Shining a Light on Jeff Koons – An Intimate Conversation with Polimoda Students at Palazzo Strozzi by Aybuke Barkcin

Dear Shaded Viewers,

American artist, sculptor and illustrator Jeff Koons’s new exhibition “Shine” is open to visitors at Palazzo Strozzi in Florence, featuring over 30 of the artist’s work, spanning over a lifetime.

Known for his famous Balloon Dog, Koons’s art comes as a reflection of our society’s consumerism and popular culture, highlighting materials and symbols which tap into our collective memory, forcing us to understand and respond to the relationship between history and present, nature and artificial… The use of reflective materials which define Koons’s genius work, allows viewers to have a moment of self-reflection, to understand time and space and to discover surface and depth. Questioning how are we are seen and what lies within.

The title of the exhibition “Shine” plays on the dualities we face as a society… finding ourselves lost in digital worlds, pulling away from physical life and disconnecting our minds further away from our senses, emotions and memories. Our ability to ‘experience’ slowly fades away, detaching us from intimate interactions.

But at Palazzo Strozzi, Koons hopes to challenge the diminishing emotional connections and reaffirm art’s importance as a medium of communication, self-discovery and most importantly self-love.

To highlight the exhibition and reach a community of young people who are passionate about creativity, Polimoda students sit down for an interview with the contemporary artist, asking thought-provoking questions on transcendence, the possibility of contemporary art as a consumer good and the relationship between the public and technology…

Shine is a symbol of transcendence. It has been throughout history, you can look at all different theologies. The idea of people radiating, wanting to be connected to the power of light is a consistent thing. If I hear about people being attracted to a shiny object. A shiny object is fantastic because again, it’s a symbol of transcendence. That surface of the object, that aspect of shine, to me is really a reference of everything. The surface itself, what’s on the inside, that identity of self-love can also be there on the inside but the idea of reflecting the environment is showing to be in tune with people, to be aware of the environment, to interact with the environment. That’s really life experience.”


Aybuke Barkcin

Aybüke Barkçin is an art director, photographer, curator and writer that looks at fashion through the lens of political and societal dynamics. She completed her master's Creative Direction in POLIMODA, Italy and has a background in International Relations and Graphic Design. Her work can be found in her website: