Venice Biennale 2018
LAND proposes for the general theme of the biennale participation a specific take on the concept Free space in terms of territorial density and the landscape dimension of space. It is seen as space unbuilt, accessible, non-privatized, non-urbanized, a space completely open, boundless and generously vast. If one can take it into a single gaze, its limits are pushed against the horizon, conditioned by meteorological phenomenons, seasonal fluctuations, air currents, light and senses.
Open. Unceasing. Boundless.
The Romanian pavilion at the 16th Venice Architecture Biennale brings into discussion human scale over the territory, which is expressed by distance. It becomes a measure for isolation and creates the premises of a primordial state in which, similar to an empty stage awaiting for the actors with their own unexpected narratives, architecture becomes a witness in which small built gestures emphasize its character of free space. Romania has a relatively small population density compared to the European average (80 people/km2) and a modestly developed network of land transportation, which has a positive impact on the density of free spaces and their relatively free accessibility, even for the urban population. The landscape is a morphological feature of our country and often the backdrop of emerging works of architecture. This spatial distribution is at the base of a certain cultural attitude that appears systematically as an alternative to the urban environment, but at the same time showing different degrees of vulnerability.
Thus the curatorial project draws a binomial relationship: territory vs man, to showcase a series of recent architectural pieces that set a delicate dialogue with their surrounding landscape as a topography of their respective free space.
VISUAL CONCEPT OF THE EXHIBITION
Architecture takes centre stage.
The theme of distance and limits as a measure of territory translates in the pavilion into a few main elements of display – the mirror wall, the all-round projection, the semicircular table and static slides.
The mirror wall is the generating element of the pavilion, taking on different roles in the context of the exhibition. Turning it’s back to the entrance it creates mystery, blocking direct access from the outside even visually. Visitors will have to negotiate this left-right distribution element, while it also holds a graphical representation of the concept: a scale of 1:10 of the average distance between two Romanians based on density, which is 126,188 m. Once inside, the mirrors double the dimensions of the pavilion amplifying the sensation of space. On the 3 sides there will be a continuous 360o projection of the selected projects and their surrounding landscape. Lighting will be controlled with a ceiling of textile panels that discreetly cover the skylights. On the 3 sides at eye level there will also be a series of wall-mounted display features that hold additional slides of the projects. This way of presenting the images creates a contrast between the intimate dimension of architecture and the vastness of the projected landscapes. The central piece is a semicircular table of 9.40 m diameter where models, graphical info, text and integrated screens will offer further insight into the selected projects. This table is completed by its own reflection in the mirror to become a full circle. Overall, in the main exhibition space, the projects are displayed in projections and models, like small objects scattered in a vast landscape.
The architecture space is a secret chamber, separated from the main space with a wall on the left of the entrance, very brightly lit, completely white and accessed through two small openings. In this abstract space, the landscape is obliterated and architectural data remains the only display, details that represent on a huge scale how the mind of an architect works: from concrete to abstract and back to concrete. Also two of the wall mounted slides are distinct, containing surprising situations: in front of the second entrance it turns into a periscope toward the actual landscape of the laguna; at the separating wall it shows inside the architecture space exhibition.
The IRCCU Gallery in Campo Santa Fosca will offer an exhibition with a different character and will work as a stand-alone project that is complementary to the pavilion in Giardini. The gallery will be transformed into a workshop space for interdisciplinary events related to landscapes. There will be 4 workshops with students from the 4 faculties of architecture in Romania, and students from Venice, that will last about 1 week each. The workshops will be coordinated by architects together will landscapers, environmental engineers, geographers, sociologists etc. The aim is to create a method of work through cooperation, mutual knowledge and consolidation of new teams – otherwise distinct, and to promote an interdisciplinary style of work. The teams will create their own exhibitions using hardware from the gallery, which will last about 5 weeks each. The idea of distance this time is evoked by closeness, by being together. The resulting projects will also be featured in publications available in both exhibition spaces.
The conceptual connection with the Giardini pavilion will be realized by taking over the key elements: the semicircular table, the mirror wall, the all-round projection and the abstract white space to display the featured projects. These retain different roles in the way the gallery works: during exhibitions and during workshops. We also want to profit of the generous exposure the gallery has to the intense traffic of people, so at the end of each day translucent shaders will cover the windows where the featured landscapes will be projected from the inside.