In 2003 Pistoletto was awarded the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at the Venice Biennale. At that Biennale he presented Love Difference - Artistic Movement for an Inter-Mediterranean Policy [Love Difference - Movimento artistico per una politica intermediterranea], a project begun in April 2002 and coordinated by Cittadellarte’s Political Office. A large table with a mirror top shaped like the Mediterranean basin, surrounded by chairs from each of the different countries that border on the sea, was Pistoletto’s symbol of Love Difference. Around this table, in Venice and later on in other places around the world, he presented and developed many of the activities of Love Difference.
In the exhibition “Pistoletto & Cittadellarte, The Table of Cultures”, staged in Mantua in 2005, he showed six large panels, called Mediterranean Seas, each reproducing the shape of a particular sea (the Baltic Sea, Black Sea, Caribbean Sea/Gulf of Mexico, South China Sea, Red Sea and Mediterranean Sea) that joins different cultures, becoming a mediator between lands, languages, political visions and religions.
In 2010, on the occasion of the Gwangju Biennale in South Korea, he created another table, called Mirror Sea, representing the one onto which face several nations (South Korea, North Korea, China, Russia and Japan) and that is the subject of bitter disputes. In 2018, on the occasion of the first “Rebirth Forum” held at Ubud on Bali and entitled “Sustainability through Differences”, another table was created, called The Great Archipelago and dedicated to the sea of Indonesia.
“Love Difference is a name, a slogan, a programmatic announcement. The movement unites the universality of art with the idea of political transnationality and focuses its activity in the Mediterranean area because it mirrors the problems of global society. On one hand the difference between ethnic groups, religions and cultures is the cause of terrible conflicts today; on the other a dramatic situation has been created by the supremacy of powers that produce uniformity and the leveling of defenses [...]. Uniformity and difference are the two antagonistic terms that represent the greatest cause of conflict in the present situation of the planet. A policy that leads people to ‘love differences’ is vital to the development of new prospects in the entire social realm.”
(M. Pistoletto, Love Difference Manifesto, 2002, in Journal, no. 7 [Cittadellarte, Biella 2002], 47)