13. Mostra Internazionale di Architettura, 13th Venice Architecture Biennale, Biennale 2012, Biennale of Architecture, Common Ground, David Chipperfield, Paolo Baratta, Venice Architecture Biennale 2012
The 13th Exhibition has arisen and developed from the path of research that la Biennale di Venezia carries out in the field of architecture, which in turn has made la Biennale a major event over the years. After a series of editions put in the hands of critics and historians and after the last edition directed by Kazuyo Sejima, the first woman to direct la Biennale of Architecture, this year it has been given to the hands of an architect, the English David Chipperfield , "a person - said President Paolo Baratta - who entertains a very intense vision of architecture as practice". The Exhibition designed by Chipperfield is spread over 10.000 square meters in a path from the Central Pavilion at the Giardini to the Arsenale. It comprises 69 projects madeby architects, photographers, artists, critics and scholars. Many have responded to the invitation of the Director with original proposals and installations expressly created for this Biennale, involving other colleagues with whom they share a Common Ground in their projects. There will be a total of 119 participants.
"With this year's theme, we go back to talking about architecture - explains Paolo Baratta - to help architects emerge from the crisis of identity they are going through, and at the same time offering the public a chance to look inside architecture, make it familiar and discover that something can be asked of it, that something different is possible, that we are not condemned to passive acceptance." Civil society is made up of individuals and institutions. These do not always seem capable of identifying the requirements for organizing the space we live in. In order to mend this fracture, la Biennale can make its contribution primarily by posing these as its themes. While not denying that there is a problem in the relationship between architecture and ecology, architecture and technology, and architecture and town planning, the crux is to mend the fracture between architecture and civil society."
David Chipperfield clarifies that he chose this theme "to encourage my colleagues to react against the prevalent professional and cultural tendencies of our time that place such emphasis on individual and isolated actions. I encouraged them instead to demonstrate the importance of influence and of the continuity of cultural endeavour, to illustrate common and shared ideas that form the basis of an architectural culture".
"Italy remains the spiritual home of architecture - adds Chipperfield. Here we can fully understand the importance of buildings not as individual spectacles but as the manifestations of collective values and as the settings for daily life. This tangible sense of context and history remind us that our built world is a testament to the continuous evolution of architectural language and critical to our understanding of the world around us. With this in mind, I was inspired to direct this Biennale towards concerns of continuity, context and memory, towards shared influences and expectations, and to address the apparent lack of understanding that exists between the profession and society."
For President Baratta "Chipperfield's exhibition is made up of resonances, where the irrevocable relationship between architecture, space, and town planning will re-emerge from the notes of the resonance". The President invites one to look at "the interest of the architects taking part in the city, with particular attention paid to the recovery of existing buildings and the upgrading of urban spaces; or one looks to those participants who have drawn inspiration from the close link with past masters, remote or recent, or instigated associations with other grand contemporary colleagues." Baratta suggests to try the "built architecture, from full scale reconstructions of existing buildings to the emerge from intricate balances of structural forces; from the materialization of the concept of architectural and cultural heritage as a basis « for the search for and construction of new realities», through to the structures arising out of the association of Álvaro Siza Vieira and Eduardo Souto de Moura."
"This conception of the exhibition is an important innovation in the history of architecture exhibitions – concludes Baratta – because inevitably provokes a modification not only in the relationship between architect and curator, but also a change in the approach of the architects called upon to work out their participation. The exhibition thus becomes a space in which they realize an idea and a system of relations between architecture of both past and present, whereby that which is exhibited is reciprocally valued."
The 13th Exhibition will be complemented by 55 National Participations organized, as usual, in the Pavilions at the Giardini, at the Arsenale and in the city of Venice. Four nations will be participating for the first time: Angola, the Republic of Kosovo, Kuwait and Peru. Argentina will exhibit for the first time in its own pavilion in the space newly renovated of the Sale d'Armi at the Arsenale.
The Italian Pavilion at the Arsenale will be organized by the Ministry for the Cultural Heritage and Activities together with PaBAAC – the General Direction for the Landscape, Fine Arts, Architecture and Contemporary Art, is curated by Luca Zevi. The Exhibition also includes 18 Collateral Events presented by national and international subjects and institutions that hold their exhibitions and initiatives in various locations around the city.
For the third consecutive year the two peak appointments organized by la Biennale di Venezia, Biennale Sessions and Meetings on Architecture, reinforces the character of la Biennale as a place of research.
Biennale Sessions is a program for Universities and following the success of the earlier editions, the Biennale will present once again the program, known as the Biennale Sessions, dedicated to Universities. Addressed to Universities, Fine Arts Academies, research and educational institutions in the field of architecture, visual arts and kindred areas. The goal of this initiative is to encourage visits to the exhibition by groups of at least 50 students and teachers who will be assisted in the organization of their journey and stay. They will be able to organize seminars in a space made available to them free of charge by la Biennale. Nowadays, 61 international institutions (23 Italian and 38 foreign) have already signed up for Biennale Sessions.
Meetings on Architecture is a program of performance, conversations and talks dedicated to architecturewhich will see confront architects, sociologists, curators, artists and philosophers during October and November.
The awards and inauguration ceremony will be held with the conferral of the official awards assigned by the international Jury composed by Wiel Arets (Netherlands), Kristin Feireiss (Germany), Robert A.M. Stern (USA), Benedetta Tagliabue (Italy), Alan Yentob (UK).
Two online competitions are launched on the social website www.labiennalechannel.org: Common Ground | Photography : for the best photo of the Exhibition (this competition is open exclusively to accredited photographers); Common Ground | Essay: for the best critical essay on the Exhibition. The official catalogue consists of a single volume of 348 pages devoted to the International Exhibition, National Participations and Collateral Events. The volume will be available for the first time also in the e-book version. There will also be provided a short guide, a useful tool for the Exhibition tour featuring maps and practical information, and Common Ground In Photographs featuring photos taken during the Exhibition by the photographer Juergen Teller , commissioned by David Chipperfield (available from the second weekend of September).
The Common Ground Critical reader is a hardbound book which contains 31 critical illustrated essays commissioned by David Chipperfield from authors who reflect on the theme Common Ground. The entire editorial production uses the graphic project design by John Morgan Studio .
From 29 August through 25 November 2012
Preview on 27 and 28 August
The awards and inauguration ceremony will be held on Wednesday 29 August 2012 at 11 a.m. at Giardini.
13th International Architecture Exhibition Common Ground
Biennale di Venezia
Giardini della Biennale and Arsenale, Venezia