Michelangelo Pistoletto was born in Biella in 1933. He began to exhibit his work in 1955 and in 1960 he had his first solo show at Galleria Galatea in Turin. An inquiry into self-portraiture characterizes his early work. In the two-year period, 1961-1962 made the first Mirror Paintings, which directly include the viewer and real-time in the work, and open up perspective, reversing the Renaissance perspective that had been closed by the twentieth-century avant-gardes. These works quickly brought Pistoletto international acclaim, leading, in the sixties, to one-man shows in important galleries and museums in Europe and the United States. The Mirror Paintings are the foundation of his subsequent artistic output and theoretical thought.
In 1965 and 1966 he produced a set of works entitled Minus Objects, considered fundamental to the birth of Arte Povera, an art movement of which Pistoletto was an animating force and a protagonist. In 1967 he began to work outside traditional exhibition spaces, with the first instances of that “creative collaboration” he developed over the following decades by bringing together artists from different disciplines and diverse sectors of society. During the nineties, with Project Art and with the creation in Biella of Cittadellarte – Fondazione Pistoletto and the University of Ideas, he brought art into active relation with diverse spheres of society with the aim of inspiring and producing responsible social change.
Anna Zegna is President of Fondazione Zegna, which the family sees as a natural development of the social commitment and projects of the Group’s founder, the industrialist and philanthropist Ermenegildo Zegna. The Foundation is active in four areas: conservation and enhancement of environmental resources; promotion of sustainable development in local communities in Italy and abroad; health and wellbeing; culture and education for the young.
She currently coordinates promotion and development activities for Oasi Zegna, which was created in 1993. Oasi Zegna is a 100 km2 freely accessible protected mountain area with numerous tourist facilities designed to safeguard the area’s alpine environment and traditions, another natural development of Ermenegildo Zegna’s “green” philosophy. From the ‘30s onwards, in fact, he funded and implemented a massive environmental upgrading program in the mountains around his Wool Mill in Trivero.
Anna Zegna has been a director of FAI, Fondo Ambiente Italiano since 2013 and of Fondazione San Patrignano Onlus since 2015.
Paolo Naldini is the director of Cittadarte-Fondazione Pistoletto since 2000. He writes texts and often intervenes in conferences on art and society. His vocation for language has recently led him to create the word demopraxia “a tension towards a new and pulsating declination of the concept of democracy along the lines of concrete experimentation, direct involvement and operational commitment, open and continuous.” He founded a web project dedicated to exploring creative collaboration by meeting in groups and writing in different places in the city of Turin.
Andrea Zegna. After taking a high school diploma in Lugano, in 1987 Andrea accomplishes his university degree at the Politecnico di Milano, doing his thesis on landscape in Milan’s Brera district.
In 1989 he starts his own architecture bureau in Milan in collaboration with architect Paola Nava first, and with Patricia Viel after, and from 1999 till 2006 with architect Silvio Caputo.
From the very beginning he makes projects of stores, office spaces and showrooms. Some of the customers are: Agnona, Bally, Ermenegildo Zegna. He also participates in competitions by invitation for the global brand image for brands such as: Ballantyne, Frette and Piaget
However Andrea’s favourite jobs are those where he has to deal with private customers making projects for brand new houses as well as refurbishing of apartments, villas and luxury estates.
He lives between Milan, Paris and Baseland while working as an architect he finds time to follow with great interest and commitment the contemporary art worldwide. This passion led him little by little to build a very personal collection himself
Andrea Zegna curates with Barbara Casavecchia All’Aperto and head of the Fondazione Zegna’s Art Project.
Judith Wielander is an independent curator based in Brussels. Her main curatorial research is focusing on the intersection of Art and Social Engagement. She has been curator at Cittadellarte – Fondazione Pistoletto from 2002 to 2010. Among numerous exhibition projects, she initiated and developed in 2010 with Wael Shawky the film trilogy Cabaret Crusades producing the first film The Horror Show File. She has been a member of the artistic direction of the Turin Biennial Big Social Game2002, curator of Evento II - Urban Art Biennial of Bordeaux 2011, co-curator of the Belgian Pavilion at the 14th International Architecture Exhibition at La Biennale di Venezia 2014 and curator of Le Jardin Essential - Parckdesign 2016, that generated a 2500 square meters community garden of medical herbs in Brussels. Currently, she is developing with the artist Nico Docks a Post-Mater Program for artists at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerpen. Judith Wielander has initiated in 2009 in dialogue with Michelangelo Pistoletto the Visible Project and co-curates it since 2011 with Matteo Lucchetti.
Italian born, Matteo Lucchetti is a curator, art historian, and writer. His main curatorial interests are focused on artistic practices that redefine the role of art and the artist in society. His recent curatorial projects include First Person Plural: Empathy, Intimacy,
Irony, and Anger,BAK, Utrecht, 2018; Marinella Senatore: Piazza Universale. Social Stages, Queens Museum, New York, 2017; De Rerum Rurale, 16th Rome Quadriennale, Rome, 2016; Don’t Embarrass the Bureau, Lunds Konsthall, Lund, 2014; Enacting Populism in its Mediæscape, Kadist Art Foundation, Paris, 2012; and Practicing Memory, Fondazione Pistoletto, Biella, 2010. In the projects he curated, Lucchetti has worked with artists such as Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Rossella Biscotti, Nástio Mosquito, Marinella Senatore, Jonas Staal, SUPERFLEX, Stefanos Tsivopoulos, Pilvi Takala, and Stephen Willats, among others. Since 2010, Lucchetti is chief curator, with Judith Wielander, the Visible project, a research endeavor and the first European biennial award devoted to socially engaged artistic practices in a global context, initiated and supported by Pistoletto Foundation, Biella and Fondazione Zegna, Trivero. He served as Curator of Exhibitions and Public Programs at BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht in 2017–2018.
Lucchetti has worked as a curator in residence at Para Site, Hong Kong; Kadist Art Foundation, Paris; and AIR, Antwerp. During his residency at BAK in 2010, Lucchetti worked in the frame of the Former West project to develop curatorial and discursive possibilities for the new online platform of the research—the digital archive. He has organized and taken part in several seminars, talks, and debates at various institutions, such as the Centre d’Art Contemporain, Geneva; Steirischer Herbst, Graz; and the Centre for Historical Reenactments, Johannesburg. He lectured as a guest professor at HISK, Gent; Piet Zwart Institute, Rotterdam; Sint Lucas Antwerpen, Antwerp; and Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera, Milan, and contributed to magazines such as Mousse Magazine, Manifesta Journal, and Art Agenda.