Professor Henryk Jurkowski, a renowned scholar and the honorary president of UNIMA (International Union of the Puppet) since 1992, received the Award “Lorenzo il Magnifico” for Lifetime Achievement in Culture in recognition of his extraordinary contributions to historiography and research into puppet theatre.
This was not the first time that the Florence Biennale turned its attention to performances made with “animated figures”. In 2005, Heri Doro, a one of the most famous authors of Indonesia’s artistic landscape since the 1980s, participated in the V edition with an installation made up of tri-dimensional figures controlled by strings. Today, Heri Doro one of South East Asia’ major contemporary artists.
During the IX edition it was a privilege to welcome Henryk Jurkowski, a scholar who has the ability to infuse art criticism and historical research with the irony present in the various forms of puppet theatre of any culture.
Professor Jurkowski has examined all sorts of “animated figures”, offering many suggestions regarding the semiotic, aesthetic, perceptual, and cultural aspects of performances set up with or without rendering explicit the interaction between puppets and puppeteers. His interdisciplinary analysis of puppet theatre in its many versions – characterized by different techniques and cultures – has made significant contributions to the understanding, appreciation, and development of this art form.
The Award “Lorenzo il Magnifico” for Lifetime Achievement in Culture, which was awarded by the International Jury of the IX Biennale, is our way of acknowledging a lifetime dedicated to the study of the puppets, marionettes, and shadows that have been created and animated by artists in every historical epoch.