Exhibitions at the Venice Biennale Festival
Venetian gothic architecture is styled to have grace and lightness as opposed to many other heavy European gothic styles and every building is allowed no more weight or size than is necessary to support the building. This explains all the narrow alleyways and houses so tall they lean into each other as if to whisper a secret. The style is very intricate as each window and rooftop is edged with lace, every column like the coils of marbled paper that fill the ancient shops.
It cannot be denied that as cliché as it is, Venice can only be described as the magical floating city!
More news on the biennale – we visited the Russian pavilion today which was curated by Sergei Tchoban and Sergei Kuznetsov and consisted of two parts called ‘i-city’ and ‘i-land’ examining Russia’s past and future in a highly forward thinking manner.
‘I-land’ consists of two darkened rooms punctured all over with small apertures of light that create a dreamlike environment and beckon the viewer to peer inside. Behind each curved lens, the viewer is given a glimpse of Russia’s past through photographs and timelines.
The exhibition is the most interactive I have seen yet, especially upstairs in ‘i-city’ with its rows of shiny android tablets awaiting eager visitors, who can use them to scan the inner walls of the pavilion and discover information about Russia’s future plans and ambitions for its built environment. There are hundreds of QR codes lining the curved walls and ceilings that give the rooms a surreal space age feel and transform each wide-eyed guest into an intrepid explorer. Each glistening tile reveals something new about Skolkovo – a city just outside Moscow promoting futuristic architectural concepts and design innovations.
Another stand out was the Canadian pavilion, tucked away between the German and British pavilions, this small but well designed space was crowded with people snapping pictures today. The whole space, even the floor, was covered with stacks of pinewood, which left a heavenly sweet aroma wafting through the air and created a rough wooden backdrop. Neon perspex plaques displaying information contrasted sharply with the blond unfinished wood and miniature figures dressed in sliver topped some of the planks like tiny mountaineers. The exhibition is called ‘Migrating Landscapes’ and is curated by 5468796 Architecture and Jae-Sung Chon who invited emerging architects to submit small models of imagined abodes, which would then be fitted into the wooden structure with accompanying videos that evoke cultural memories. It was interesting to see the contrast between the roughness of the wood and the precision in the architectural models. Next time I will be discussing the surrounding pavilions including Venezuela and Scandinavia!
Written by our guest blogger, Isabel Moseley.