Florence Rocks – The Biennale Blog

Sign from above

Back from Italy and recovered from the stresses of exhibiting with over 700 other artists from as far afield as Argentina, NZ and Canada – most were from Italy, Holland and France and only about 8 from the UK. A great number of artist’s didn’t attend in person so no chance to meet them – one of the other UK artists was David Bicknall who had been a student at Canterbury College of Art (aka KIAD) just before me. (I think it’s current name is the University of Creative Arts). Saturday was the grand opening with bubbly, a fanfare of drums and the marching of men in tights wearing Florentine national dress – very fetching! They were followed closely by a contingent of (mostly female) artists with cameras, quite a spectacle. There were speeches, the press cameras and many many people taking pictures of the artwork. It appeared to be mostly artists taking pictures of each other’s work at first (quite disconcerting when they ignore you and zoom in on your work) but I did have a visit from the online art magazine called Bluarte who took a lot of my details ……..

NEWS UPDATE – They have just published on their site the following lyrical review of my work -/www.bluarte.it/Content/1430/biennale_firenze_2009.aspx.

“Can not name all the artists, but basically it is there a cloud of light evaporated from a creative emotional maturity and books in lyrical variations, intangible, light puffs of grace by Lee Campbell. The mastery of gesture are incorporeal and as if the soul had his music lies in the shades of colors in a whisper ….”Without”.” (thanks to Google Translate)

We are sent all the details of contacts and enquiries at the end of the week when the show ends. then the work is packed up and returned to the artists.

The best part of the event was the great artists that I shared a space with – Christine Nathan the sculptor from Paris who had driven there with all her work. Her graceful figures worked so perfectly with the other work in the space and provided an animated presence which complimented my work and that of the Norwegian water colourist Anita Vik Waetthen – these can be seen behind Christine.

Christine Nathan

Also in our space was Mathew Woodward from Chicago who had done the huge delicate drawing of mystical antiquity – he was devastated to discover that only one of his triptych had been hung due to a misunderstanding over the space allowance. His one piece attracted much attention though and he was eventually resigned to the error.

Opposite were Janet and her husband Walter, sculptors from New York (www.bfdfirehousestudios.com) – with their splendid ‘Oracle Project’ a fantastic chair which imbued one with a regal presence. Walter Kenul is also a musician and we’ve just spent an hour listening to his excellent CD (Goth meets LA). I could have happily spent the whole week there chatting to them all but sadly we had commitments at home so had to return on Sun evening.

Her Majesty

The hotel (Hotel Aessandra) where we stayed upgraded us to an extraordinary room (3 rooms) opposite a bell tower with a view of the river and the biggest free standing mirror I have ever seen. The hotel was embellished with lovely old antique typewriters, gramophones and carved chests and we can thoroughly recommend it. We found Florence to be a really sophisticated city with friendly people and on Sat night we discovered a late night chocoholics ‘den’ where dark liquid hot chocolate is served in a cup with a spoon and eaten in a heated and lit alley way. Felt so deliciously elicit. Sunday seemed to be the day the streets really came alive – crowded with Xmas shoppers and families – it was a sparkling delight of temptation rising from the ancient paving stones and tucked between narrow streets full of shop windows full of glitz and glamour.

While there I met an Italian friend who wants to involve us in a public art project to bring visual and audio art to one of the city squares. I had met Dr Sergio Luzzi (an acoustics scientist) at the NPL when I was working there earlier this year and it was lovely to see a familiar face in Florence. If the EU funding materialises then hopefully I will have another chance to spend time in this lovely old city.

Incidentally, the hard backed exhibition catalogue weighed 8lbs.



6 Responses to “Florence Rocks – The Biennale Blog”

  1. December 9, 2009 at 4:53 pm


    This all looks and sounds fantastic – I think your career is about to launch into the stratosphere!

  2. 2 Barry
    December 17, 2009 at 6:41 pm

    Back in Florence again! Exhibiting in the art capital of the world! Been a long time coming and reward for all the hard work over the years. Well done!

  3. December 22, 2009 at 12:19 am

    Hi Lee,

    I’m so so sorry we never had the chance to hang out! Love your work!
    All your flyers and cards were taken…a lot of people looked at your paintings… magical! Please keep in touch and hopefully we will meet again one day!

  4. December 30, 2009 at 5:19 pm

    Beautiful blog… Loved your writings, And yes biennale catalogue was 8 lbs, paid extra luggage price for that :))) Have a great year.

  5. 5 Bev
    January 10, 2010 at 11:26 pm

    Hi Lee – Just had to take a peak and all looks great but will have to come back and look some more
    You are still as good as ever – all the best for 2010 Bev XX

  6. 6 Bev Stanger
    January 13, 2010 at 6:50 pm

    Hi Lee

    Have had a good look around now – you pics are truly amazing – keep warm Love Bev

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