Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Arsenale - La Biennale di Venezia - V and A Museum - The 17th International Architectural Biennale - Special Projects - Pavilion of Applied Arts - Three British Mosques

La Biennale di Venezia with the Victoria and Albert Museum - London
 The 17th International Architectural Biennale
Special Projects
 Pavilion of Applied Arts -Three British Mosques
In the Applied Arts Pavilion, in the Arsenale, La Biennale di Venezia and the Victoria and Albert Museum present Three British Mosques, marking the fifth year of their collaboration. Responding to the theme How Will We Live Together it explores contemporary multiculturalism through three adapted mosques spaces in London. Collaborating with author and architect Shahed Saleem, the pavilion looks at the self-built and often undocumented world of adapted mosques.
Islam is a highly portable religion and in Britain any group can start a mosque.  Most mosques have been created through the adaptation of existing buildings, which range from houses, shops, cinemas, pubs and other former places of worship. 
Commissioner - Victoria and Albert Museum - Curators - Dr Christopher Turner - Dr Ella Kilgallon - Shahed Saleem  


Harrow Central 
Harrow Central mosque, is a purpose built space next door to the converted terraced house it used to occupy.
"Shahed Saleem has carried out a comprehensive study of the history of the British mosque and has also designed several.  The V and A has worked with him to explore three different case studies that illuminate stories of immigration, identity, and community aspiration. Most mosques in Britain are grass-roots, crowd-sourced, community projects that exemplify creative reuse.  As new-built mosques replace these ad-hoc structures, this form of community-led design is being lost.  The V and A pavilion is an attempt to record and celebrate this stage of mosque-making Britain."
Dr Christopher Turner 
co-curator with Ella Kilgallon and Shahed Saleem 

Old Kent Road
The Old Kent Road mosque is housed in a former pub.
The first mosque in Britain was created in 1889 by adapting a terraced house in Liverpool, and there are now 1,800 mosques around the country.  The history of the mosque in Britain is one of cultural dialogue with different histories merging and presenting new opportunities for our urban fabric to evolve. Designed and in many cases built by its users, the mosque has given Britain an entirely new form of architecture.
Old Kent Road

Brick Lane
The Brick Lane mosque was a former Protestant chapel then a Synagogue.

The pavilion is carpeted, as in a mosque, and these stories are explored through 3D architectural reconstructions, filmed interviews and photographs.
Brick Lane Mosque 




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Friday, June 25, 2021

Fondazione Emilo e Annabianca Vedova - Georg Baselitz - Vedova Accendi la Luce

Magazzino del Sale - Fondazione Emilio e Annabianca Vedova
Georg Baselitz
Vedova Accendi la Luce
At the Fondazione Vedova in the Magazzino del Sale, until October 31 the exhibition Baselitz - Vedova Accendi la Luce - Vedova, Turn On the Light . George Baselitz in 2020 especially created some works based on painting "in the manner" of Vedova for this exhibition as a tribute by the German artist to the Venetian master. The exhibition consists of a series of pictures divided into two sequences, dedicated to his wife Elke Baselitz and to Emilio Vedova.   Each sequences is recognisable as such for their stylistic coherence while also distinguished by the witty wordplays - Witz - the artist deployed in their titles.

The great canvases - 3 meters high by 2.12 wide - are arranged along especially constructed white walls, in a rigorously cadenced configuration. 

The seven canvases dedicated to Vedova are for the most part monochrome or bicoloured and their titles afford the public a glimpse into the relationship between the artist and his longstanding friend Emilio Vedova.

"The dense magma of pigment, of matiere, typical of Baselitz's more
expressionistic works,
is diluted here...These are lively poetic creations."
Philip Rylands 
describes the ten canvases dedicated by Baselitz to his wife and to Speiseeis - ice cream 
The ice cream paintings, with their range of different flavours, are images of the artist's wife. They have been married more than sixty years and his first portrait of her dates back to 1969. 

The exhibition is organised in collaboration with 
Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac - London - Paris - Salzburg.

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Monday, June 21, 2021

The Royal Gardens of Venice - Echoes of the Forest - Maria Thereza Alves - Jimmie Durham

Echoes of the Forest
Labinac at the Royal Gardens of Venice
 Maria Thereza Alves and Jimmie Durham
Adele Re Rebaudengo, president of the Venice Garden Foundation, and curator Chiara Bertola invited artists Maria Thereza Alves and Jimmie Durham to show selected works by their design collective Labinac in the greenhouse of the Royal Gardens, The Human Garden, during the 2021 Venice Architecture Biennale. They were also commissioned to design work tables in keeping with the Foundation's idea that the gardens should also be a meeting place where researchers and artists can develop the vast metaphorical concept of the garden, sowing signs, sounds and words, cultivating and nurturing new visions.

