ai weiwei is set to open a monumental exhibition at the historic palazzo strozzi in florence. from september 23 – january 22, the palace hosts the first major italian show dedicated to one of the most celebrated and controversial artists in recent history. ai weiwei will invade the palazzo with both early pieces and new works that engage with the entire site — the façade, the main floor and the courtyard. the exhibition — titled ‘libero’ (‘free’) — will offer monumental installations, videos, photos, sculptures and objects symbolic of his career, epitomizing his strong political and social impact.

(above) image courtesy of palazzo strozzi
(main) image courtesy of ai weiwei studio



one of the most important works on view is ‘reframe’, an installation of 22 rubber boats presented on the façade of palazzo strozzi. the large orange life rafts are anchored to the renaissance palace’s windows, aiming to draw attention to the fate of refugees who risk their lives daily to reach europe by crossing the mediterranean. the lightweight boats mimic the fragile structures in which refugees are forced to cling to, and serve as a criticism of the handling of the refugee crisis.  


the installation is drawn from ai weiwei’s personal involvement in, and commitment to, the humanitarian crisis as an activist, and represents a opportunity for the city of florence to raise awareness of the issue through art and culture.

image courtesy of palazzo strozzi

image courtesy of palazzo strozzi

image courtesy of palazzo strozzi

image courtesy of palazzo strozzi