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[INTERVIEW] Essentially Laurie. Laurie Anderson, musician and experimental artist
Written by Massimo Bran   


To meet Laurie Anderson means, in one word, to meet essence. Really, there’s no other way I can use to describe this condensation of poetry, experimentation, sound, simplicity, vision that show in the many, many ways this unique artist expresses herself and relates to the world. It was so exciting to meet her and, at the same time, a soothing experience. Awe, apprehension are only natural in front of a giant of contemporary culture, and yet they were gone in a second, the time it took for Laurie to smile and establish a connection. Anderson visited Venice in May as an invitee to the Centre for the Humanities and Social Change at the local Ca’ Foscari University. The Centre is the brainchild of Professor Shaul Bassi, who teaches English literature at Ca’ Foscari and who is a staunch promoter of research projects on cultural pluralism. The artist presented her latest book, All the Things I Lost in the Flood. Essays on Pictures, Language and Code, a fascinating, captivating volume and a reflection on the experience of loss, on the mutilation of material memory that follows the destruction of personal memorabilia after a natural disaster. This may be the first act of a hopefully long and fruitful cooperation between the Laurie Anderson and the Centre, seeing as how the two see eye to eye on human rights, environment, and the health of the planet in the broadest possible sense. If this will be the case, as we certainly hope, let’s get ready, because surprise, revelation, and the crossover of the best of modernity will soon gift us with shiny fragments of future and new dimensions of perception.
[INTERVIEW] United Arts. Luciano Benetton, entrepreneur and urban philanthropist
Written by Massimo Bran, Fabio Marzari   


luciano-benetton_09.pngWe met Luciano Benetton to talk about his ideas on art sponsorship and on concrete action of public significance, for youth, for culture. The Benetton Group just carried out another successful project - the restoration of the ancient penitentiary in the centre of Treviso, which now houses permanent collection Imago Mundi and the renovation of the San Teonisto Church, which is now a space for concerts and cultural activity.

Imago mundi

Behind this project are curiosity and enthusiasm. I started with the places I knew the least. I knew northern Africa since we have production sites in Tunisia, but I knew little of Sub-Saharan Africa. I wanted to explore this macroregion and be guided by art. After that, we moved on towards other directions, including Europe. It was such a great experience; we collected a number of temporal, human, social, economic, geographical reference points, globally and locally.


Mapping art

To realize such a large project, you need strong cooperation locally. You need curators who know their country well and are able to expand their network to best represent its art. There are a few countries where it’s hard to do that. Think Somalia, Libya, or Syria – those were no walk in the park, but how rewarding was the outcome. There are no theoretical limits to the mapping of art, it depends wholly on us. We want to end this first chapter with 200 catalogues by next year, 27 or 28 of whom have been realized in China. We met authors from China in San Giorgio Island who will collect art from 56 ethnicities in China. Of course we accepted and we will produce the exhibition next year, which will also be the 70th anniversary of the Revolution.

16. BIENNALE ARCHITETTURA | The poetry of real. Fieldoffice Architects making places
Written by Chiara Sciascia   

06_portrait-of-fieldoffice.pngCollateral Events | TAIWAN


Architect Sheng-Yuan Huang has been working ofr over ten years in Yilan county with his team at Fieldoffice Architects to promote the value of architecture as a dialogue between a place and the people who live in it, a connection between natural and artificial elements.


Presented by the Taiwan Ministry of Culture and produced by the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, Collateral Event Living with Sky, Water, and Mountain: Making Places in Yilan answers perfectly to the call for Freespace of the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale.

16. BIENNALE ARCHITETTURA | Progressive utopia. If you can dream it, you can make it
Written by Davide Carbone   

curatori_rcr_rafael-aranda-carme-pigem-and-ramon-vilalta-albert-bertran.pngCollateral Events | CATALONIA


Utopia becomes real in La Vila, where the mental mechanism that generated it appears before our eyes.


La Vila is a project by Rafael Aranda, Carme Pigem, and Ramon Vilalta.

We enter the immaterial space of an oneiric world through Threshold and Dream, a cave of light and motion where each of us can shape their own perception and experience.

16. BIENNALE ARCHITETTURA | Mental projection. Architecture between people and space
Written by Redazioneweb   

image03.pngCollateral Events | MACAU


Among saturated high-rises in Macau, by the quiet trails at Lou Lim Ieoc Gardens and the ruins of the ancient St. Paul’s Cathedral, or in the bustling market in Rua da Emenda, we may see the harmonious interaction between people and architecture as it undergoes an ‘unintentional’ transformation with the passage of time and social mores, acquiring local taste and vitality.


The exhibition uses playing cards to symbolize the economic boom of Macau, a growing international city.

16. BIENNALE ARCHITETTURA | Beyond gray. Design, art and architecture
Written by Redazioneweb   





The Republic of San Marino traces a direct line between architecture and art, by expanding the scope of its Friendship Project (created for the Art Biennale) and questioning how creativity and colour influence the development of new urban areas.


Dancing lamps, mischievous benches, pop-art décor are at the centre of this three-project exhibition.


The rationale of what we see is the establishment of a nexus between dweller and architecture and between architect and interior designer to achieve a comprehensive solution for the improvement of the quality of life.


Urban Colours looks at the transformation of urban areas, or liveable areas, and the relation between colour and art.

16. BIENNALE ARCHITETTURA | Space within spaces. The Karachi experience
Written by Davide Carbone   

press-image-02.pngPAKISTAN | new entry


The unprecedented growth of Karachi, Pakistani megalopolis of over 20 million, crated an unsurmountable gap between the supply and demand for housing and favoured the appearance of open spaces for conviviality.


The only available spaces are the gaps between two buildings, which became spaces of great liveliness.


