The exhibition Ai Weiwei. Libero reaches out into the city with two of Ai Weiwei’s works on display in the Galleria delle Statue e delle Pitture degli Uffizi: Surveillance Camera and Self-Portrait, the latter a donation to the gallery’s collection of self-portraits. The two works are associated with the Vasari Corridor (the raised and enclosed walkway linking Palazzo Vecchio and the Uffizi to the Pitti Palace) which was built in only five months in 1565 to mark the wedding of Francesco de’ Medici, heir to the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, to Archduchess Joanna of Austria.
This shrewd piece of town planning joining the two banks of the Arno allowed the grand duke and his family to walk safely and discreetly above their subjects’ heads, but it was also the perfect spot from which the Medici could keep an eagle eye on those very subjects. Thus the Surveillance Camera harks back to this raised walkway’s political implications, reminding us of the Chinese government’s close monitoring of Ai Weiwei for his activities as a dissident. Self-Portrait joins a collection begun by Cardinal Leopoldo de’ Medici in 1664, the largest and most important of such collections in the world, which stretches right up to the present day with numerous donations from contemporary artists.
On the occasion of such collaboration, showing the Uffizi ticket to the Palazzo Strozzi ticket office entitles the holder to a 50% discount to the exhibition Ai Weiwei. Libero (€ 6 instead of € 12).