The Italian artist, #MichelangeloPistoletto, began his career by painting #self-portraits,
which he already presented in 1955, during his first exhibition in Turin. He spent several years on these initial forays, which led him to paint several series of self-portraits. While
the first few years are marked by an interest in the painted figure, Pistoletto began to question how he should depict the #background of his canvases. In 1960, this led him to
paint a series of self-portraits set against gold, silver and copper monochrome backgrounds.
The painting presented here marks the #turningpoint in the artist production in 1961. During his search for a more impersonal style of art where he sought to create a more neutral figure and background, he decided to varnish a black background until it became #reflective. He realised that this shiny surface reflected his image and that he could thus paint himself directly on the canvas, without using a mirror. The discovery of this new
technique led him to create a series that he entitled Il Presente because, as he explained in 1966: "The man painted there stood out as though he was living in the environments living space, but the true protagonist was the #relationship of #instantaneousness that was
created between the viewer, the reflection and the figure portrayed, in a movement that was always present, concentrating the past and the future within him, until their very existence became uncertain: it was the dimension of time"1.
Michelangelo Pistoletto embraced this new instantaneousness that he discovered in his work. This #reflective pictorial surface reveals a dimension that lies between reality and
the image, owing to the fact that it inevitably and instantaneously reflects
the viewer's image. Therefore, this is a true #interaction between the painted figure, the background, the actual space and the viewer. Through this painting, the artist creates a
space for exchange and allows the viewer to take part in the work of art. It is the viewer who fleetingly brings the canvas to life; in contrast with the painted man who stands fixedly in the foreground. He manages to bring his art to life by incorporating wh