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Venice – Reporting from the Front of the 15th Architecture -Biennale

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Venice - Reporting from the Front of the 15th Architecture -Biennale

It should be about the “quality of the visit” – about demanding things, Alejandro Aravena emphasized during today’s press conference at the 15th International Architecture Exhibition in Venice, 2016.

In the blue ballroom of the Italian Embassy in Berlin, the President of the Foundation La Biennale di Venezia, Paolo Baratta, and the curator of this year’s Architecture Biennale, Alejandro Aravena, welcomed the invited journalists.

“We have not yet left an age of fear behind us, but we have the art and culture to master the present.” And further Paolo Baratta hopes the ruins of the past (a reference to the image of the last Art Biennale ,Angelus Novus’ by Paul Klee/Walter Benjamin) are possible to overcome as well as the ‘absence of architecture’. Because architecture absence means always, we are absent, according to Baratta.

The Architecture Biennale to their importance, there are many approaches and ideas, is dedicated to the public audience, not just professionals. It stems from the art exhibition and would grow out of it, go into the urban ways to improve the space in which we live. That’s one of the reasons why Alejandro Aravena is supposed to curate the Biennale. “Even those places in which we live, to give a figure, that means architecture”, started the charismatic curator his speech. Over the remarks and in the subsequent discussion is clear: It is complicated. “The higher the complexity, the more important is the shortage.” Aravena explains as attempts to elicit the candidates why they should participate with their contribution: “Say it simple – write it short -draw it in 2 seconds” meant the game ball.

“Do-tank instead think-tank” is Aravena’s currency, also in relation to social housing. The Biennale invites all to talk to the architects behind the projects, aims to bring together people with the same approach and discuss new ideas. We remain excited about the 64 pavilions (61 countries plus 3 special projects), since today even no question was asked about the exhibition

The promise of Aravena sounds optimistic: “While elsewhere advised ‘not to imitate it at home’, we hope that our visitors necessarily take something and try to recreate ideas of exhibitors in their homeland!” For this the “dialog of time”, as Aravena calls the extensive debate, should integrate all dimensions (cultural, political and economic), will transport the open tasks to the Architecture and parts of the life energy of the pavilions’. That is about not to see architecture as an isolated phenomenon, and only the expression of a formal style, but as a humanistic tool ‘to use it for consciously realization of public goods for communities, where not enjoyment of an individual restricts the enjoyment of others’.

That exactly also the title of the exhibition announces: “Reporting from the Front” – a report from the front.
The image of the exhibition by Maria Reiche, which Aravena had in his mind for more than twenty years, fits now perfectly: The woman on the circuit increases its angle by the distance from the ground, without destroying the base at the same time. Changing the status quo at first by modesty and simplicity of means …
Briefly Peter Schmal and Oliver Elser (both: DAM) introduced into the German contribution: “Making home. Germany, Arrival Country”, which will be presented in detail on March 10 in Munich. How architecture can create a homeland that’s the presentations’ theme of “Making Home” and they look at concrete models of the current situation. “Arrival City” focuses on refugee shelters in Offenbach and Berlin-Lichtenberg: living spaces, networks and changes of perspectives of immigrants who keep to themselves. Exhibition realization: Something Fantastic, Berlin.

More information at http://www.labiennale.org.

By Paul Klee - The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=25188355

Peter Schmal and Oliver Elser introduced into the German contribution: “Making home. Germany, Arrival Country”

Alejandro Aravena

Curator of this year’s Architecture Biennale: Alejandro Aravena

Photos:(c) Friedrich Zimmermann

Coverphoto (top) © image of the exhibition by Bruce Chatwin http://www.labiennale.org

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