Reaching for the Stars, the new exhibition at Palazzo Strozzi
From March 4 to June 18, the stars of contemporary art in Florence. From Maurizio Cattelan to Lynette Yiadom-Boakye
Maurizio Cattelan, Cindy Sherman, Damien Hirst, Lara Favaretto, William Kentridge, Berlinde De Bruyckere, Sarah Lucas, Lynette Yiadom-Boakye… until 18 June 2023 there’s a veritable galaxy of artworks at Palazzo Strozzi, from the Piano Nobile to the Strozzina, including a very special new installation in the palace’s Renaissance courtyard.
Promoted and organised by Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi and Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Reaching for the Stars explores the major art trends of recent decades and marks the 30th anniversary of the Sandretto Re Rebaudengo Collection, one of Italy’s most famous and prestigious art collections.
The Palazzo Strozzi exhibition arises from the desire to create a platform for experimentation and participation which brings together works from the collection, new art created for the show, and an extensive programme of initiatives with the artists, including talks and workshops, and numerous activities involving the public. As the Foundation’s director Arturo Galansino tells us: “Hosting a collection like this in Florence means celebrating the value of art patronage and commissioning, in the city where art collecting was born”.
The exhibition explores a variety of themes that marked the end of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st: experimentation with artistic languages, figurative and abstract art, identity and the body from a social and political perspective, the role and image of woman in today’s society, reflections on shared and individual contemporary history through references such as 9/11 and the battle for civil rights.
At Palazzo Strozzi, fundamental works such as Anish Kapoor's 1000 Names (1983) or Damien Hirst’sLove Is Great (1994) are displayed alongside a broad selection of pieces by Maurizio Cattelan, the central artist in an exploration of Italian art of the 90s and 2000s, along with Paola Pivi and Lara Favaretto, among others. Running in parallel to these are themed sections, like the one dominated by Cindy Sherman’s famous series Untitled Film Stills (1978-1980), which offers a social and political reflection on identity in dialogue with works by Shirin Neshat, Barbara Kruger’s large-scale print Untitled (Not Ugly Enough) (1997) or the huge organic sculpture Self-Portrait (1993) by Pawel Althamer. Sculpture continues with large works by Andra Ursuţa, Adrián Villar Rojas, Berlinde De Bruyckere and Mark Manders, whose practice explores the body and its deconstruction and recomposition. Research in painting form is showcased in works by artists including Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, Sanya Kantarovsky, Michael Armitage, Cecily Brown and Avery Singer. The exhibition is completed by a large section of Video Art, with key works by William Kentridge, presenting History of the Main Complaint (1996), Douglas Gordon and Philippe Parreno, with his acclaimed video installation Zidane. A 21st Century Portrait (2005) and Ragnar Kjartansson with The End – Rocky Mountains (2009).
“This exhibition which begins in the magnificent open courtyard, reflects the value of sharing that has always been inherent in my collection and is fully in tune with the approach of Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi, led with great professionalism by Arturo Galansino, to encourage participation in and accessibility of culture”, concludes Patrizia Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, President of Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo.