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.
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.
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.
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.