In a recent meeting; held in Florence between the American artist and a group of Polimoda students. On the occasion of his exhibition “Shine” at Palazzo Strozzi in Firenze; Koons said: “Art: to taste without the intermediary of technology “.
“Art: to taste without the intermediary of technology”
Solicited by questions from the young fashion designers he continued; “On my first day of art school we were taken to visit the Baltimore Museum of Art. And there I realized that I knew nothing about art. The art history lesson transformed my life. It was about a painting by Manet, Olympia, about the contacts with Goya’s work. About the symbolism of the black cat and its meaning in 19th century in France. And suddenly I realized that art would be a vehicle; to get to philosophy and psychology, theology, physics and aesthetics, which today; I really find all contained in this exhibition”.
Art and consumerism
“Since then, I wake up every day and I’m excited. About the possibility of transcending through art”. Regarding the relationship between art and consumerism Koons emphasized, “I don’t think money is what matters in art. I don’t look at a work of art and think about money. I look at a work of art; and think about the ability it has to inform me about the experience of life and; hopefully give me the courage to be more open to life.”
A personal interpretation of the contemporary world
Faced with growing curiosity about his work and his personal interpretation of the contemporary world; Koons pointed out. “The way people see art, and interact with it has changed, thanks to access to new media, to technology. People are going to exhibitions and trying to capture it on their phones. Instead of just looking at the works; we try to getting involved. So, we can investigate everything. Above all because of technology; and (at the same time) people aren’t, often, enough opening up to the experience of life. And we’re getting further and further away from it”.
“Stay in touch with nature”
“I think you have to try instead to stay in touch with nature. Be open and interact with people; and feel the vitality of life, desire, the senses, and what it means to be human in this world.” Shine expresses a sense of a concept born of desire. “I look at my favorite artists; like Tiziano”. Koons explains; “and those like him who really dealt with desire, showing how beautiful it is. Shine is a symbol of transcendence. It’s the idea of people radiating. In other words; remaining connected to the power of light and, for this reason, attracted to a shiny object”.
“Shiny like the sparkle of light through water”
“A shiny object is great, like the sparkle of light through water, it’s a form of abstraction. That shine on the surface of objects for me is really the reference to everything; the idea of reflecting the environment to be in tune with people. This is really a life experience.”
Shine, the event-exhibition born from desire
Shine, the event-exhibition born from continues to attract people from all over the world. Throughout his career Koons has used a wide range of techniques interpreting. With his disenchanted gaze, the banality of modern life and the kitsch side of its addiction to objects. In an implicit critique of consumer society; he aspires to communicate through a visual vocabulary that incorporates commercial advertising and the entertainment industry.
Art as a bridge between nature and life
His work taking the boundary between popular culture and artistic performance to the extreme limit. To arrive at a declaration of awareness of the importance of art as a bridge between nature and life. Free from technological mediations and witness to the centrality of empathic experience in the contemporary world. The collaboration between Polimoda and Palazzo Strozzi has also produced a 20-minute video. That narrates this engagement and has been presented on the digital channels of the two institutions.
Student participants also took part in an educational project to create, in conclusion, a video communication campaign for Instagram dedicated to Jeff Koons’ most famous works in the exhibition.