Helidon Xhixha

27 Jun — 29 Oct 2017 at Gallerie degli Uffizi in Florence, Italy

Helidon Xhixha. Courtesy of Uffizi Gallery
Helidon Xhixha. Courtesy of Uffizi Gallery
16 MAR 2017

Contemporary artist Helidon Xhixha, whose sculpture at the inaugural 2016 London Design Biennale won the prestigious public award, has been invited by the Director of Florence’s respected Uffizi Gallery, Eike Schmidt, to present a major new personal sculpture exhibition this summer, set within the stunning surroundings of the famed Boboli Gardens.

In Ordine Sparso sees Xhixha explore the ideas of chaos and order through his extraordinary series of thirteen monumental sculptures and installations. Breathtaking in design and execution, they invite us to explore and investigate the very idea of "chaos". The works pay homage to how historically this concept has been portrayed and the role of the artist seeking to represent chaos and how it is interpreted in the natural world.

During his career Xhixha has developed a unique and now iconic style of sculpture and is known for his extraordinary ability to manipulate mirror polished stainless steel into amazing abstract objects of immense grandeur and beauty. Xhixha creates a visual commentary on the interplay between metal and light, between the physical and the intangible, with a perfectly flat flawless plain suddenly transformed, distorted and disturbed. Recent successes at the 2015 Venice Biennale and the 2016 London Design Biennale have secured his position within the international art world and his work is now some of the most instantly recognisable and highly sought after sculpture today.

To be asked by the Uffizi to create his vision in this incomparable setting is a great honour and Xhixha has risen to the challenge. Exploring the themes of chaos and order, he has taken his inspiration from nature and the principles of the sacred geometry. In the Limonaia of the Boboli Gardens the artist has looked to nature to understand chaos. Inspired by the Crystal Caves in Naica, Mexico he has designed a complex response to their seemingly random formation. He has created in the Limonaia his signature aesthetic response, great towering columns of mirror polished stainless steel entice the visitor to enter and explore the artist’s vision.

Mirroring this is the work representing order, inspired by the concepts behind the sacred geometry. These monumental structures are formed in response to the Golden Ratio, mathematical principles whose roots are found in nature.

Situated either side of the entrance of the Palazzo Pitti Xhixha presents Conoscenza and Infinito: Conoscenza reminds us of the spiralling Nautilus shell, nature's most recognisable answer to the Golden Ratio. Giant curved segmented steel spiral outwards from a central point, increasing in size as they oscillate. Infinito reminds us of the fundamental concepts of order, balance and regularity.

The artist has created two sloping forms, fragmented and rising in opposite directions they sit side by side. They are at once the same yet entirely different and they parallel not only each other, but the entire exhibition. Xhixha allows us to see how opposites can be understood not as disparate entities but as a single concept.

Through their shapes and reflective surfaces, the thirteen breathtaking sculptural installations by Helidon Xhixha offer new perspectives on the intertwining of art and nature, promoted by the Medici in Sixteenth and Seventeenth centuries.

In Ordine Sparso is curated by Uffizi Gallery Director Eike Schmidt and Dr Diego Giolitti. 2017 sees Leonardo da Vinci’s L’Adoration of the Magi return to the Uffizi Gallery after a careful six year restoration. This year the museum will also exhibit works by Bill Viola and a series of exhibitions dedicated to women artists.

Albanian by origin, now living and working between Milan and Dubai, Xhixha was born into a family of artists, with his passion for sculpting coming from his father at a young age. He has achieved continued success for his iconic stainless steel structures, which now feature in public and private collections globally.

Xhixha is perhaps most widely known for his Iceberg sculpture, tackling the subject of climate change,which became the first installation to be given permission to travel along the world famous Grand Canal at the 2015 Venice Biennale and was featured in The New York Times, The Guardian and CNN.