The Cittadellarte–Fondazione Pistoletto, a museum and research laboratory founded by Arte Povera artist Michelangelo Pistoletto, has suffered extensive damage following a weekend of torrential rain in the Italian city of Biellese.
According to a statement from the artist and Paolo Naldini, director of the center, the performance space and entire exhibition hall was flooded by the nearby Cervo river. The center occupies the former Trombetta wool mill, a 19th-century factory which has become a historical landmark of the region. Though the structure itself is intact, the facility will remain closed until further notice as a precaution.
“In this calamity we feel the city close by, from the Mayor to the deputy councilor who experienced a few dramatic hours with us, to the commendable volunteers of the Civil Protection and to the many friends of associations and companies who are contacting us in these hours,” Pistoletto and Naldini wrote.
Cittadellarte was established in the late ’90s as an extension of Pistoletto’s Manifesto Progetto Arte, which proposed that artists had a social responsibility to activate positive change on a local and global level. The center offers workshops, screenings, and educational residencies, in addition to temporary exhibition space.
Permanent exhibitions often focus on the lasting influence of Arte Povera, a 1960s movement whose purveyors focused on the relationship between nature and industry in postwar Italy. The group rejected the commercialization of art, in particular the abstract painting popular in Western European institutions at the time, instead relying on commonplace materials like rags, paper, and rope. Sculptures and installations by core members of the movement, including Giuseppe Penone, Gianni Piacentino, Luciano Fabro, and Pistoletto, are typically featured at Cittadellarte alongside contemporary works exploring the movement’s legacy.
Best known for his sculptures making use of mirrors, Pistoletto also made headlines earlier this year after surviving the coronavirus at age 86. “I faced the reality of emptiness,” he wrote at the time.