Artist JR is known for larger-than-life photographic installations that take over famous public spaces. And his latest work was just revealed. In Florence, Italy, Palazzo Strozzi is now home to a massive mural that appears to show a Renaissance palazzo cracked open showing a black-and-white interior.
Called La Ferita (The Wound), the piece is over 90 feet tall and 108 feet wide, covering the façade of Palazzo Strozzi. Incredibly, the way it's designed, the unique image appears different from various vantage points, creating an illusion. You can see famous Italian works, bookshelves, and more through the voyeuristic piece.
The inspiration for the piece was to incite a discussion about the accessibility of art and culture amid the pandemic. As a society, we've endured collective pain and sorrow for many reasons, one of which was a lack of access to cultural institutions. Museums, movie theaters, theaters, galleries, libraries, and more were forced to close their doors to prevent the spread of COVID-19. This was especially true in Italy, which was one of the original hot spots for the virus.
"They say the museums are closed," JR captioned a photo of the installation on Instagram. "But it's up to us to open them. Here is Florence, the city of Boticelli, Donatello, Machiavel, and Dante; we opened the Palazzo Strozzi. These last few months, we have been deprived of the possibility to be together ... but we still the freedom to dream, to create, to envision the future. Maybe, it's not much, but we have that."
While this is JR's latest piece, he's become famous for these massive mind-bending works. He took over the Louvre, making the glass pyramid "disappear," had several pieces of athletes scattered throughout Rio de Janeiro during the 2016 Olympics, and even had a stunning image at the Mexican border.
The installation in Florence launched in conjunction with the Palazzo Strozzi Future Art Programme, a program to support contemporary art in Italy. It will include a public art commission in Florence each year.