Jr and the 'wound' on the facade of Palazzo Strozzi
A glimpse but also an opening, dramatic and ironic in JR's style, to reflect on the accessibility of art.
JR, the artist who made places and walls speak, the one who managed to connect people all over the world and give voice to the most fragile and difficult situations, today presents his new monumental public work in Florence, on the façade of Palazzo Strozzi.
Twenty-eight metres high and thirty-three metres wide, JR's monumental installation is a site-specific and time-specific glimpse into the sixteenth-century palazzo, a reflection conceived for Florence linked to a difficult historical moment in many aspects of our daily lives. Not least of which are culture and art, of which our city becomes the emblem.
The work, a vision of an interior that is real and imagined at the same time, is made with a black-and-white photographic collage typical of the artist's style. It is constructed as an anamorphosis, an illusionistic game in which, when observed from a precise point of view, several rooms of Palazzo Strozzi open up before the eyes, just as if inside a wound: the colonnade of the courtyard, an imaginary exhibition hall and a library.
These environments include iconic works representing the Florentine artistic heritage - Botticelli's Venus and Spring and Giambologna's Rape of the Sabine Women - alongside a reference to a real place such as the library of the National Institute for Renaissance Studies, through which JR proposes a direct and evocative reflection on the accessibility not only of Palazzo Strozzi but of all places of culture in the age of the Covid-19.
Palazzo Strozzi thus becomes the spectacular stage for a symbolic but painful wound that unites all cultural institutions in Italy and elsewhere: museums, libraries, cinemas and theatres, forced to restrict or prevent the public from entering their spaces.
JR's works combine photography and street art to create monumental public art interventions in cities all over the world, from the favelas of Rio de Janeiro to the great square of the Louvre Pyramid, from Ellis Island in New York to the Tehachapi maximum security prison in California.
At Palazzo Strozzi, JR carries out a further, unprecedented reflection and measures himself not only with the present but also with the history of art, referring both to eighteenth-century Rovinism and to the tradition of trompe l'œil from the sixteenth century.
"This work awakens many things within us, including very personal things. - the artist tells us about his work - This is the aspect that interests me most: the multitude of interpretations and reflections that it will stimulate in all those who pass by"
"It is a wound, but also an opening, which uses, in addition to anamorphosis, perspective as a language: yet another tribute to the city where perspective was born" continues JR.
La Ferita, a temporary work, ephemeral as the artist himself defines it, will be on view until August and is part of Palazzo Strozzi Future Art, a new programme of the Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi born from the collaboration with Andy Bianchedi in memory of his mother Hillary Merkus Recordati. This platform for contemporary art aims to promote the creativity of Italian and international artists and support new genres.
In parallel with the installation, Palazzo Strozzi is also offering a rich programme of online events aimed at the general public, with special events for families, schools and adults that will enable them to learn more about the work of the French artist and interact with the work even from a distance through spaces for reflection and creative activities.