lunedì 9 giugno 2014

Venice Biennale focuses on 'modernizing history'

'Fundamentals' architecture exhibit continues for six months

(ANSA) - Venice, June 9 - The 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale will be open for six months rather than the usual three and is one of the most highly anticipated editions of the architecture event since it began in 1980. Dutch curator Rem Koolhaas, 69, who was one of the young exhibitors at the first edition organized by Paolo Portoghesi, told a press conference recently that this year's biannual extravaganza sought to "modernize the history of architecture" by focusing on "the effect of modernization on countries and architecture". "Fundamentals", which was organized over a period of two years, opened last weekend and continues through November 23 at the Gardens of the Biennale and the Venetian Arsenal.

The exhibit seeks to describe the evolution of architecture through its essential parts - from floors and doors to windows and walls - departing from the usual insight into the contemporary architectural scenario and focusing instead on an historical approach. This new perspective vies for the exhibit to be a vehicle for research which will be "interesting not only for those working in architecture" as "architecture survives only if it is an inspiration for us all", said Biennale President Paolo Baratta.

National pavilions in the Gardens will be curated for the first time under one theme: "Absorbing Modernity: 1914-2014", focusing on the forces of modernism over the last century, across different countries, to highlight diverse national approaches while creating a "uniform narrative", the curator said. The Arsenale will host "Monditalia", a portrait of Italy outlined through the arts. "I chose Italy because I believe it is a crucial country, the most emblematic in the world, with its extraordinary richness, though it was not always able to use all this potential", Koolhaas said. "Essential Elements of Architecture" will be showcased at the central pavilion of the Gardens and will offer a thorough insight into parts of buildings and what they represent, including windows, stairs, fireplaces and toilets.

These basic architectural elements seen through their evolution in time will vie to provide a powerful sense of the relevance of architecture in its historical context. Koolhaas, who numbers among his students "starchitects" including Zaha Hadid, in particular stressed that this edition of the Biennale was all about architecture, straying away from the usual format focusing on the most up-to-date projects by contemporary celebrity architects.

The Dutch curator, one of the most influential architects of his generation who has shaken up established conventions, started out by writing about the impact on architecture of inventions like the elevator and false ceiling in his famous 1978 book Delirious New York: A Retroactive Manifesto for Manhattan which examined the history of the skyscraper through these innovations.

He has written half a dozen works on the evolution of contemporary cities and designed worldwide projects for sites ranging from the Libyan desert to suburban Paris. His firm, the Office for Metropolitan Architects (OMA), has offices in Rotterdam, New York, Beijing, Hong Kong and Doha. "Along with being able to organize a Biennale which did not only focus on contemporary architectural production but also looked at the past and future, my demand to (Biennale President) Baratta, in order to accept his invitation to direct, was to have two years rather than one to organize the exhibit", said Koolhaas.

The extra time was necessary in particular "to invest on diverse ambitions, creating a uniform narrative on a specific theme across various national pavilions". Sixty-five countries will be represented at the exhibit which will be inaugurated at 11 am Saturday with a ceremony to award the Golden Lion for lifetime achievement to Canadian philanthropist Phyllis Lambert. 

Nessun commento:

Posta un commento