I am pleased to have my art work selected by the Florence Biennale Committee.
The Florence Biennale was founded in 1997 as a global convocation of artists with all their diversity. It was the right time for an idea like this. By the late 1990s, contemporary art was at a cross road. The old assumptions – that art came in waves, each named with an ‘ism’ by the end, that auction prices equal the value received, that painting was ‘dead’ and so on – those assumptions were collapsing. Suddenly it was obvious that art was alive, thriving, and as varied as humanity. Artists are everywhere. Around that time, in the old Florence, something new was stirring. A committee of Italian artists and curators proposed a biennial where talented and recognized artists could exhibit their latest work. The artists would decide the way of exhibiting their work. The risks were enormous: there had never been a show on this scale with a direct connection between artists’ studios and the exhibition walls. The evaluation of unfiltered results would be assigned to an International Jury. In 1997, with hardly any publicity, the invitations were sent. The response was impressive: 317 artists from 17 different countries.
By 2003, the 4th Florence Biennale had grown into the world’s most comprehensive exhibition of contemporary art, showing more than 800 artists from 70 different countries. This year’s 7th Biennale builds on those numbers and broadens its horizons.
Those expecting a single curatorial vision will be astonished by its polyglot multiplicity. The only curator is who visits the show. Here are 3000 paintings, sculptures, prints and installations. Make your ‘short list’ – there aren’t going to be two lists alike.
Artists at every stage of their careers, including the most eminent artists, play key roles at the Biennale. Their presence is the confirmation that the garden of art yields wondrous fruit when tilled by many hands. Past distinguished recipients of the "Lorenzo il Magnifico" Award for Career Achievement include Chen Cheng-Hsiung (2001, the first Chinese abstract expressionist painter), David Hockney (2003), Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Richard Anuskiewicz (Optical Art in the '60) and Gilbert and George in the 2007. This year Career Awards will be bestowed on Marina Abramovic, and Shu Yong.
The Biennale believes in promoting respect and tolerance among the world’s artists. In 2001, the Biennale was recognized by the United Nations as an official partner in its program, Dialogue among Civilizations. In 2005 features its collaborative association with the Triennale of India, the most important contemporary art exhibition in Asia, and in 2003 with the Turku Biennale in Finland. The interaction of art and science is an ongoing theme of the Biennale. FB03 presented exhibitions of the Vatican Museums Conservation Laboratory and historic Ferrari racing cars. Streamlined speed was again seen in this 2005 show of classic motorcycles by Harley Davidson.
The 7th Edition of Florence Biennale confirm the role of this exhibition in the world of contemporary art, with its 650 artists, 84 nations represented and more than 2500 artworks exhibited.