A feminist and activist, American artist Kiki Smith joins a cohort of contemporary female artists showcased at Palazzo Pitti as part of an initiative by the Uffizi Galleries to invest in diversity at the museum. Following Austrian artist Maria Lassnig in 2017 and Italian native Maria Lai in 2018, Smith’s exhibition What I Saw on the Road presents nearly 30 of the artist’s recent works that explore the intricacies of the human condition through the terrestrial and the celestial.
Throughout her career, Kiki Smith has shown she is not one to shy away from the good, the bad and the ugly of what it means to be human. The body, the construct, this corporeal identity, in particular that of the woman, has been challenged time and again by Smith. This time, it lives in a more organic form as Smith’s artwork travels through the undergrowth and searches through the stars.
Director of the Uffizi Galleries, Eike Schmidt, noted how “the elegant grace of Kiki’s recent work—the often fragile and precious materials of which they are made an effective metaphor for the human condition, especially women’s—boasts the superbly moral goal of creating unity and harmony in a reality that tends to appear brutal and conflicting, radiating a deeply revolutionary energy.”
While “on the road,” visitors pass by Sky, Harbor, Earth, hanging tapestries that parlay with wolves, deer and other woodland creatures reminiscent of fairytale and fable, telling an earthly story, while Europa and The Visitor Arrives, art in bronze, illuminate in more clandestine tones. Each piece builds a cartographic constellation of what it means to be human.
An insightful collection, What I Saw on the Road runs until June 2 in the Andito degli Angiolini.