In the middle of the church is a circular installation of around a dozen suspended mirrors. On the back of them, the phrase 'Love Difference' is written, each time in a different language. Step inside the installation, and all the mirrors look identical – an allegory of how all human beings are essentially the same inside despite their ethnic, cultural and religious differences. It is a powerful piece that resonates strongly with spirituality.

The exhibition continues in the adjoining spaces such as the sacristy, the main choir and the chapter room. Indeed, Pistoletto, one of the protagonists of the Arte Povera movement in Turin in the late 1960s, has invested all the spaces. The exhibition, curated by Lorenzo Fiaschi – one of the three founding directors of Galleria Continua in San Gimignano in Tuscany, Beijing, Les Moulins near Paris and Havana, brings together a variety of Pistoletto's work from the 1960s to today.

Suspended Perimeter - Love Difference, 1975-2011, iron, mirror, Ø 10 m, Courtesy: the artist and GALLERIA CONTINUA, San Gimignano / Beijing / Les Moulins / Habana. Photo by: Oak Taylor-Smith
Pistoletto visited Havana two years ago and has silkscreened the photographs of people that he encountered onto stainless steel mirrors, literally making a mirror of its society. The Italian artist has spoken optimistically of his belief in Cuba as a place where a new idea of politics could be developed, seeing it as a “fertile land for experimentation, innovation and change”.

Elsewhere is a series of framed, smashed mirrors combined with monochromatic, abstract painting in red, orange or pink; the quantity of the glass versus that of the colour differs from one piece to the next. The origins of this work can be traced back to 1962, when Pistoletto produced his 'Quadri Specchianti' (Mirror Paintings).

The time of Judgement, 2017, mirror, carpet, Buddha sculpture, kneeling-stool. Site specific dimensions. Courtesy: the artist and GALLERIA CONTINUA, San Gimignano / Beijing / Les Moulins / Habana. Photo by: Oak Taylor-Smith.
The early influences of Pistoletto's work are detectable in the five self-portraits from 1969, in which a young, bearded Pistoletto assumes various contorted expressions (loosely inspired by Francis Bacon) for the camera. This notion of similitude versus difference would continue to define his oeuvre. Meanwhile, his labyrinth, a defining Arte Povera piece, is expressive of Pistoletto's vision of a winding path leading to revelation.

The newest work on display, 'Il Tempo del Giudizio' (The Time of Judgment), speaks about religious tolerance. Buddhism, Islam, Christianity and Judaism are all juxtaposed: there's a statue of Buddha, a prayer mat facing Mecca, a prayer kneeler and four mirrors representing Judaism's Tables of the Law. Marrying art and religion isn't easy but Pistoletto pulls this off with aplomb.

View of the exhibition, MICHELANGELO PISTOLETTO, One and One makes Three, Collateral Event of the 57th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia, Abbazia di San Giorgio Maggiore and Officina dell’Arte Spirituale, Isola di San Giorgio Maggiore, Venezia, 2017. Courtesy: the artist and GALLERIA CONTINUA, San Gimignano / Beijing / Les Moulins / Habana. Photo by: Oak Taylor-Smith
View of the exhibition, MICHELANGELO PISTOLETTO, One and One makes Three, Collateral Event of the 57th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia, Abbazia di San Giorgio Maggiore and Officina dell’Arte Spirituale, Isola di San Giorgio Maggiore, Venezia, 2017. Courtesy: Cittadellarte – Fondazione Pistoletto and GALLERIA CONTINUA, San Gimignano / Beijing / Les Moulins / Habana. Photo by: Oak Taylor-Smith
View of the exhibition, MICHELANGELO PISTOLETTO, One and One makes Three, Collateral Event of the 57th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia, Abbazia di San Giorgio Maggiore and Officina dell’Arte Spirituale, Isola di San Giorgio Maggiore, Venezia, 2017. Courtesy: Cittadellarte – Fondazione Pistoletto and GALLERIA CONTINUA, San Gimignano / Beijing / Les Moulins / Habana. Photo by: Oak Taylor-Smith
The Masks – The Baroque 1969, photograph, 5 elements: 55,5×46 cm each. Courtesy: Cittadellarte – Fondazione Pistoletto and GALLERIA CONTINUA, San Gimignano / Beijing / Les Moulins / Habana. Photo by: Oak Taylor-Smith
La Habana – People Waiting, 2015, silkscreen on super mirror stainless steel 250×500 cm. Courtesy: the artist and GALLERIA CONTINUA, San Gimignano / Beijing / Les Moulins / Habana. Photo by: Oak Taylor-Smith
View of the exhibition, MICHELANGELO PISTOLETTO, One and One makes Three, Collateral Event of the 57th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia, Abbazia di San Giorgio Maggiore and Officina dell’Arte Spirituale, Isola di San Giorgio Maggiore, Venezia, 2017. Courtesy: the artist and GALLERIA CONTINUA, San Gimignano / Beijing / Les Moulins / Habana. Photo by: Oak Taylor-Smith