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Pistoletto was interested in broadening the material language of Arte Povera, and in creating complex juxtapositions of modern and historical images and ideas. Venus of the Rags appears to bring together an iconic figure of classical culture with the detritus of contemporary society as the solid Roman goddess props up a randomly formed pile of gaudily coloured second-hand clothes. In fact the figure is based on a kitsch statue found in a garden centre rather than a genuine antiquity.

April 2009