rebirth was outlined on the sea off Cuba. The following day, December 17, the agreement between President Barak Obama of the United States and President Raul Castro of Cuba on a resumption of the relations between the two countries was announced.

Do you believe in a strong link between what is happening in Cuba today and the Rebirth movement?

For sixty years Cuba has been at the center of the world’s attention as a focal point and mirror of the social, economic, political and cultural conflict that divided the world into the two camps of the Cold War. Throughout that time the world has been in the grip of opposing forces, and we are well aware that the underlying reasons for that conflict have not yet been resolved. At a moment in which we are seeing a resumption of relations with the United States, Cuba assumes a crucial position in the world on account of the direction that this evolution might take. Today there is an urgent need to develop a new balance to take the place of the previous conflict.

What does the future of the Rebirth movement hold?

The Rebirth Permanent Workshop of Art and Politics in Cuba will maintain a connection and cooperation with university and government institutions and a constant interaction with the University of Ideas at Cittadellarte, promoting collaborations with Cuban and foreign artists on the island. A second meeting of the forum is planned for the fall of 2016 in order to compare notes on the progress of the Workshop and to update the program, in connection with the network of other Rebirth Embassies in the world.

How do you maintain and develop all these interactions with Cittadellarte?

Cittadellarte-Fondazione Pistoletto is a great laboratory, a generator of creative energy that triggers unprecedented processes of development in diverse fields of culture, production, economics and politics. The activities of Cittadellarte pursue a basic objective: to take artistic interventions on a practical level into every sector of civil society in order to make esponsible and fruitful contribution to addressing the profound changes of our age.

Cittadellarte - Fondazione Pistoletto

Cittadellarte – Fondazione Pistoletto

Why did you found Cittadellarte?

I founded Cittadellarte with the aim of placing art at the center of human activities—economics, politics, culture, education— and promoting environmentally friendly and sustainable development through an artistic approach.

Why do you think art and politics should work together?

At this moment of momentous change in society worldwide, an activity in which art and politics work together has become essential in order to develop a prospect of sustainability on a global scale. Art and politics are, in fact, two elements that can be united to produce a third element, one that constitutes a completely new reality for which the whole world is waiting.

14th October, 2015

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