Last weekend (28 October, 2017), in the beautiful setting of the Abbey of San Giorgio Maggiore in Venice, an event was held entitled “Loving differences in the spirit of the Third Paradise”.

This was promoted by Galleria Continua and the Education Department of Castello di Rivoli, with the support and collaboration of the CIAL Consortium – which has for several years worked with the Museo Castello di Rivoli and Città dell’Arte Michelangelo Pistoletto to promote collective art projects across Italy that are closely linked to environmental issues.

As part of the “One and One makes Three” exhibition by Michelangelo Pistoletto – a Collateral Event of the 57th Venice Biennale International Art Exhibition curated by Lorenzo Fiaschi – a Third Paradise was created in a collective and participative “Oper-Azione” (artwork-action) involving visitors, churchgoers, passers-by, tourists, children and adults, who all took part in shaping huge, long, shiny and malleable cords of aluminium foil in the forecourt of the magnificent Basilica di San Giorgio Maggiore.

In the spirit of the Third Paradise, therefore, art becomes a transversal, intergenerational, intercultural, sustainable and inclusive language in reflecting together on the great issues of our age. Michelangelo Pistoletto asserts that “differences between people and social groups are the first thing that should be accepted and welcomed in a warm, open and sensitive way if we are finally to make sense of the word Humanity”.

The Abbey of San Giorgio Maggiore constantly welcomes a large variety of different people and social groups, attracted by the historic beauty that it contains. Last Saturday, during an initiative called “Loving differences in the spirit of the Third Paradise”, they were able to make the transition from passers-by to participants, using aluminium to actively take part and leave their own mark.

The realization of this Third Paradise was an act of collective creation and an opportunity for shared contemplation and simultaneous reflection on the themes of rebirth and social responsibility.

The happening took place as part of the Rebirth-day 2017 programme, a series of international events connected with rebirth promoted by Michelangelo Pistoletto and Cittadellarte-Fondazione Pistoletto since 2012. The programme is also supported by a worldwide network of Ambassadors, including the Education Department of the Castello di Rivoli since 2005 (the year of the first collective “Oper-Azione” in the spirit of the Third Paradise) and the CIAL Consortium since its first involvement in Mantua during the 2006 Literary Festival.