Place for multiconfessional devotion and prayer
Founded in 1925, The Paoli-Calmettes Institute is center for the fight against cancer. The hospital decided to reconstruct its chapel. A space where a symbolic organization would invite meditation and allow for the practice of all religions.
The creation of a multiconfessional place for everyone.The Paoli-Calmettes Institute wished to rethink its Catholic chapel after the renovation of the hospital. It was the perfect opportunity for the chaplain, with the aid of others, to imagine a new multiconfessional place of meditation for patients and their families. The site (80m2) would offer a space of silence, rest and reading, allow for the celebration of the three major monotheistic religions, Buddhism and to the agnostics.The artist Michelangelo Pistoletto conceived an enveloping space, a space structured around a cube with mirors on its internal sides (a Square meter cube of infinite) carryingout the function of alter in the center of the room.
The place is structured as five spaces all open to one another; metal grilles act as partitions. Bounded in this way, these units for contemplation start from the centre of the chapel where the artist has placed a version of one of his works coming under the concept of Objets en moins (Objects in less) (1965-1966), the Mètre cube d'infini (Cubic metre of infinity) – six mirrors are placed face to face inside the volume. There are five spaces, or four spaces dedicated to the great monotheistic faiths (Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam), and a space of knowledge, for respect of secularism. This work-environment allows all religions to enter into dialogue with one another. For Pistoletto, today it is no longer so much a matter of stating the importance of religion in the contemporary world, as of taking account of its history, and asking ourselves more questions about religions' concept of mythology.
Born in 1933 in Biella (Piedmont region), Michelangelo Pistoletto is one of the most important representatives of the Arte Povera movement. His work has been exhibited at the Venice Biennal, the Documenta of Kassel (Germany), the São Paulo Biennial, the Museum of Modern Art (San Francisco), the Palazzo Grassi (Venice), PS1 (New York) and the National Museum of Contemporary Art (Seoul). His conviction about art's social responsibility, led him to create the Cittadellarte, Pistoletto Foundation, in Biella (Italy), in 1998.