Florence • At Palazzo Strozzi the Jeff Koons’ largest exhibition ever held in Ital
The highest paid living artist in the world has succeeded in an unmatched marketing operation. Between glamour and Kitsch, he has turned all that glitters into gold
From his international beginnings in the 80s, between gigantic erotic-kitsch photographic installations, the famous series Made in heaven, with Ilona Staller exhibited at the Venice Biennale in 1990, lawsuits and complaints for plagiarism, the quotations of Jeff Koons have risen to astronomical figures, making him the highest paid living artist in the world. Like Andy Warhol, he has never made a secret of his desire to amaze and provoke, especially of wanting to “acquire power”, as he declared on the occasion of his lectio magistralis at the Carrara Academy in 2019.
He appears less transparent instead when he states that he wants to make art that explodes with generosity. However, one cannot remain indifferent to his genius with inflatable toys, bows, hearts, tulips, as he re-actualizes the dream of the glittering 80’s in a New Pop style and makes an unparalleled marketing operation.
It puts together suggestions from every part of the past and present, from classicism to surrealism, dada and pop art, seasoned with psychoanalysis, the childish world, eroticism; he indulges himself with elaborate ready-made, uses any material, even flowers and plants to make giant animals to be placed outdoors. His figurative choice penetrates between the folds of the imagination of all, not only of the middle class, because it offers many points of view; it also brings with it the memory of Duchamp’s conceptual lesson, without, however, distinguishing, like Duchamp, the retinal visual sense from the conceptual, rather, proposing visual forms that speak to the direct world of the senses rather than to the intellect. He offers simple and associative stimuli that feed on memories, desires, and objects of everyday life. To what extent does seeing become thinking? Perhaps it is no longer so important.
After 5 years, the artist returns to Florence, this time at Palazzo Strozzi with “Shine”, the largest exhibition ever held in Italy that allows an immersion in his poetry of luminesce and reflections, in paintings and sculptures. Many works, including those in polished steel, which simulate the lightness of inflated balloons, from the brilliant mirrored surfaces, crossroads of childish flavors, village festivals and Christmas decorations.
As they travel through the world’s most prestigious museums, the works of Jeff Koons always offer lightness and the pleasure of entering into playful and carefree worlds. Between glamor and Kitsch, sometimes you can really reverse the course of events and make everything that glitters become gold.