REPORTING FROM THE FRONT, this is the title of the 15th Biennale Architettura Exhibition, from May 28th trough November 27th 2016 (Preview May 26th and 27th) in the Giardini and the Arsenale and in various other venues in Venice.
The Exhibition will include 88 Participants from 37 different countries, as well as 62 National Participations and a selected choice of Collateral Events. Five countries will be participating for the first time: Philippines, Kazakhstan, Nigeria, Seychelles and Yemen.
The Italian Pavilion at the Tese delle Vergini in the Arsenale will be curated this year by Simone Sfriso, curatorial team Massimo Lepore, Simone Sfriso, Raul Pantaleo TAMassociati.
“The lady on the ladder who, climbing up onto the highest steps can gaze over a far broader horizon, and by doing so conquers an “expanded eye”….” this is what the curator Alejandro Aravena said about the picture representing the mood of the exhibit.
What is the lady looking at? Besides the inhospitable land where no human could be proud of, and the desolate sites which mark the end of architecture, the lady “also sees signs of creativity and hope, and she sees them in the here-and-now, not in some uncertain aspirational, ideological future.”
In fact, the exhibit aims at investigating all the trends going towards renewal, the encouraging messages and not only as a sign of optimism. Architecture cannot be limited to a discipline, or to expression of skilled specialists, but it results from the interaction between the demand of needs, desires and the way social institutions come up with solutions able to fulfill them.
Today it seems that architecture is separate from civil society, while it can be an instrument of self-government, of humanist civilization, an expression of the way humans can become masters of their own destiny. In this sense, architecture “in action” is an instrument of social and political life, or as Aravena says, “it is the most political of all the Arts in the world”.
Therefore, what an advancement in architecture is about? Not just an esthetic one, but a way to improve people’s quality of life, in a broad sense: from the basic living standards to the personal needs combined with the common good, from the daily activities to long term plans.
The curator’s proposals respond to different purposes, on one hand he would like to consider the traditional cultural and artistic dimension of architecture, on the other one the fact that architecture is required to deal with many dimensions at the same time, without choosing a single one.
For sure, this Biennale won’t be an exhibit just for specialists who present themselves as artists. “REPORTING FROM THE FRONT” intends to show the impact of architecture with current issues in the world, like segregation, inequalities, peripheries, access to sanitation, natural disasters, housing shortage, migration, informality, crime, traffic, waste, pollution and the way communities deal with them.
Quite a challenge for a great exhibit!
The curator of this edition is Alejandro Aravena, born on June 22, 1967, in Santiago, Chile. He graduated as an architect from the Universidad Católica de Chile in 1992 and one year later he studied History and Theory at the Faculty of Architecture and engraving at the Accademia delle Belle Arti, both of them in Venice.
In 1994 he established his own practice, Alejandro Aravena Architects, and was commissioned a few buildings for the Universidad Catolica: Mathematics, Medical School, the famous “Siamese Towers” and recently the Angelini Innovation Centre. Then he started to operate abroad, in Austin for St.Edwards University, in Germany for Vitra, in Switzerland and China with a new building for Novartis company.
In 2000 he started the social housing initiative ELEMENTAL, together with the engineer Andres Jacobelli, an “Urban Do Tank” which expanded its field of action to a wide range of infrastructure, public space, transportation and public buildings.
His work has been distinguished with several awards in the whole world, and was featured at the Sao Paulo Biennale, the Milano Triennale and the Venice Biennale Architettura in 2008 and 2012. In July 2015 Alejandro Aravena was appointed Director of the Department of Architecture by the Board of the Biennale di Venezia.
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