Today, the President of the Biennale di Venezia, Paolo Baratta, and the 13th International Architecture Exhibition Director, David Chipperfield, met at Ca’Giustinian with the representatives of the 41 countries participating in the exhibition, including representatives of Kosovo, Kuwait and Peru for the first time. David Chipperfield announced the theme of this year’s Biennale is to be Common Ground. Continue reading for more information.
David Chipperfield states, “I want this Biennale to celebrate a vital, interconnected architectural culture, and pose questions about the intellectual and physical territories that it shares. In the methods of selection of participants, my Biennale will encourage the collaboration and dialogue that I believe is at the heart of architecture, and the title will also serve as a metaphor for architecture’s field of activity.”
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“I am interested in the things that architects share in common, from the conditions of the practice of architecture to the influences, collaborations, histories and affinities that frame and contextualize our work. I want to take the opportunity of the Biennale to reinforce our understanding of architectural culture, and to emphasize the philosophical and practical continuities that define it.
The title ‘Common Ground’ also has a strong connotation of the ground between buildings, the spaces of the city. I want projects in the Biennale to look seriously at the meanings of the spaces made by buildings: the political, social, and public realms of which architecture is a part. I do not want to lose the subject of architecture in a morass of sociological, psychological or artistic speculation, but to try to develop the understanding of the distinct contribution that architecture can make in defining the common ground of the city.
This theme is a deliberate act of resistance towards the image of architecture propagated in much of today’s media of projects springing fully formed from the minds of individual talents. I wish to promote the fact that architecture is internally connected, intellectually and practically, sharing common concerns, influences and intentions.
My method of selecting architects will reinforce the theme by making collaboration and dialogue fundamental to the Biennale. We will invite contributors to make a proposal for exhibits or installations but also ask them to propose others they want to collaborate with. In this way, the initial selection by the curatorial team is complemented by a further series of relationships initiated by selected architects.
The proposed dialogues will hopefully cross boundaries of age, style, geography and discipline. They also might identify the critical roles of other parts of architectural culture: the media, research institutions, schools, publishers, galleries, foundations and so on. The results, I hope, will use every available medium to tell stories about the common ground of the profession, and of the city.
My intention is to make neither an exclusive selection of projects on the basis of prejudice and taste, nor an uncritically inclusive exhibition. We wish to give the participants an opportunity to explain work within the wider context of architectural practice, not only as a demonstration of their own talent, but also to unite us in defining our ambitions and responsibilities.”
“By appointing Kazuyo Sejima we brought the Exhibition back into the hands of an architect – President Paolo Baratta has said – and now we are so lucky to have David Chipperfield with us. The Biennale exhibitions in recent years had broadened the representation of architecture by emphasizing its connections with a series of big social, urban, environmental and political ‘issues’. So it appeared useful to turn to an architect who demonstrates great interest in architecture as a discipline and raises questions about the elements of which it is composed, about the objectives it pursues, about the constraints that affect it, about the tools that it uses to shape places, spaces, buildings. The next Architecture Exhibition will be characterized by the emphasis on a series of relationships that connect great architects and younger generations that refer to them. This Exhibition will represent a major opportunity to bring both the general public and the world of architecture up to date. This is also why it has already begun to organize the program involving Universities from all around the world, entitled Biennale Sessions, successfully tested during the last edition of the Exhibition.”
The 13th International Architecture Exhibition of the Biennale di Venezia will also present, as is traditional, the National Participations with their own exhibitions in the Pavilions at the Giardini and at the Arsenale, and in the historic city centre of Venice.
This edition will also include selected Collateral Events, presented by international entities and institutions, which will present their exhibitions and initiatives in Venice concurrently with the 13th Exhibition.
The Exhibiton will take place from August 29th to November 25th, 2012.