Michelangelo Pistoletto’s large scale work “Venus of the Rags” has reached Ventimiglia, where it will stay until 20th June as part of a long tour started from Lampedusa in 2016 aiming at involving and creating awareness in areas affected by immigration, in a movement flux reminiscent of a migration. Curator of this journey is the Rebirth / Third Paradise ambassador Manuel Canelles, who has also organized a series of events in the province of Bolzano.
Pistoletto’s work, over three meter high, will be placed in the churchyard of Saint Eustorgio, not a random choice of location, having it welcomed and helped immigrants throughout the years. The installation will be accompanied by an exhibition of photographs and videos documenting the 440 days the centre has been open, seeing 13.000 people from over 50 different countries walking through its doors, thanks to the commitment of Don Rito Alvarez and his volunteers.
(Don Rito Alvarez)
The typical rags the Venus enhances with her presence are donation from Caritas, and will be given to migrants in need at the end of the period of the installation. This way, the rag becomes a symbol of mankind: each item of clothing has had an owner and its own story, and will be able to carry on having one, thanks to their artistic rebirth and subsequent reuse. Placing side by side the aesthetics of beauty and recycling, the artist compares two traditionally distant worlds which can find a mutual connection and enrichment. The migrating journey of the Venus, together with the thought hidden among the rags, make this work trigger a reflection on important but today extremely troublesome social issues.
Ventimiglia is a place Pistoletto’s art has already come across: he had taken there the symbol of the Third Paradise made of rocks, on the line of the Italian–French border of Ponte San Ludovico. As clear from Don Rito Alvarez’s speech, the meeting of the artist with the Ligurian city had created a common interest in organizing a new encounter able to take over the responsibility of social values, offering itself as an input for a deeper reasoning. The discarded clothes become valuable objects for the migrants, and, like the Venus, they will always be travelling through many people’s lives.
The event was promoted by Ventimiglia-Sanremo’s diocesan Caritas and Ventimiglia CONfine Solidale, with the collaboration of Cittadellarte – Fondazione Pistoletto, the Educational Department Castello di Rivoli Museum of Contemporary Art, the association Pigna Mon Amour in Sanremo and spazio5 in Bolzano.
Opening times for visits: Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 10.00 to 20.00.
Photo credit: Dipartimento Educazione Castello di Rivoli