The Venice Art Biennale is over 100 years old and it is the most prestigious art and culture institution in the world. Its concept was born at the Senate Room in the historical Caffè Florian.
The opportunity to produce a Universal Exhibition, a biennial show for all the artists that regularly visited the Lagoon City, came about after a conversation among then-mayor of Venice Riccardo Selvatico and his intellectual friends: Filippo Grimani, Giovanni Bordiga, Antonio Fradeletto, and others.
These four men were synonymous with Biennale in its first few decades of existence. They were open-minded intellectuals who knew how to relate with cultures other than their own, so much so that since the earliest productions of the Biennale, they invited into the governing committee some of the most important European artists of the time.
The first edition took place in 1895 as a homage to King of Italy Umberto and Queen Margherita, to be followed by an eventful history. The Giardini are the longtime home of the Biennale, which later expanded to the Arsenale compound and elsewhere in the city. Over eighty countries participate with a National Pavilion, each following the evolution of Avant-garde art and influencing the trends of art taste, critics, and market.
To better understand its special relationship with the Biennale, Caffè Florian, to this day the place where the world meets Venice, has been producing for decades modern art exhibitions, true moments of encounter and debate for the world of art and culture, lending itself as a space for active participation and involvement.
Thus was born Temporanea – Le Realtà Possibili del Caffè Florian, an initiative that takes place every two years on occasion of the Venice Art Biennale. The spaces of the coffee house are reinterpreted with installations by artists such as Bruno Ceccobelli (1988), Mimmo Rotella (1990), Fabrizio Plessi (1993), Gaetano Pesce (1995), Luca Buvoli (1997), Arcangelo (1999), Irene Andessner (2003), Fausto Gilberti (2005), Botto&Bruno (2007), Marco Tirelli (2009), Pietro Ruffo (2011), Omar Galliani (2013), Qiu Zhijie (2015), and Yuri Ancarani (2017).
A second programme of art production at Florian’s is Unica – Un’opera d’arte contemporanea al Caffè Florian, a chance for artists to make unique art and show it at Caffè Florian. Out of the many participating artists, we would like to mention Marco Nereo Rotelli, Arcangelo, Cristiano Bianchin, Sergio Pausig, Yoichi Ohira, Paolo Smali, Toots Zinski, Mariagrazia Rosin, Richard Marquis, Massimo Nordio, The Royal Art Lodge, Michele Burato, Judi Harvest, Gilbert Herreyns, Silvano Rubino, Alessandro Mendini, Omar Ronda, Mauro Bonaventura, Bruno Fermariello, Massimo di Capua, Antonio Dei Rossi, Stefano Curto, Paolo W. Tamburella, Aron Demetz, Matteo Pugliese, Roberto Kusterle, and Aldo Cibic.