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  • “The language of flowers” exhibition at the Gucci Museo, Florence. Photo by Alessandro Moggi.

  • “The language of flowers” exhibition at the Gucci Museo, Florence. Photo by Alessandro Moggi.

  • “The language of flowers” exhibition at the Gucci Museo, Florence. Photo by Alessandro Moggi.

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Gucci presents “The language of flowers” exhibition in Florence

A new exhibition at the Gucci Museo in Florence, Italy, explores the multiple connotations of flowers, featuring works by South-African painter Marlene Dumas, French photographer Valérie Belin, Moroccan artist Latifa Echakhch and American photographer Irving Penn. The exhibition is titled “The language of flowers” and pays homage to Gucci’s iconic Flora motif, originally designed in 1966 for Princess Grace of Monaco.

Curated by Martin Bethenod, director of Palazzo Grassi – Punta della Dogana, and marking the seventh showcase of the Pinault Collection at the Gucci Museo, the exhibit brings together flower-inspired photographs, paintings, sculptures and installations that touch themes like vanity, memory, personal identity, politics and the very value of art.

The language of flowers” includes “Einder”, 2007-2008, a painting by Marlene Dumas that depicts a flower arrangement upon the coffin of the artist’s dead mother, raising questions about the transience of beauty and the ephemerality of life. Two hybrid compositions of Valérie Belin, “Calendula (Marigold)“, 2010, and “Phlox New Hybrid (with Dahlia Redskin)“, 2010, merge female portraits and floral motifs in one, opening a dialogue between human life and still life.

Latifa Echakhch’s sculptureFantome”, 2012, comprises a series of jasmine flower necklaces that were inspired by a travel memory of a street seller in Lebanon that had covered the flower necklaces he was selling to tourists under his shirt in order to preserve their perfume and freshness. The piece symbolizes resistance and stands as a political metaphor for the Arab Spring.

Last, but not least, two diptychs by Irving Penn, “Cottage Tulip, Sorbet, New York”, 1967, and “Single Oriental Poppy”, 1968, juxtapose a black-and-white flower image with its colored version, serving as a comment on the search for the absolute perfection and the vanity of everything around us. “The language of flowers” will remain on view until Sept. 20, 2015, at the Gucci Museo, Piazza della Signoria 10, Florence, Italy.