This casually posed figure is based on a life-size photograph of Gian Enzo Sperone, a gallery owner in Pistoletto's native city of Turin, Italy. The artist transposed the image with oil and pencil onto translucent paper that was then affixed to highly polished stainless steel. With his back to us, the man appears suspended between the physical space of the gallery and its reflection. Although the figure is fixed, his situation is contingent on where the work is placed and the viewer’s chance reflection in it. As such, the work "is available for a continuous happening," Pistoletto has remarked. "The viewer and subject are both in the same situation, neither one can impose his will on the other."
MoMA Audio: Collection, 2013
Director, Glenn Lowry: In 1963, Michelangelo Pistoletto began making a series of works in which he transferred life-sized images onto sheets of polished stainless steel using oil paint and crayon. The figure of the man seen here is Italian gallery owner Gian Enzo Sperone.
Curator, Anne Umland: Man with Yellow Pants offers this very open-ended invitation to the viewer, to become part of the picture. All you have to do is stand in front of it, and there you are, reflected in this highly polished surface. And, of course, as you begin to look at yourself and look at the man in the yellow pants, you probably notice that also in the picture is anyone who happens to be with you, and whatever is around you, and behind you in the room. The appearance of this picture is constantly open and subject to change.