In Florence, a major retrospective of the American artist’s work
Palazzo Strozzi presents a new event in its fine art calendar: from October 2021 to 30 January 2022, Jeff Koons comes to Florence with a major exhibition that narrates his career of more than four decades through world-famous works such as Rabbit – his acclaimed stainless steel sculpture; the version on display at Palazzo Strozzi is one of three in existence, and the most expensive piece by a living artist, sold at auction in 2019 for 91.1 million euros – and other iconic inflatables like Balloon Dog (Red), exhibited on the first floor of the Renaissance palace, as well as his renowned sculptures in perfectly shiny metal that replicate luxury objects, like Baccarat Crystal Set. The exhibit also features reinterpretations of pop culture figures like Hulk (Tubas), and the reinvention of the concept of ready-made using common objects in One Ball Total Equilibrium Tank (Spalding Dr. JK 241 Series).
A classic key to Koons’ approach to art is the concept of shine, seen as a play on the ambiguity between brilliance and dazzle, existence and appearance. The artist’s works place the viewer before a mirror which reflects them, and position them at the centre of the surrounding environment. As Koons himself states: “The job of the artist is to make a gesture and really show people what their potential is. It’s not about the object, and it’s not about the image; it’s about the viewer. That’s where the art happens”.
Joachim Pissarro, curator of the exhibition alongside Palazzo Strozzi director Arturo Galansino, explains: “There’s something immediately engaging in the work of Jeff Koons, something that speaks to the depths of our hearts. However, his work is far from facile. Its impact is direct and powerful, but the levels of meaning, complexity and richness in his work are limitless. The opportunity today to see his work in Florence is extremely important: it resonates profoundly with the Renaissance tradition and brings us intense joy and aesthetic satisfaction. Such is the mystery of Jeff Koons”.
Jeff Koons. Shine
Palazzo Strozzi – Firenze
Dal 2 ottobre 2021 al 30 gennaio 2022
(ph. Ela Bialkowska – OKNO studio)