At dawn on July 12, a 32-year-old homeless man turned the ten-meter high work installed on June 28 into a real torch in the presence of the mayor of Naples and its author Michelangelo Pistoletto (90 years old), a major representative of Arte Povera.
There Venus with rags was one of Michelangelo Pistoletto’s most iconic works. It depicted a statue of the Roman goddess of beauty, love and fertility gazing at a large pile of colorful clothes strewn on the ground. Created in 1967, it had in recent years been exhibited in Rome at the MAXXI in 2011 and in Paris at the Louvre in 2013. It had just been installed in the open air a few meters from the town hall of Naples.
The artist confided “to be filled with bitterness” and feel ” hurt “ following what the aedile of the Parthenopean city described as“act of vandalism that leaves us speechless”. The emotion aroused by his loss was strong. Many passers-by left flowers and notes next to the mound of ashes.
If this destruction caused everyone’s amazement, starting with Michelangelo Pistoletto, the latter reminds us that we could expect it. “It was a work conceived as ‘defenseless’, commented the sculptor. At the base there was this trust in others that each of us feels when he goes out into the street and puts his life in the middle of those of others. If the Neapolitans help me, we can do it again. I wish that this fire be interpreted by us as a chance for a new beginning. »
The mayor of Naples has already announced his intention to rebuild the Venus with rags. The vandal was arrested.