Titled "Trouble in Paradise", the Polish pavilion at the 17th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia, will explore the countryside and observe how rural areas are an important element of building sustainable human environments, given the crises the world is surrounded with today. Curated by PROLOG +1 along with an international group of architects and artists, the national pavilion will be on physical display at the Giardini di Venezia, and online from May 22nd to November 21st, 2021.
PROLOG, founded in 2017 by Mirabela Jurczenko, Bartosz Kowal, Wojciech Mazan, Bartłomiej Poteralski and Rafał Śliwa, have joined forces with Robert Witczak to work on the Trouble in Paradise project, hence the name PROLOG +1. The exhibition is organized by Zachęta, the National Gallery of Art in Warsaw, and will tell the story of the future of communal life in the countryside, reflecting on progressive migration from cities to these rural areas, and proposing solutions on a global scale.
The Polish countryside is a place where the problems, hopes and paradoxes of the socialist and capitalist periods become clear; the notions of tradition and progress are not easy to discern here, and radical reforms have met with both enthusiasm and resistance. Despite the scale of the phenomenon that is the Polish countryside, the issues related to it remain outside the mainstream of architectural discourse. -- PROLOG +1
Working and living in the countryside have become critical topics of discussion amongst countries, and in the case of Poland, more observations and proposals can be taken into consideration as 93% of its land is purely rural. The pavilion's curators adopted new tools to describe the countryside, focusing on three historical development periods; early capitalist, socialist, and late-capitalist. All three periods were evaluated in terms of territory, settlement, and dwelling, with an emphasis on colonization projects previously built by the Polish state.
Upon entering the pavilion, visitors will see a photorealistic panorama of the countryside's 100-year-old timeline, printed on fabric and placed within eye level. The panorama is created by photographers Michał Sierakowski and Paweł Starzec, as well as artist Jan Domicz in collaboration with the selected curators. The project allows visitors to have two visual experiences; the first being from a distance, giving the sense of standing in nature, and the second being up close, allowing visitors to observe the forms that make it up.
Each of the elements visible in the panorama carries information. The objects hold a record of the history of ways of living and working in the countryside, as well as the processes which over the years have preserved the fragmentary nature of the rural landscape. -- PROLOG +1
The pavilion will also include architectural models, collages, and drawings that complement the panoramic imagery, all created by the invited European architectural teams. Having multiple points of view in the creative process allowed for diverse opinions regarding rural exploitation, climate crises, and global dilemmas. The pavilion will also be accompanied by a book with the same title, which includes essays, photo essays, texts by the curators, and visuals of the Polish countryside and projects.
Trouble in Paradise
- Organizer: Zachęta — National Gallery of Art in Warsaw
- Commissioner: Hanna Wróblewska, director of Zachęta — National Gallery of Art
- Pavilion Office: Ewa Mielczarek, Joanna Waśko
- Curators: PROLOG +1 (Mirabela Jurczenko, Bartosz Kowal, Wojciech Mazan, Bartłomiej Poteralski, Rafał Śliwa and Robert Witczak)
- In Collaboration with: Atelier Fanelsa, GUBAHÁMORI + Filip + László Demeter, KOSMOS Architects, Rural Office for Architecture, RZUT, Traumnovelle
- Authors of the Panorama of the Polish Countryside: Jan Domicz, Michał Sierakowski, Paweł Starzec, PROLOG +1
- Authors of the Glossary (online): Michał Sierakowski, Paweł Starzec, Wiktoria Wojciechowska, Patrycja Wojtas, PROLOG +1
- Exhibition visual identification, book design: zespół wespół
PROLOG was founded in 2017 by Mirabela Jurczenko, Bartosz Kowal, Wojciech Mazan, Bartłomiej Poteralski and Rafał Śliwa. It is scattered across Europe, with a base in Wrocław, Poland. PROLOG engages with architecture through design projects, research, writing, exhibitions, and workshops. PROLOG aims to frame each design from a practical and theoretical perspective. PROLOG is thought of as a formative period, therefore its focus lies in the exploration, speculations, and experiments. PROLOG was shortlisted in the international competition for the Tautos Namai concert hall in Vilnius, Lithuania, received the second prize in the international competition for a concert hall in Żelazowa Wola, Poland; and the second prize for a master plan for the Interrodera district in Szczecin, Poland. PROLOG +1 is a team with the addition of Robert Witczak, working on the Trouble in Paradise project in the Polish Pavilion at Biennale Architettura 2021.