Florence, kicks off Olafur Eliasson's major exhibition at Palazzo Strozzi. Images

From Sept. 22 to Jan. 22, 2023, "In Your Time," the largest Olafur Eliasson exhibition ever organized in Italy, kicks off in Florence. Here are the preview images.

In Florence , the exhibition Nel tuo tempo (In Your Time), the largest Olafur Eliasson exhibition ever held in Italy, kicks off in the halls of Palazzo Strozzi. With his works made of light and shadows, reflections and colors, the artist has brought his works, both historical ones and new works created for the occasion, to the Renaissance building and its courtyard: for the public the appointment is from September 22 to January 22, 2023. Curated by Arturo Galansino, General Director of the Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi, the exhibition is the result of the artist’s direct work on the spaces of Palazzo Strozzi with historical installations and new productions, which aim to subvert the perception of Renaissance spaces, employing the building itself as a tool to create art. Eliasson intends to present a plurality of possible narratives with the goal of a new public awareness of space and to question the distinction between reality, perception and representation.

“Palazzo Strozzi,” says Arturo Galansino, "returns to the contemporary with Olafur Eliasson: In Your Time, the first major exhibition ever held in Italy on one of the most original and visionary contemporary artists, thus continuing our series of exhibitions dedicated to the major protagonists of the art of the present. In 2015 Olafur visited the spaces of Palazzo Strozzi for the first time and was struck by the Renaissance architecture, thus beginning a long conversation between him and the 15th-century palazzo, a complex dialogue whose meaning is summed up in today’s exhibition."

“In Your Time is an encounter between works of art, visitors and Palazzo Strozzi,” says Olafur Eliasson, “This extraordinary Renaissance building has traveled through the centuries to welcome us here, now, in the 21st century, not as a mere container but as a co-producer of the exhibition. It is not only Palazzo Strozzi that has traveled through time. As a visitor, each of us has experienced, with an ever-changing relationship between body and mind in an individual way. Each with our own experiences and stories we meet in the here and now of this exhibition.”

The exhibition itinerary

The exhibition begins with Under the weather (2022), a site-specific work for the public space of Palazzo Strozzi’s courtyard, consisting of a large 11-meter elliptical structure suspended 8 meters above the ground, which creates in the eyes of visitors an effect made of visual interference, similar to the flickering of a screen. In fact, the installation proposes what is known as the moiré effect, which, in this case, is employed to destabilize the rigid orthogonal architecture of Palazzo Strozzi, questioning the perception of a stable and unchanging historical structure. As visitors move through the courtyard the installation is continually transformed in their eyes, interacting with each one individually to make each visitor activate the work itself.

From the courtyard, the path continues inside the building, and particularly to the main floor, where Eliasson’s direct dialogue with the architecture is revealed through the use of artificial light, fleeting shadows, reflections, moiré effect and intense colors. In the first three rooms Eliasson confronts the palace’s windows by playing between reality and representation, presence and absence, in an alternation of lights, colors and shadows. By proposing solutions that appear similar to theater sets or film sets, the artist invites a new perception of the architecture. The lights make the irregularities of the material visible: bubbles, scratches, dust highlight its materiality to allow visitors to become aware of glass as a membrane separating the inside from the outside.

Two works in the exhibition itinerary recall the circle and ellipse theme introduced in the courtyard. How do we live together (2019) consists of a large metal arch that diagonally invades the space of a room in which the ceiling is covered with a mirrored surface. Through an illusion effect, used in works such as The weather project (2003) at the Tate Modern, the arch, through a mirror, doubles up to become a circle, a kind of ring that unites real and unreal space. The installation Solar compression (2016), on the other hand, consists of a suspended circular disk, mirrored on both sides, in constant motion, emanating from within it a yellow light that floods the room. That same light underlies the installation Room for one color (1997) where in a totally empty space the viewers’ perception is altered by immersion in light from single-frequency lamps that transforms all colors into shades of gray, yellow and black, yet accentuating the viewers’ perception of details. Along the way, we also encounter an iconic work from Eliasson’s career as Beauty (1993). The installation confronts a rainbow in which beams of white light are broken down into the colors of the visible spectrum through a curtain of fog. This apparition is created by the light projected, refracted and reflected by the water droplets in which the audience is asked to immerse themselves. In fact, depending on the angle, each person has a subjective and personal view: no two spectators see the same rainbow.

Emblematic of Eliasson’s work and evidence of his research on vision as an action of fragmentation and complexity of thought is instead Firefly double-polyhedron sphere experiment (2020), a large polyhedron of green, orange, yellow, cyan and pink colored glass that stems from the artist’s interest in the themes of geometry and light. In the same room the work dialogues with Colour spectrum kaleidoscope (2003) large hexagonal kaleidoscope made of dichromatic mirrors of various colors. As Eliasson states, “Kaleidoscopes play on the fact that what we see can be easily disorganized or reconfigured. They use a playful approach to show us different ways of looking at the world; in this sense we could say that a kaleidoscope represents a different perspective.”

