OMA'S architect and urbanist Ippolito Pestellini Laparelli will serve as the curator of the Russian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale 2020. Moreover, Teresa Iarocci Mavica, co-founder, and director of the V-A-C Foundation was appointed as commissioner of the Pavilion by the Russian Ministry of Culture. The exhibition entitled Open! will showcase young Russian architects and will focus on the renovation of the century-old building of the pavilion, built by renowned Russian architect Alexey Shchusev in 1914.
Ippolito Pestellini Laparelli, partner at OMA/AMO, created a concept in response to the theme of the 17th International Architecture Exhibition, How We Will Live Together, selected by curator Hashim Sarkis. During the exhibition, the pavilion “will turn into a temporary architecture office where visitors will be able to see and engage with the project of renovation”.
An open call for young architects to present their vision of the pavilion was launched on the official website. Participants should be up to 40 years old, “Russian architectural studios and interdisciplinary collectives with proven experience across the fields of architecture, exhibition-making, and research”. The deadline for submitting proposals is January 31st, 2020, and the winner will be announced in February and will continue working in Venice, under Ippolito’s curation.
I’m honored to work as curator of the next Russian Federation Pavilion. Personally, this is a wonderful opportunity to deepen my relationship with Russia through a significant cultural project. For the 2020 Biennale we will not stage an exhibition but a work in progress, by offering the opportunity for a collaborative experiment between a team of young Russian architects and a pool of colleagues aimed at the transformation of Shchusev’s architecture. In balance between fiction and reality, the Pavilion will feature live the project, a temporary architectural office and the in-progress working site all at once. As a response to Hashim Sarkis’ curatorial framework, the Pavilion will act as a temporary institution giving shape to a “new spatial contract” through an open and ever-changing dialogue and cross-pollination between those who will inhabit and work in the Pavilion – from academics to craftsmen, from designers to activists – and the audience who will interfere and use it as a vehicle of access, discussion, and knowledge.
—Ippolito Pestellini Laparelli, curator.
Born in Naples, Italy, Teresa Iarocci Mavica has provided support to contemporary art in Russia for all of her professional life. Curator by profession, she headed the Moscow-based Contemporary City Foundation, between 2005 and 2008, “an experimental venue promoting the professional development of young curators and artists”. She later on, in 2009, founded V-A-C, with Leonid Mikhelson, the CEO of Russian gas giant Novatek.
The need for reconstruction of the Russian Federation pavilion has coincided with the upcoming Architecture Biennale in Venice. Curator Hashim Sarkis, a renowned Lebanese architect, theorist, and an experienced teacher announced the theme of the main project ‘How will we live together?'. Thus, the curator is calling upon all of the participants to offer their vision of how architecture can contribute to coexistence in the contemporary world. This is how we thought of inviting Ippolito Pestellini Laparelli. As part of Manifesta 12 in Palermo, his project involved transdisciplinary research in a complex urban environment, investigating new models of coexistence. The theme of the Biennale and the prospects of this collaboration have helped us to formulate the thesis for our program – we can live together only by working and building together, quite literally being side by side.
—Teresa Iarocci Mavica, commissioner.
V-A-C, a leading cultural institution in Russia, is a non-profit foundation for contemporary art with a mission to support Russian artists, curators, and researchers both in Russia and abroad. The platform works with the local community to promote and educate. Management of the Pavilion has been appointed to Smart Art consultancy, a group that supports contemporary Russian artists, with almost 10 years of experience with the Russian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale, and with previous commissioners and curators, that helped integrate Russian contemporary art into the international context.