Let’s Get Digital! NFTs and innovation in digital art
Palazzo Strozzi, Firenze
May 18 – July 31, 2022
From 18 May to 31 July 2022 the Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi will present Let’s Get Digital! a new exhibition bringing the NFT art revolution and the new borderline between the real and the digital to the Strozzina undercroft and the courtyard of Palazzo Strozzi, featuring works by international artists including Refik Anadol, Anyma, Daniel Arsham, Beeple, Krista Kim and Andrés Reisinger. Promoted and organized by the Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi and the Fondazione Hillary Merkus Recordati, and curated by Arturo Galansino (Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi, Florence, Director General) and Serena Tabacchi (Director MoCDA, Museum of Contemporary Digital Art), the exhibition takes visitors on a journey through digital installations and multimedia experiences created by artists who express the new technologies and possibilities of crypto art based on the success of NFTs – certificates of digital authenticity that are redefining the very concept of a work of art’s uniqueness and value.
Let’s Get Digital! explores a movement in the grip of evolution and transformation which many consider to be only the starting point or an increasingly rapid intermingling of aesthetics and new technologies, a revolution for the world of art as a whole, digital or otherwise. Standing for Non-Fungible Token, an NFT is a video, an image, or any form of digital content that is certified (or “minted”) via a blockchain. This technology encrypts the files and records them in an archive which ensures that a file can be seen by all but owned only by one individual or, to use the correct term, by one ‘wallet’ (an anonymous address identifying the owner).
NFTs have offered not only artists but creatives from the worlds of fashion, music, sport, and gaming to explore new dimensions in the interaction between the real and the digital. In this new digital world based on cryptocurrencies, NFTs are populating the so-called metaverse, virtual worlds whose borders stretch into the tangible, conventional world but with new paradigms for social interaction. Assigning value to digital works which by their very nature are open to duplication, this new way of creating and collecting art has fueled an alternative market that is independent of the traditional art market, but above all, has permitted the development of new pathways and opportunities for artists’ production and for public enjoyment, in a novel concept of interconnection on a global level.
The exhibition kicks off with a new site-specific installation designed for Palazzo Strozzi’s courtyard by Refik Anadol (Turkey, 1985) in a reimagined relationship between digital and physical architecture through a hypnotic, multisensory experience for the visitor. In this dynamic work, artificial intelligence algorithms create illusionistic visions that challenge our notion of reality. The exhibition continues in the undercroft of the Renaissance palace, known as the ‘Strozzina’ which is dedicated to exhibiting contemporary art in the heart of Florence. The Strozzina rooms will each be dedicated to a series of immersive works and installations created by the various artists involved.
The exhibition will feature works by Beeple (Mike Winkelmann, USA, 1981), who will be showing a broads election of his iconic works in which he merges politics, pop culture, and irreverent references to today’s world set in dystopic or post-apocalyptic scenarios; Daniel Arsham (USA, 1980), whose work breathes new life into the debate on the very notion of sculpture by creating time loops in which the material and immaterial nature of his creations come together in a ceaseless process of transformation and destruction in perpetual motion; and Krista Kim (United Kingdom, Canada), who urges us with her distinctive minimalist style to enter a world made of impossible reflections and geometries, an immersive space consisting of images that are both dystopic and reassuring at the same time.
They are joined in the exhibition by other artists such as Andrés Reisinger (Argentina, 1990), who will be showing Arcadia, a project he produced in conjunction with poetess Arch Hades and composer RAC, in which poetry, sound, and image merge in a meditative experience that prompts us to reflect on our daily routine and on the way we use social media; and Anyma (Matteo Millari and Alessio De Vecchi, Italy), a collective that experiments with its work and its live concerts at the point where music and visual performance intersect, and that will be enriching the exhibition with a site-specific physical and visual landscape for one of the Strozzina’s rooms, accompanied by a special performance that will tie in with the exhibition’s opening on Tuesday 17 May.
“Confirming its aspiration to bring together the avant-garde and tradition, research and popularisation, Palazzo Strozzi has developed a project that is unique to Italy’s cultural scene,” said Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi Director General Arturo Galansino, adding: “Let’s Get Digital! is one of the first and most important exhibitions exploring the NFT revolution ever produced by a cultural institution in our country. It sets out to offer insight to as broad an audience as possible into works and issues that are radically changing the way in which we interact with art and with the digital world as a whole. Part of the Palazzo Strozzi Future Art program developed with the Fondazione Hillary Merkus Recordati, the exhibition is one more piece in the mosaic of experimentation and vision of the art of the present and future, offering a growing number of new opportunities for artistic production and interaction with the public”.
“Let’s Get Digital! sets out to offer a broad insight into the most recent development in digital art now universally recognized by the contemporary system,” said Serena Tabacchi, adding: “Decentralisation, blockchains, and NFTs have certified and disseminated the work of countless artists who could not be considered in that capacity until no more than a few years ago. This grassroots movement has shone the spotlight of fame on artists whose work, until only a few months ago, was appreciated exclusively through social media communities. Sharing a determination to express themselves with the tools they feel to be most congenial to their temperament, with the latest digital technologies, they have rapidly entered the ecosystem of contemporary culture.
Some of the undisputed leading lights in this sector at the global level are involved in the exhibition. Just as Palazzo Strozzi has hitherto hosted masters of the past and of the contemporary world, so today it is opening up to experimentation and to research. The art of the future meets the digital world as its preferred material for expressive creativity. An endless flow of possibilities awaits us. The best has yet to come.” “I am especially proud to be part of this ambitious Fondazione Strozzi project capable of conjugating art with the digital world and its inexorable progress as it plays an increasingly prominent role in our daily lives” – commented Fondazione Hillary Merkus Recordati President Andy Bianchedi – “The Foundation which I chair aims to represent a substantial platform for supporting talent and to foster every kind of contemporary creativity. This exhibition meets those goals to perfection”. The exhibition, promoted and organized by the Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi and the Fondazione Hillary Merkus Recordati, is part of the Palazzo Strozzi Future Art program. Supporters: Fondazione CR Firenze, Comune di Firenze, Regione Toscana, Camera di Commercio di Firenze, Intesa Sanpaolo, Palazzo Strozzi Partners’ Committee.