Spring fair in Florence is being held inside abandoned farmhouse as China protests

A provocative Italian art exhibition is being temporarily held inside an abandoned farmhouse in Florence, as China’s government protests a move to allow the art to proceed. The event, drawing on longstanding traditions of Catholic anti-feminist symbolism, is drawing sizeable crowds, despite protests in Beijing.

Since opening on Tuesday, the exhibition has drawn mixed reactions, with those critical of the exhibition pointing to its symbolism as problematic, while others see it as a response to political tension. Visitors are invited to walk through a maze of rooms dedicated to different female bodies, a stark contrast to the more traditionally ornate artwork usually found in the city. While some statues in the gallery are more traditional, other ones invoke the powerful role of women in religious iconography.

Views are mixed around the artwork. “I think it is really good, because sometimes art is just for tourists but I think this is anti-commercial art,” a woman who had just arrived from France told The Telegraph. “I hope in the future this can expand in Italy and in other countries.”

China’s embassy in Italy has protested the exhibition in letters to the Italian government and parliament, in which it says the protests were part of a “spurious” trend in anti-feminist politics. “The exhibiting artists and organizers also disagree with the government’s decision. Although they are not instruments of the Italian state, people from [China’s] other government department must express their feelings,” China’s embassy said in a statement.

No indication has been given when the exhibition will be moved, according to local media reports.

Read the full story at The Telegraph.


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