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Michelangelo Pistoletto launches a message of peace with symbolic sculpture in Kharkiv


In support of the mayor of Kharkiv’s desire to rebuild his city and send a signal recovery to his citizens and the world, renowned artist Michelangelo Pistoletto will offer Kharkiv a “rebirth” sculpture.

The artist, through his foundation, had already realized an imponent artwork representing the essence of the concept of Rebirth with a permanent installation at the United Nations Office in Geneva in 2015, on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the United Nations. Here, the artist forged an art piece consisting of three consecutive circles, two smaller circles on the sides, and a larger one in the centre, made of 193 stones, each representing a UN member State.  Each stone - connected to another by the common idea of harmonious coexistence among countries - is positioned to form the symbol of the “rebirth of multilateralism”.  The two different side circles represent opposite and contradictory elements and in the middle circle they come together to create balance, harmony and peace.

“This artwork is an inspiration to a world where the two sides, no matter which ones, are always able to meet and dialogue in a third 'circle' and generate a rebirth. This symbol was not born as a merely aesthetic artwork, but to produce concrete activities of inclusion, reconciliation and sustainability in all sectors of society” says the artist.

The same symbol makes the artwork that will be donated to the City of Kharkiv.  “Kharkiv’s sculpture is a social statement, one that highlights the rebirth of the entire humanity”, says the artist. “It is not a monument to be made after a war: this artwork was born to prevent war, not just follow it. It is time we shift our cultural paradigms and even business models and understand that peace and sustainability are the only viable options”. As agreed with Kharkiv Mayor Terekhov, the sculpture will be designed now and built as soon as possible in order to make the city of Kharkiv a model of everlasting peace.

Mayor Terekhov is grateful to Mr. Pistoletto for his “desire to join and participate in the project of rebirth for Kharkiv.” Before the war the city was a culture hub, a place where great intellectual minds could freely work and exchange ideas. “We want to preserve and advance that essence.  The war is creating an opportunity to look many years ahead allowing for us to envision Kharkiv as a magnet for residents and future visitors”, he said.

Over the past months, Mayor Terekhov has already been working on a new masterplan for the city with architect Norman Foster, with his foundation. The mayor is very pleased with the work already undertaken with the Norman Foster Foundation, and has made its personal mission to start imagining a city that will be reborn on the ashes of conflict. The Norman Foster Foundation also welcomes this cooperation. Lord Foster has opened the door to a new diplomacy, where architects and artists work with the citizens and civil leaders have a say in planning for the city of the future. Opening the last Forum of Mayors at the UN in Geneva Lord Foster reminded that “historically cities always bounce back stronger from crisis. They will continue to be the drivers of opportunity, innovation and liberation.”

UNECE is coordinating a UN4Kharkiv Task Force which brings together 14 UN agencies and international organizations, and which works on the development of approaches for the integrated rehabilitation of cities. The Task Force pilots the approaches for the rehabilitation in the city of Kharkiv, the second largest city in Ukraine. It supports the Norman Foster Foundation and Ukrainian local architects who work together with the community to develop the new reconstruction master plan for Kharkiv. 

Countries: Ukraine

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