Michelangelo Pistoletto and the Ceramics of the Third Paradise

Roberto Costantino

Michelangelo Pistoletto has organised the collective design of an array of vases, which forms a sort of exhibition within the exhibition, a collection of vases within a collection of vases, as part of the Travelling Exhibition of the 4th Biennial of Ceramics in Contemporary Art.
Michelangelo Pistoletto’s collection of sixty unique vases creates a Nuovo Segno d'Infinito (New Symbol of Infinity) symbolising the Third Paradise - a myth aspiring towards responsible change to society and pointing towards a new utopian state for mankind in which a balance is achieved between the artificial and natural worlds through a communion of differences.
To create this array of vases forming the Nuovo Segno d'Infinito - composed of three rings instead of the conventional two - Michelangelo Pistoletto has organised a collective design process to give shape to his great sculptural work. In actual fact, this design process resulted in the production of sixty vases moulded on rotating lathes, so that they were all different from each other but based on the same physical gestures. Each vase actually embodies the anonymous design of the lathe operators - the kind of design implicit in local craftsmanship - and young computer model-makers
Michelangelo Pistoletto’s vases designed out of platinum ceramics are actually mirrors - mirrors in the shape of a vase or, in other words, reflective vases. The promiscuity of the vases means that each vase is reflected in other vases, so that they lose their own outlines and take on new forms celebrating the migration of identities and proliferation of differences. In a further “interplay of reflections”, this great and reflective sculptural work by Michelangelo Pistoletto evokes other ceramic works from his Third Paradise, particularly his Book of the Third Paradise and Necklace of the Third Paradise, produced over recent years by the Association Attese for the Cittadellarte di Biella and Pier Luigi and Natalina Remotti Foundation in Camogli.
The Book of the Third Paradise, hand-made out of gilded ceramics, has an etching of the Nuovo Segno d’Infinito on the cover, which is actually shaped and formed based on the large ceramics spheres of The Necklace of the Third Paradise. In addition, Michelangelo Pistoletto has organised a collective design workshop for this sort of rosary adorning the facade of the former Dellise Gianelline Convent in Camogli - as he also has for the array of vases on display. This great sculptural work is actually the result of the design work of over 150 students on the degree course in design at the Faculty of Architecture in Genoa, who were asked to work with model-making sculptors, mould-makers, decorators and old-fashioned ironmongers.
From the gilded book to the multi-coloured necklace and latest array of reflective vases, the New Symbol of Infinity runs along and migrates from ceramic work to ceramic work to mark the consistency and continuity of a complex system - the Third Paradise - spread through Love Difference.