Grand Tourismo at the Uffizi Gallery

A reflection on tourism in Florence and its museums

Samantha Vaughn
July 30, 2018 - 16:51

Grand Tourismo is the name of the newest exhibition at the Uffizi Gallery, inaugurated on July 30 and running until October 14. The show is the brainchild of Giacomo Zaganelli, who worked in collaboration with the Uffizi Galleries to install three videos made by the Florentine artist in room 56 on the first floor of the museum. The videos, titled Illusion, Everywhere but nowhere and Uffizi Oggi, invite views to reflect on the state of tourism today and the experiences that go along with it, including, most pointedly, our increasing need to filter the works of art we see through the lens of our smartphones, cameras and video cameras.

 

 

In Illusion, the streets of the historic centre become witnesses to the mechanical and redundant nature of taking photographs; Everywhere but nowhere is set in Palazzo Strozzi, a stage for the uncontrollable use of electronic devices; and Uffizi oggi is considered the defining element of the project, filmed on an ordinary Sunday morning, capturing what happens day after day when tourists find themselves in front of Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus and other masterpieces.

 

Director of the Uffizi Galleries and curator of the exhibition, along with Chiara Toti, Eike Schmidt remarked, “With the technological innovations of the recent decades, especially widespread digital photography, the use of the museum has been greatly transformed. The amount of reproductions of the artworks in our collections continues to grow exponentially, modifying the perception of them; even the behaviour displayed by visitors, a collector of their own images, has been fundamentally altered. Focusing on a reflection inside the Uffizi, particularly its busiest room, where Botticelli’s paintings are kept, Giacomo Zaganelli’s interpretation has allowed us to place attention on the phenomenon that, changing the rapport between spectator and artwork, forces us to reconsider the role of the museum.”

 

 

By placing the exhibition in room 56, a crossroads of sorts in the centre of the museum, visitors can reflect on what they’ve experienced up until that point, offering a perspective that can trigger unexpected considerations in a public that, naturally, ranges a variety of ages and origins.

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