The exhibition is viewable by appointment only - from 3-17th September 
"Architecture must begin with a specific place, considering the nature
of the surroundings.  Every building is created in a garden, whether or not that is recognised."
Maria Thereza Alves
Jimmi Durham, Kai-Morten Vollmer and Maria Thereza Alves 

The exhibition also includes eight one of a kind vases designed by Maria Thereza Alves. The vases were made in different glass workshops through a process of experimentation between the artist and the master glassblowers. Jimmie Durham exhibits a chandelier inspired by trees and the play of light on leaves and on broken glass. 
Maria Thereza Alves - vases for Labinac
"On the occasion of the 17th Architecture Biennale, the Foundation presents Labinac's Echoes of the Forrest, works by Maria Thereza Alves and Jimmie Durham, in the greenhouse of the Royal Gardens, The Human Garden. The artists were invited to present their works in recognition of their particular sensitivity
and the attention they dedicate to translating everyday objects and natural materials into sculptures with vivid organic forms. Alves and Durham share many years of artistic experience working to defend culture, nature and human rights."
Adele Re Rebaudengo
President - Venice Gardens Foundation
Jimmie Durham - Labinac - table for Labinac- 2021
 designed for the Royal Gardens of Venice
Chiara Bertola

Maria Thereza Alves - Labinac - Cloudestone - vase for Labinac - 2018

Maria Thereza Alves - Labinac - vases

Laura Scarpa and Lorenzo Cinotti
Maria Thereza Alves - Labinac - Cloudstone - vase for Labinac - 2018
photograph - - courtesy Venice Gardens Foundation
The Royal Gardens of Venice



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Thursday, June 17, 2021

Isola di San Giorgio Maggiore - Fondazione Giorgio Cini - The Borges Labyrinth - A Soundtrack Experience

Isola di San Giorgio Maggiore
Fondazione Giorgio Cini
The Borges Labyrinth - A Soundtrack Experience
The Borges Labyrinth of the Fondazione Giorgio Cini on the magical island of San Giorgio Maggiore is now open to the public for the first time with visits accompanied by new evocative music especially composed by Antonio Fresa and recorded by the orchestra of the Teatro La Fenice, entitled Walking the Labyrinth of which the soundtrack is downloadable from the Visit Cini app.



Renata Codello

Secretary General - Fondazione Giorgio Cini


"The Garden of Forking Paths is an enormous riddle, or parable, whose theme is time: it is this hidden cause that forbids the mention of its name.  Always omitting a word, resorting to inept metaphors and obvious periphrases, is perhaps the most emphatic way of indicating it.  It is the tortuous way that he preferred, in each meander of his indefatigable novel the Oblique Ts'ui Pen".
Jorge Luis Borges
The Garden of Forking Paths


The Borges Labyrinth was created in 2011, built by the Fondazione Giorgio Cini based on a project by the English architect Randoll Coate at the behest of Borges's widow, Maria Kodama, who wanted to remember her husband's love for Venice.  The Labyrinth is inspired by the story of Jorge Luis Borges, The Garden of Forking Paths, and is composed of 3200 boxwood plants, arranged to form the name Borges, it is located behind the foundations two cloisters - the first designed by Andrea Palladio and the second by the Buora brothers -  and runs for one kilometer. On the tenth anniversary of its creation, the 35th anniversary of the death of Borges and the 70th anniversary of the Fondazione Giorgio Cini it is now open to the public.
'Walking the Labyrinth is a four-movement suite that tells the metaphor of existence flowing in reverse, experienced through evaporation, solidity, chaos and the origin of life."
Antonio Fresa
Andrea Erri
Managing Director - Fondazione Teatro La Fenice 


The Borges Labyrinth
Walking the Labyrinth - A Soundtrack Experience
Visitors can walk the labyrinth whilst listening to the evocative beautiful soundtrack composed by Antonio Fresa on their mobile phones through the Visit Cini app.   The Labyrinth despite its complexity of the structure, is almost impossible to get lost in: in the vertigo that the labyrinth can give, you get lost, find yourself, get disorientated, and then, in the end, you can see your way out. 
The music for the Borges Labyrinth was born in the context of the enhancement of museum activities conceived by Ilaria D'Uva, who with her company D'Uva, which specialises in the interpretation of cultural heritage through technology and in museum services in Italy, manages the activities of welcome and guided visits to the Giorgio Cini Foundation, and is also responsible for the San Giorgio Cafe, the island's bistro. 

