Ideal/Real: The Argentine Pavilion at the Venice Biennale

Ideal/Real: The Argentine Pavilion at the Venice Biennale

The Argentine pavilion at the 2014 Venice Biennale analyzes modernity in terms of the IDEAL and the REAL by looking at how the country has used “ideal” modern ideas to construct the reality of its cities.

The curators, Emilio Rivoira and Juan Fontana, structured the exhibit around eight periods, selecting cinema clips to represent the ideal and the real.

Enjoy photos from the pavilion and read the description from the curators after the break. 

© Nico Saieh

From the Official Catalog of the 14th International Architecture Exhibition: The Argentine contribution to this Biennale takes the opportunity to deepen, in a span of one hundred years, the ongoing debate on the continuing professional digestion of “modern” ideas (IDEAL), and what our society actually built to shape the habitat of our way of living (REAL).

The world of the IDEAL summarizes the aspiration for change, desire, and fascination with and commitment to new ideas. It exposes the challenge and frustration, the ideals and their misinterpretations, the excellence and ordinary, the holy and the profane. Things accepted and misunderstood. 

© Nico Saieh

A quotation by argentine architect Manuel Borthagaray summarizes the spirit of this process: “To be modern, and enjoy the comfort of belonging to the modern world, gave the assurance that we had to rethink everything, that all existing things were wrong.”

Argentina not only absorbed but also produced ideas and exemplary modern buildings. 

Meanwhile, the REAL world based on these idealistic dreams, added followers to a culture of change. This consisted of a new way of building – simpler and more inclusive – which was born accompanied by new building regulations and planning, new industrial technologies, other different ways of organizing construction and eminently a new way of teaching architecture. 

© Nico Saieh

In this evolution we have identified eight periods that structure the exhibition:

1914-1925: Eurocentrism and Metropolis
1925-1940: Eruption of the Modern Movement
1945-1983: Authoritarian State – the infrastructure of power
1990-2000: Global City-Real City
2000-2014: Environmental Discourse – The inclusive State

© Nico Saieh

Architecture and the Filmmaker’s Eye

We know that the filmmaker’s eye is a sensitive and faithful interpreter of the built environment. We looked for expressive fragments of Argentine cinema to show how the contents of an IDEAL body of ideas and building practices are inserted into our real landscape, forming the REAL fabric of our built environment… and therefore our identity. 

Cinema is a fiction that shows the REAL world. Reality is the expression of the anarchic digestion of ideal architecture of Argentina in a hundred years. Absorption nourishes and nourishment evolves in an indeterminate and unpredictable way. We have chosen the art of seeing with the filmmaker’s mediating eye to explain our proposal with intuitive eloquence.

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About this author
Cite: Saieh, Nico. "Ideal/Real: The Argentine Pavilion at the Venice Biennale" [Ideal / Real: Pabellón de Argentina en la Bienal de Venecia 2014 ] 22 Jul 2014. ArchDaily. (Trans. Watkins, Katie) Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

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