Donna che disegna
The Van Abbemuseum Collection consists of over 2800 artworks. We publish texts and images on an ongoing basis, but this record is currently in the process of being documented.
‘Donna che disegna’ by Michelangelo Pistoletto consists of two mirrors of polished plates of stainless steel, each measuring 250 x 125 cm. They are placed vertically next to each other against the wall. A life-size screen print of a photograph of a woman who is drawing is shown on the left plate. One of her feet is resting on a stool. The other foot and the feet of the stool run off the print at the bottom of the mirror. The woman is turned away from us. She seems to be looking into the space suggested by the mirrors.
Pistolleto used mirrors as part of his work from 1962. When he dated a new work, he referred to this first year and to the actual year in which it was created. With regard to his use of mirrors, Pistoletto said: “I took refuge in mirrors because everyone must take the responsibility to get to know himself,” and also: “Of all the ways of depicting a person, photography comes closest to the mirror. The only difference is the fact that the mirror shows an image immediately, while the past is the starting point in a photograph. Thanks to photography, you can show two related but asynchronised realities in single image which appear to confirm each other no matter how independent they are.”
In 'Donna che disegna', fiction (the illustrated woman) and reality (the reflections in the mirror), the present and the past, a static and a changing image, art and life, are combined as fully as possible because Pistoletto depicts the woman life size and because the photograph is cut off at the bottom of the mirror. The woman appears to be a viewer, just as we are. When we stand right in front of the work, it is as though she is looking at our mirror image. Nevertheless, we experience her as an outsider at the same time: we see her image on the mirror, not in it. Furthermore, she is shown in black and white. The processes of change and the integration of art and reality play an important role in Arte Povera. Although Pistoletto’s work can be included in this, it is also related to Pop Art. The figure is based on existing contemporary visual material and the work explores the relationship between the image and reality which is also characteristic of Pop Art.
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