The fifth edition of the Florence Biennale
of Contemporary Art will take place at the historic Fortezza da Basso from today, December 3rd to the 11th, 2005. This years edition will include as honoured guests acclaimed artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude, as well as one of the founders of Op Art, celebrated artist Richard Anuszkiewicz. Many of Anuszkiewics best compositions will be exhibited at the Biennale. Internationally renowned artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude will be awarded the Lorenzo il Magnifico award December 8th at 5 p.m. Richard Anuszkiewicz will receive the Lorenzo il Magnifico Award on the 4th of December at 5 p.m.
Husband and wife, Christo and Jeanne-Claude (Christo Javacheff and Jeanne-Claude de Guillebon) were born on the same day: June 13th, 1935; he in Bulgaria and she in Casablanca. They met and were married in Paris in 1958. Since 1961 they have executed monumental installations in Europe, Asia, Australia and the United States which have made them among the most widely known and influential of contemporary artists.
Their first collaborative work was Stacked Oil Barrels, Dockside Packages at Cologne Harbour in 1961. The artists covered stacks of oil barrels with paper and fabric secured by ropes. This first temporary environmental installation was up for only two weeks.
Other collaborative works by the environmental artists include Wrapped Coast, Little Bay in Australia where in 1969 the artists wrapped a cliff- lined shore with one million square feet of erosion control fabric. In 1983 the artists completed their installation Surrounded Islands in Miami, Florida. They surrounded 11 islands with 6.5 million square feet of bright pink polypropylene fabric, creating a striking effect enjoyed by people on land, on the water, and in the air. Two years later the artists realized their work The Pont Neuf Wrapped, Paris, using a silky sandstone coloured fabric to wrap a bridge that has joined the left and right banks and the île de la cité for over two thousand years.
In 2005, Christo and Jeanne-Claude completed their enormously successful project The Gates in New York City. More than seven thousand gates with saffron coloured fabric panels formed serpentine walkways in Central Park. Thousands experienced The Gates during the sixteen days it remained in the park.
In order to maintain their independence and their integrity, Christo and Jeanne-Claude do not accept donations or sponsorship. Instead, they fund their million dollar projects solely from the sale of earlier works, preparatory drawings and collages.
The Florence Biennale
, in collaboration with the United Nations, is an official participant in Dialogue Among Nations. Secretary General Kofi Annan wrote in support of the program:
I believe that dialogue is an opportunity for people who come from diverse cultures and traditions to know each other better whether they live on opposite sides of the world or on the same street.
In 2003, 890 artists from 74 nations came to Florence, exhibiting more than 2000 artworks. The International Scientific Committee (C.S.I), composed of 20 qualified members, categorizes the works in divisions of painting, sculpture, graphic, mixed media, installation, photography and digital art. The selection is done with no prejudice of style. Artists are selected based on the quality of their artwork and the cultural values their work represents. The International Jury that assigns recognition and awards to the invited artists is composed of distinguished figures such as John T. Spike, Art Historian and Critic, Director of The Biennale since 1998, Florence, New York; Veronika Birke, Art Historian And Critic, Former Vice-Director of The Graphisches Sammlung Albertina, Vienna, Austria; Barbara Rose, Art Historian and Critic, Madrid and New York; Dore Ashton, Professor of Art History at Cooper Union, New York; Stefano Francolini, Art Historian and Critic, Direttore settore restauro Opificio delle Pietre Dure, Firenze; David Rubin, Curator of Visual Arts, Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans; Elza Ajzenberg, Professor of Art and Communication, Director of The Mac, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sao Paolo, Brazil; Julian Zugazagoitia, Director of El Museo Del Barrio, New York; R.B. Bhaskaran, Chairman of Lalit Kala Akademi, National Academy of Art, India; Pasquale Celona President of the Biennale and President of the International Jury, Piero Celona, Vicepresident of the Biennale and Public Relations Manager.