Founded in 1997 as the International Exhibition of Contemporary Art of Florence, the current Florence Biennale came into being because of a latent need that resulted in the creation of a space/non-space that could host a healthy intercultural and interdisciplinary discussion.
This naturally transformed itself into a lively debate centred on a vision of international contemporary art that is both expansive and complete.
This first experiment was met with great success, with over 20 countries replying to its invitation: artists were
given the opportunity not only to converse with the public, but also to compare individual experiences as well as the results of their personal artistic endeavours.
All of this occurred in Florence, a Renaissance city that was called upon to once again take on its ancestral role of being a free space for the arts and a stage for the inspirations of every kind of artist. The city stepped forward in a new way into this new historical context, and in so doing truly marked the Biennale as a unique event.
The sponsor of the first edition was Carla Fracci, the acclaimed Étoile of La Scala of Milano, who received the award “Lorenzo il Magnifico”. Other two internationally acclaimed individuals were also present: Ferruccio Soleri, the legendary actor who played Arlecchino at the Piccolo Teatro di Milano, was awarded the Award “Lorenzo il Mangifico” in recognition of his interdisciplinary contributions to art and culture, and Dolorès Puthod, an artist and set designer at La Scala of Milano, who was honoured for having dedicated all of her artistic efforts to the graphic design of the Commedia dell’Arte.
Artistic Director: Stefano Francolini