Ilaria D'Uva
CEO and owner - D'Uva 

The Borges Labyrinth
A Soundtrack Experience






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Monday, June 14, 2021

T Fondaco dei Tedeschi - Venice Design Biennal - Walking on Water - Design as a Self-Portrait

"I want to create a boundary pushing performance which brought me closer to women like myself who would have lived in Venice over a century ago.  The lives of women from working class backgrounds are less documented in Venetian fashion history and less celebrated, yet they have a unique story which sets them apart from any other women in Europe at that time, this is the story that I am going to tell.  This all female performance makes women more visible and rewrites the history of women suppression within the arts."
Jo Cope
conceptual artist using shoes as a vessel to talk about being human
T Fondaco dei Tedeschi- Venice Design Biennal 
Walking on Water - Performance
Walking on Water is the performance and installation project conceived by English conceptual artist, Jo Cope created in collaboration with the Piedaterre brand, specialists in Friulane, the original velvet shoe that from Venice have spread all over the world.
soprano - Lieta Naccari

The performance took place on the "stage" of  the ground floor of the department store T Fondaco dei Tedeschi on the Canal Grande.  The project came to life, combining the choreographed movements of four dancers, the ancient gestures of a shoe craftswoman and the powerful voice of soprano Lieta Naccari. Through the action of walking and the shoe as the means of expression, the artist investigates female condition nowadays in relation to the stories and paths of women of the past, who preceded her.  

Walking on Water - performance

soprano Lieta Naccari and artist Jo Cope


Kristen de la Valiere, Martina Gamboni and Matylda Krzykowski


Francesca Giubilei and Luca Berta
co-curators - Venice Design Biennal



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Wednesday, June 09, 2021

La Biennale di Venezia - The 17th International Architectural Biennale - Giardini - Part 2

La Biennale di Venezia - The 17th International Architectural Biennale 
National Pavilions: Venice - Serbia - Israel - Austria - Denmark - Belgium
Giardini - Part 2
Sapere Come Usare il Sapere
How will we live together? How will we live together well? By creating harmony between humanity and the environment we live in.  An imminent future made of light, culture, beauty, harmony and spatial contact.
Commissioner: Maurizio Carlin - Curator: Giovanna Zabotti - Participants: Michele De Lucchi - AMDL CIRCLE - Emilio Casalini


In the main space is the vision of  the possibilities of suggestions by Michele De Lucchi, who interprets space through experimentation, a reflection on 'how we will live', a path made of visionary structures for a world in rapid change.
"...Earth Stations are multi-engaging spaces 
accessible to all, where people 
arriving and departing can experience
impromptu moments of learning, joy,
interaction and reflection..." 
 Michele De Lucchi
Model and Studies for Education Stations - 2020

"Architecture of spaces, knowledge and relations
shared awareness for community development
harmony of complexity."
Emilio Casalini
The Economy of Bellezza
  Marina and Susanna Sent - glass works 
 8th Kilometer
The main content in the Serbian pavilion is the mining town of Bor, in everyday language the residents refer to the individual places of the town through a measure of their distance from it's open mine pit - which they take as a starting point - zero kilometer - or - the end of the world. The inhabitants system of orientation is analogous to the methodology of planning and construction of the town itself by way of the seven city kilometers. Bor represents an opportunity to redefine the life-work relationship and physical framework.  Therefore, the exhibition and research investigates the future of this relationship through the theme of the '8th kilometer'  - a qualitatively new layer of the town of Bor - that introduces disruption into the order of the existing seven urban zones - kilometers.
Commissioner: Slobodan Jovic  Participants: Moderni u Beogradu - Iva Bekic - Petar Cigic - Dalia Dukanac - Stefan Dordevic - Irena Gajic - Mirjana Jesic - Hristina Stojanovic - Snezana Zlatkovic

Serbia Installation - detail
Land. Milk. Honey.
The exhibition Land of Milk and Honey - the Construction of Plenitude examines the reciprocal relations between humans, animals and the environment within the Israeli context.  The protagonists of the exhibit are animals, both wild and domesticated.  The setting is the land of milk and honey, the region stretching between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, a place many image as holy and promised; the much-contested territory of both Israel and Palestine.
Commissioners: Michael Gov - Arad Turgeman - Curators: Dan Hasson - Iddo Ginat - Rachel Gottesman - Yonatan Cohen - Tamar Novick 

Rachel Gottesman - Dan Hasson - Iddo Ginat - Yonatan Cohen
with Tamar Novick 

After the founding of the state of Israel in 1948, effort were initiated in order to transform the local landscape to better fit European ideals of abundance. Within a few decades the territory experienced far-reaching environmental changes due to initiatives in agronomy, engineering, architecture, and legislation. 

