French artist JR unveils a monumental installation at Palazzo Strozzi in Florence
A new installation by acclaimed French street artist JR on the façade of Florence’s Palazzo Strozzi has sparked a conversation about art accessibility during the time of Covid. With the whole country going in and out of lockdowns throughout the last year, Italy’s cultural institutions, normally the center of throngs of local and foreign visitors, have been forced to repeatedly shut their doors. But people are hungry for art and “La Ferita” or “The Wound” offers an imaginary look behind the walls and closed doors of this famed Florentine palazzo.
La Ferita is a 28 by 33 meter installation printed on metal, held just 30 cm from the surface of Palazzo Strozzi. When viewed from the correct angle, it works as an anamorphosis, a reality bending trompe l’oeil of a partly real, partly imagined interior as seen through a gash in the buildings solid stone façade. Part of the imagery is based on photographs of the interior like the Library of the National Institute of Renaissance studies, but others are an imagined museum space, a glimpse into the exhibitions that might have been.
Without being able to enter a museum, to attend a concert or spend time at an exhibition, we realise that it is culture that gives life its colour and that the beauty of our city is activated by the people that pass through it, soak up the history and culture of Florence, and leave enriched by it.JR
La Ferita is the latest in a series of JR’s monumental works around the world. In previous years he’s used vast public spaces as his canvas, transforming locations such as the Louvre, Ellis Island and the favelas of Rio de Janeiro (among others) with murals and installations that challenge the viewers concept of reality.
The Palazzo Strozzi foundation, like many locations in Florence, has pivoted this year to create online educational resources for those who cannot visit these spaces in person. JR’s installation adds to the conversation of how to bring art outside of the museum walls in the time of Covid and beyond to a wider virtual public untethered by place.
The installation will remain in place from 19 March – 22 August.
TILL 22 August
Piazza degli Strozzi