An Idea of Beauty, on view at the Centre for Contemporary Culture Strozzina (CCCS) at Palazzo Strozzi, Florence, sets out to explore the work of eight contemporary international artists – Vanessa Beecroft, Chiara Camoni, Andreas Gefeller, Alicja Kwade, Jean-Luc Mylayne, Isabel Rocamora, Anri Sala and Wilhelm Sasnal – and will encourage visitors to reconsider the concept of beauty and to question not only the ‘need’ for it but also its function, value and purpose.
Today’s world is heir to an historical and philosophical process that has separated art from beauty, in the sense of a world vision incapable of expressing the complexity and inconsistency of the modern era. At the same time, the term ‘beauty’ in daily use has become more trivialised and debased, and is often used as a synonym for appreciation (like/don’t like) or as the mark of a hedonistic and superficial approach typical of today’s trend towards extreme aestheticisation.
In order to rediscover an idea of beauty, we need to adopt a different approach to our sense of reality, to our search for a value, a spiritual moment or to explore an intellectual intuition in greater depth. Thus beauty arises anew from our ability to look at it differently, to grasp and recognise it even in a mundane object, moment or gesture.
Visitors to the exhibition will be confronted with works of art soliciting their physical and emotional participation. Through their work the artists seek to highlight the subjectivity with which a person views art, triggering individual responses that can become a tool for forging new connections with other people and with the world at large. On the one hand, they address and revisit such traditional artistic techniques and genres as the themes of landscape and the human figure while, on the other, it is almost as though they are attempting to listen to nature, capturing its moments and its fragments, or reflecting on the power of beauty in its social dimension or in the power to transform that it exercises on each and every one of us.
The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue published in Italian and English by Mandragora.