The successful metamorphosis of the region into prosperous agricultural lands came at the cost of irreparable damage to the local fauna and flora, as well as the disruptions of habitats.

Through five case studies - cows, goats, honey bees, water buffaloes, and bats - the Israeli pavilion constructs a spacial history of a place in five acts: Mechanisation; Territory; Cohabitation; Extinction; and Post-Human, thus offering a zoocentric analysis of a land radically transformed by the powers of ideology, religion, and technology.

 Israel Pavilion

Platform Austria 
A phenomenon is haunting the world - the phenomenon of platform urbanism.  Today, it is no longer architects, urban planners, politicians, and citizens who lead decision-making regarding the design of our future habitats.  In their place we are seeing platform developers disrupting conventional forms of spatial production and taking on a global role as planning superpowers.  They are radically reorganising access to a wide spectrum of fundamental domains, such as education, labour, transport, housing, health, and culture.
Commissioner: Austrian Federal Ministry for Arts, Culture, the Civil Service and Sport - Division Arts and Culture - Curators: Peter Mortenbock - Helge Mooshammer

By transforming this new form of monopoly in the Austrian pavilion blog contributions form part of two major installations that highlight the interaction between economics and social forces in platform environments.

Platform Austria has a clear goal: to utilise the unique opportunity presented by the global reach of the Biennale to generate a collaboratively formed study of the impact of platform urbanisation on our cities, as well as, to articulate alternative visions of an architecture we would like to see shaping our future - reclaiming public authority over the task at hand is key to formulating a truly democratic response to the question How will we live together?
"A piece of cloth is suspended from the ceiling.  Water drips onto the cloth and seeps through it onto the floor below....There are herbs. They are watered with the collected water, and life emerges.  Life is movement, change. Change is a way of becoming. We make tea from the herbs; you can borrow a cup to drink from. The world is an open system that we all create together."
All life depends on water. Water exists everywhere on the planet in a dynamic cycle that the exhibition con-nect-ed-ness links to.  Water harvested from the roof of the pavilion is made visible and tangible, it flows through the exhibition - who knows where it has been before and where it will go next? 
Commissioner: Kent Martinussen - The Danish Architecture Center - Curator: Marianne Krogh - Participants: Lungaard & Tranberg Architects

Sigrid Gloerfelt and Isabel Trafton - enjoy a cup of herb tea  

"The reservoir fills up the largest room in the pavilion.  The floor has come un-moored, and catwalks connect firm and fluid ground.  There are multiple catwalks.  They are so narrow that you have to make room for each other.  A mutual negotiation of your shared presence in the room." 


"You can take a seat on one of the sofas, enjoy a cup of tea, watch the others find their footing.  See each other."


Marianne Krogh - curator

"The water flows into a reservoir before returning to its source. A circulatory system, a cyclical rhythm. Constant motion."

The herbs are grown in the pavilion and watered through the reservoir system then dried and ready to make herbal teas for visitors to enjoy.


Raphael Castoriano

"The world is an open system that you help create. Everywhere.  All the time.  The pavilion is an open system, connected to the earth's cycles.  Rainwater is collected and flows throughout the building. Water know no boundaries; it falls and finds its way.  It is collected, purified and led through tanks and pipes, as it has been for centuries. The invisible is made visible."

Test in italics is taken from the pavilion's Soft Manifesto  

Photograph  and copyright by Manfredi Bellati


Composite Presence

How do city and architecture flourish together?  This question is central to this three-dimensional capriccio that displays a fictional yet recognisable urban Flemish environment.  Over time, the formal city in Flanders and Brussels has developed a unique relationship with its architecture.  This staged landscape reveals how historical layers, morphological peculiarities, and unforeseen collisions are an endless source of energy for contemporary architectural production. 
Commissioner: Flanders Architecture Institute - Curator: Bovenbouw Architectuur

Photograph  and copyright by Manfredi Bellati  

Dirk Somer - curator

Fifty recent projects by forty-five contemporary Belgium practices contribute to the imaginary landscape.  This selection of projects depicts a healthy architectural ecology in which different styles, functions, and typologies coincide.












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