Helidon XhiXha in Random Order, a Shimmering Exhibit

By Daniel Cook (Syracuse University)

Boboli Gardens, Florence – The Palazzo Pitti, typically referred to as the Pitti Palace amongst tourists, is a vast structure that dates to the 1450s A.D. The palace has served the Medici family, Napoleon, King Victor Emmanuel III, and now present day tourists and Florentines as a museum. The expansive stone courtyard in front of the main gate is a popular gathering point for all sorts of people, but it also houses the first piece of the Helidon XhiXha in Random Order (H.X.R.O.) exhibit.

Picture 1 Conoscenza (knowledge)

Although the palace itself contains many fascinating exhibits of various kinds, the H.X.R.O. is instead spread throughout the Boboli Gardens, a lush expanse of nature behind the palace with fountains and walkways that lead up to a stunning view of the city and the mountains beyond.

Picture 2 Fountain Behind Palace

Picture 3 Main Lawn

Picture 3 depicts the main lawn of the Boboli Gardens, visible immediately after passing through to the back side of the palace. The lawn features an obelisk in the middle of the walkway, bordered on either side by “Neon” (left) and “Helium” (right) from the H.X.R.O.. Surrounding the lawn are several elegant sculptures, alternating between urns and small Romanesque figures.

Picture 4 “Neon”

Picture 5 “Helium”

Every piece of the H.X.R.O. exhibit has this unique style, all of them possessing strange names that make the viewer wonder what the artist is hoping to convey. There is a definite element of chaos contained within their shiny metal, both from their shape and the constantly distorted reflections that glint across their surfaces.

As seen in Picture 3, the walkway continues past the obelisk and up a steep hill. This leads to an original sculpture contained within a fountain, past which is even more stairs. Although the climb might be a struggle depending on how tired your feet air, the resulting view is worth it…

Picture 6 Florence, Italy

Several walkways continue from this highest point, leading all the way back to the sheer cliff face where the palace grounds are forced to stop. Another amazing view is visible from this side as well, this time of the formidable, forest-covered mountains that surround Florence. In between the main fountain and cliff face is decorative plant life, a small Porcelain museum, and plenty of places to sit and enjoy the splendor. The occasional H.X.R.O. piece makes its home here, cropping up and awaiting interpretation just when you thought the last one was behind you.

Picture 7 “Nebula”

Picture 8 “Fragments”

Entrance to the Boboli Gardens is only 10 euros for as much time as you want, though the gardens close at 6:30. The H.X.R.O. exhibit can be viewed until Oct. 29th, 2017.

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