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Ai Weiwei 'Libero' Retrospective Opens In Florence
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Ai Weiwei 'Libero' Retrospective Opens In Florence

Picture of Livia Hengel
Updated: 19 September 2016
On September 23, 2016, the Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi in Florence will unveil a major retrospective of the influential contemporary artist Ai Weiwei in its Renaissance palace. The dissident Chinese artist is celebrated for his daring and thought-provoking works across mediums and is well-known for his political activism, openly criticizing his own country’s stance on democracy and human rights. The Ai Weiwei ‘Libero’ exhibition, which will include installations and sculptures as well as photography and video, will span the length of his career from the 1980s to the present day.
Ai Weiwei | © Courtesy of Ai Weiwei Studio
Ai Weiwei | © Courtesy of Ai Weiwei Studio

One of the most arresting features of the exhibition is the Reframe installation, which sees orange rubber life boats hung from the facade of the building to draw attention to the plight of refugees who are struggling to reach Europe on a daily basis. In the inner courtyard of the palace, the enormous metal work Refraction will be on display. This piece, created from Tibetan solar cookers, was originally on exhibit in Alcatraz prison and represents the juxtaposition between freedom and entrapment.

Ai Weiwei "Reframe" | © Courtesy of Alessandro Moggi
Ai Weiwei “Reframe” | © Courtesy of Alessandro Moggi

Ai Weiwei is the first artist who has been invited to exhibit his works throughout the entirety of the Palazzo Strozzi, providing a unique experience for visitors to appreciate his creativity and provocative resolve. The exhibition will run from September 23rd, 2016 to January 22nd, 2017.

Ai Weiwei’s work, combining political activism, autobiography and formal research as it does, speaks to us of major themes in a powerful, direct manner, using artistic vocabulary and tools that bestride East and West. Hosting a retrospective of this nature in Florence means viewing the city as a modern cultural capital, not simply pegged to the vestiges of its past but able, at long last, to play an active role out in the forefront of artistic developments in our own era.

– Arturo Galansino, Director of Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi

Ai Weiwei | © Courtesy of Ai Weiwei Studio
Ai Weiwei | © Courtesy of Ai Weiwei Studio

Established in 2006, the Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi hosts international exhibitions and cultural events within the 15th-century Renaissance palace which originally belonged to the Strozzi family, rivals of the prosperous Florentine Medici family. The independent foundation, which bridges the city’s cultural history with contemporary works, has become a leading art venue in Italy and Europe.

Ai Weiwei: Libero Exhibition

Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi: Piazza Strozzi, Florence
Runs September 23rd 2016 – January 22nd 2017
Open daily Mon-Sun 10:00-20:00, Thurs 10:00-23:00 (including holidays)
Tickets: €13 full, €10.50 concessions
Tel +39 055 2645155
info@palazzostrozzi.org