The exhibition continues in the spaces of the Strozzina through works that continue Eliasson’s reflection on perception and the use of the moiré effect. Fivefold dodecahedron lamp (2006) consists of a dodecahedron containing a highly reflective glass tetrahedron, while Eye see you (2006) creates slight moiré effects based on each visitor’s position and movement. In addition, in the series City plan (2018) seven urban plants are traced back to geometric shapes on mirrors reflecting seven different local newspapers replaced daily, to re-present considerations of time, the exhibition’s underlying theme. Presented to the public for the first time is Your view matter (2022), a new work by the artist that uses VR (Virtual Reality) technology to experience human perception in digital space. Wearing a visor, the audience enters a digital world to explore, consisting of six different virtual spaces. Five of these spaces take the form of one of the Platonic solids (the tetrahedron, octahedron, icosahedron, dodecahedron and cube), the sixth takes us inside an immense sphere. Immersed in a parallel reality accompanied by an artist-created soundtrack, visitors can move through these virtual spaces, interacting with their complex geometries in a profound experiential interaction, where the walls and ceilings, sometimes in color others in black and white, glow with an ever-changing moiré effect. In the tetrahedron, the first space visitors encounter, the moiré manifests itself as a result of the resolution limits of the VR viewer, reacting to the noise of the viewer itself and drawing attention to the device. Since none of the moiré patterns are visible unless the viewer moves, the operation of the work relies on the interaction and active involvement of the audience, thus experiencing an encounter between the digital space and the visitor’s body. As Eliasson states, “the experience of this work is based on unlearning and relearning how to use the sense of sight, involving not only the eyes but also the whole body and our mind.”

The exhibition, conceived by Studio Olafur Eliasson, is promoted and organized by Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi. Main Supporter: Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi. Supporters: City of Florence, Tuscany Region, Florence Chamber of Commerce, Intesa Sanpaolo, Palazzo Strozzi Partners Committee. The installation for the courtyard Under the Weather (2022) is made possible through the support of the Hillary Merkus Recordati Foundation as part of the Palazzo Strozzi Future Art project. Thanks to Maria Manetti Shrem and Città Metropolitana di Firenze for their support. The exhibition is being held in conjunction with the unveiling of a new site-specific installation by the artist for the Castello di Rivoli Museo d’Arte contemporanea, which will be open to the public from November 3, 2022. The exhibition Olafur Eliasson: In Your Time is part of Florence Art Week, an initiative promoted by the City of Florence, scheduled for September 16-24, 2022.

For information visit www.palazzostrozzi.org.

Below are images of some of the works in the exhibition.

Olafur Eliasson, Under the Weather
Olafur Eliasson, Under the weather. Photo Ela Bialkowska - OKNO Studio
Olafur Eliasson, Triple seeing survey
Olafur Eliasson, Triple seeing survey. Photo Ela Bialkowska - OKNO Studio
Olafur Eliasson, Just Before Now
Olafur Eliasson, Just before now. Photo Ela Bialkowska - OKNO Studio
Olafur Eliasson, How do we live together?
Olafur Eliasson, How do we live together?. Photo Ela Bialkowska - OKNO Studio
Olafur Eliasson, Solar compression
Olafur Eliasson, Solar compression. Photo Ela Bialkowska - OKNO Studio
Olafur Eliasson, Red window semicircle
Olafur Eliasson, Red window semicircle. Photo Ela Bialkowska - OKNO Studio
Olafur Eliasson, Triple window
Olafur Eliasson, Triple window. Photo Ela Bialkowska - OKNO Studio
Olafur Eliasson, Beauty
Olafur Eliasson, Beauty. Photo Ela Bialkowska - OKNO Studio
Olafur Eliasson, Firefly double-polyhedron sphere experiment.
Olafur Eliasson, Firefly double-polyhedron sphere experiment. Photo Ela Bialkowska - OKNO Studio
Olafur Eliasson, Colour spectrum kaleidoscope
Olafur Eliasson, Colour spectrum kaleidoscope. Photo Ela Bialkowska - OKNO Studio
Olafur Eliasson, Room for one colur
Olafur Eliasson, Room for one colur. Photo Ela Bialkowska - OKNO Studio
Olafur Eliasson, City Plan
Olafur Eliasson, City Plan. Photo Ela Bialkowska - OKNO Studio
Olafur Eliasson, Eye see you
Olafur Eliasson, Eye see you. Photo Ela Bialkowska - OKNO Studio

Florence, kicks off Olafur Eliasson's major exhibition at Palazzo Strozzi. Images
Florence, kicks off Olafur Eliasson's major exhibition at Palazzo Strozzi. Images

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