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French artist unveils new optical illusion installation in Italy

March 23, 2021 07:56 IST
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French-born artist JR has unveiled one of his most dramatic works yet on the façade of the Palazzo Strozzi in Florence, creating an illusory 28-metre-tall crack in the building that appears to split the gallery in half.  

IMAGE: An art installation on the facade of Strozzi Palace by French contemporary artist JR titled 'La Ferita (The Wound)' shows an optical illusion of a black and white interior of the elegant Renaissance palace. Photograph: Jennifer Lorenzini/Reuters

The spectacle, titled "La Ferita," or "The Wound," scales the Palazzo's Renaissance façade and simulates a giant gaping hole in the front of the building. Inside the architectural tear is an imagined vision of the Palazzo's interior, made real by a black and white photographic collage. 

 

The work is the latest high-profile large-scale public installation by JR. 

The illusory gash across Palazzo Strozzi symbolises the wound all cultural sites have sustained due to ongoing pandemic restrictions.

IMAGE: French contemporary artist JR poses in front of his art installation on the facade of Strozzi Palace titled 'La Ferita (The Wound)'. Photograph: Jennifer Lorenzini/Reuters

The art industry has been devastated by the ongoing shutdown of museums, galleries, libraries, theatres and cinemas -- with even the most revered institutions struggling to get back on their feet.  

"("La Ferita") makes visible the deep impact of Covid-19 on culture," JR was quoted as saying to CNN

IMAGE: The installation references the painted depiction of 16th century illusions, which allowed artists to portray a non-existent depth into the thickness of brick by applying their perspective studies to sheer walling. Photograph: Jennifer Lorenzini/Reuters

Other notable works by the artist include The Secret of the Great Pyramid (2019), a large-scale illusory collaborative piece created to mark the 30th anniversary of the Louvre Pyramid, and Tehachapi (2019) which documents the artist’s experiences with inmates of a maximum-security prison in California.  

The installation also launches the Palazzo Strozzi's new Future Art Programme, which hopes to support the creation and promotion of contemporary art in Italy with an annual public art commission to be revealed in Florence every spring.

IMAGE: The illusory gash across Palazzo Strozzi symbolizes the wound all cultural sites have sustained due to ongoing pandemic restrictions. Photograph: Jennifer Lorenzini/Reuters
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