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florence’s concern with art goes beyond renaissance masterpieces – the city’s ‘centre for contemporary culture strozzina’ (ccc strozzina) is one example of this. Between October 2013 and January 2014, the centre is promoting an exhibition :

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unstable territory: borders and identity in contemporary art

borders have always held a crucial role in history; but the idea of borders and identity has particularly strong resonance since the rise of nationalism and the modern nation state. geographical and political spaces have become deeply tied to notions of social and cultural spaces, and there is a growing interest (not least since the cultural turn) of exploring the flexibility of these physical as well as mental spaces. in the age of global economy, technology and communication, what does territory even signify?

these are the ideas which have driven the ccc strozzina to set up this exhibition. here, ten international artists reflect the question of instability, socio-political spaces and globalisation. richard mosse’s striking video installations on the civil war in the congo are one reflection of this unstable territory. using infra-red film, he challenges us to think of the blindness which surrounds the humanitarian disaster which has gone on in the congo. (see his website for more information about the artist and his work)

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another artist is tadashi kawamata. his unique interaction with the city’s own space merits taking a closer look.

indeed, kawamata has changed the very appearance of the strozzi palace. as you probably know, the strozzi were one of the great florentine families, their palazzo above piazza republicca once symbolising the beating pulse of the banking world. to contrast the monumental history of the palazzo, as well as it’s banking connotations, kawamata has built something fragile and ephemeral: tree huts. these huts are both on the palazzo’s façade and in it’s courtyard. inspired by the idea of homeless shelters, kawamata uses contrasting materials and raises key questions of security and precarity. in doing so, i was fascinated to see how kawamata brought forward current tensions between the banking world and those living under the poverty line. this is hugely relevant in regards to the recent economic crisis.

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tree hut, courtyard of palazzo strozzi

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and another shot

(for more info, see this very interesting

 interview about tree huts available here)

***

rush to see the exhibition before it’s over on 19 jan 2014!

ccc strozzina exhibition website

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