Shine A conversation with Jeff Koons about art, philosophy and spirituality

Friday 01 October 2021


to mark the opening of its show entitled Jeff Koons. Shine, Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi will be hosting a special event at the Odeon Cinema in Florence. In the form of a dialogue between Jeff Koons and major international scholars, the event will take the shape of a multi-faceted conversation on the significance of the word “shine” as a key term in art history, philosophy and spirituality.

The artist will be in conversation with:
Fabrizia Baldissera (Professor of Sanskrit Language, Literature and Indian Cultural Traditions, Università degli Studi di Firenze),
Arianna D’Ottone (Professor of Arab Language and Literature, Università La Sapienza, Rome),
Donatien Grau (Head of Contemporary Programs, Musée d’Orsay; Professor, Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts Visuels, Brussels),
Alberto Legnaioli (Post-doc research fellow in Hebrew, Università degli Studi di Firenze),
Monsignor Timothy Verdon (Director of Museo dell’Opera del Duomo, Firenze).

The panel will be moderated by the curators of the exhibition:
Arturo Galansino (Director General, Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi, Firenze),
Joachim Pissarro (Bershad Professor of Art History, Hunter College, City University of New York).

Free entrance, reservation required

Book now (SOLD OUT)

The event will be held in English (Italian translation will be available with live translation via headphones), free of charge with registration required.

The event will be video-recorded and will be available online soon on Palazzo Strozzi’s YouTube channel.

About art, philosophy and spirituality

Throughout history light has carried rich and potent spiritual connotations. It has stood for physical and metaphysical sources of truth, and as a sign of the ultimate attainment, or revelation, particularly as a symbolic image of the Deity, in his/her emanation on earth. From the Neoplatonic and Christian traditions in which Christ embodies the Light of the World, to the earlier Indian Brahmanical and then Buddhist concept of Enlightenment and then to the Qu’ran, which describes Mohammed as the Light coming from God.

From Byzantine art to Gothic cathedrals, from Baroque Illuminism to modernist light, the properties of shininess, splendour and reflection have always bridged the gap between the physical and the metaphysical. In the art of Jeff Koons these attributes help catalyze ideas of transcendence, affirmation, presence. His sculptures and installations shine because they seek to question our relationship with reality through their simultaneous ability both to irradiate and capture our gazes.

We extend our sincerest thanks to PACE GALLERY for their support to this event.

Thanks for the fundamental collaboration to Virginia Marano, PhD Candidate, Art History, University of Zurich, FAN Grant Research Fellow.

Above: Jeff Koons, Gazing Ball (Diana) (det.), 2013, Collection of the artist. © Jeff Koons