These tight places serve the dual function of communication route and a channel for sociability.

16. BIENNALE ARCHITETTURA | Meeting points. Generational show-off
Written by Davide Carbone   



Twelve projects of public buildings created over the last ten years by different generations of architects are the core of the Portuguese exhibition.


On one side, drawings, models and photographs show projects in no chronological or hierarchical order to highlight the universal culture and the trans-generational excellence of Portuguese architects in the 1930-1989 period; on the other side, a series of art movies show a cross-section on the current state of those buildings and on the lives of the people who live in them.

16. BIENNALE ARCHITETTURA | Backbone Italy. An architectural journey from North to South
Written by Marisa Santin   

03_06.png  ITALY


Through a fascinating semantic turn, the curator of the Italian Pavilion Mario Cucinella transforms our Peninsula into an Archipelago, literally a group of islands, a project that significantly intends to analyse a land strip of the Italian territory which is actually the farthest from the sea.


The project concentrates its attention on inland Italy, along a path of eight itineraries that explore a hundred sites characterised by small quality architectures cases, selected through a public call.


The journey, of which the curator himself takes the lead in a docu-film screened at the entrance of the Pavilion, focuses on the relevance that indigenous communities and cultures have in defining inhabited spaces.

16. BIENNALE ARCHITETTURA | Made to measure. Urban investigations
Written by Davide Carbone   



A discreet, precise look on daily life in four urban areas in Dubai and Abu Dhabi that are still people-oriented and people-sized.


Specifically, the exhibition shows designs for residential districts divided in blocks and criss-crossed with large highways and narrow walkways (sikkak).


This indepth study reveals the architectural and anthropological aspects of these four areas.

16. BIENNALE ARCHITETTURA | Escape from the city. Nostalgia and future
Written by Redazioneweb   

04-philip-f.pngCHINA People's Republic of China


China looks back at its past and its tradition, even if nostalgia won’t replace the lucidity and practicality of the present and the future.


Xiangchou, or homesickness, refers to rural China and is the starting concept the Pavilion explores in its study of Chinese culture.

16. BIENNALE ARCHITETTURA | The train ride of a lifetime. Architecture sizes up memory
Written by Fabio Marzari   



The Pavilion is called Station Russia and it was designed, back in the day, by Alexey Shchusev, who also designed the Kazanskaya Railway Terminal in Moscow. There is, in fact, a certain similarity between the two designs.


The real protagonist, though, is the immense size of Russia and its railways, which cut through it in all direction.

16. BIENNALE ARCHITETTURA | A world in an island. The freedom to build
Written by Fabio Marzari   



The British Pavilion presents Island, an original, provocative exhibition.


The curators left the halls completely empty.

The real exhibition is a large terrace installed atop the pavilion and supported by scaffolding that wraps up the whole building.


From the platform, visitors will enjoy the view of the Lagoon and the Giardini.

16. BIENNALE ARCHITETTURA | Architectural resolutions. Sacred places and coexistence
Written by Chiara Sciascia   



In the geopolitical context of the Holy Land, the combination of historical events, traditions and myth created an extraordinary concentration of sacred places. The exhibition explores the institution of Status Quo, initiated in the XIX century to settle conflicts and facilitate coexistence in sacred places.

16. BIENNALE ARCHITETTURA | Urban Exploration. Looking for the future
Written by Fabio Marzari   



The French Pavilion entrusted group Encore Heureux to reflect on the theme of Freespace.


Architects Nicola Delon, Julien Choppin, and Sébastien Eymard recycled last year’s exhibition, Studio Venezia by Xavier Veilhan, to tell the story of ten third-party spaces.

16. BIENNALE ARCHITETTURA | My Country, Europe. Brussels and the urban fabric of the EU
Written by Fabio Marzari   



The Belgian Pavilion at Biennale, built in 1907, is the second oldest after the Italian. Project Eurotopie is about the geographical and political centre of the continent, the European district in Brussels


The district is more than a set of shared physical spaces, it is the expression of a political system, which is now seen as too distant from the citizens.

16. BIENNALE ARCHITETTURA | The voice of modern Architecture. Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement to Kenneth Frampton
Written by Giovanni Vio   



«Through his work, Kenneth Frampton occupies a position of extraordinary insight and intelligence combined with a unique sense of integrity. He stands out as the voice of truth in the promotion of key values of architecture and its role in society [...]».

(Yvonne Farrell, Shelley McNamara)


Today we rarely ever read text on paper; we’d rather look at it on a screen, maybe just extracts or even just the images. In this world, however, Modern Architecture: A Critical History, first published in 1980, still enjoys considerable success both as a student textbook in design or history, and to peruse, skim or scan at will.


Author Kenneth Frampton says of himself that he is no theoretician but simply someone who writes about architecture. As Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara have incisively pointed out, Frampton’s analysis is humanistic in spirit. He deserves acclaim for deconstructing the product of architecture to explore the bi-directional relationships between the built object, the space, society and the individual person, to identify the motivations and stimuli that bring about certain choices and determine the destiny of a project.

In any culture, innovation and tradition are strongly interwoven; and as he argued in Towards a Critical Regionalism: Six Points for an Architecture of Resistance (1983), they turn projects into a bridge between the present and the past, or multiple pasts.


This critical acuity is partly derived from Frampton’s experience as a practising architect before he switched to teaching.

Certainly, we are looking at practical knowledge involving asking fundamental questions, detached from philosophies that, particularly when applied to the contemporary, risk irrelevance. Materials, technology and tradition as it impacts a project’s location are some of the elements on which any design depends, as he affirmed in Studies in Tectonic Structures (1995).

16. BIENNALE ARCHITETTURA | Baratta, Farrel & McNamara: Our free space for you
Written by Paolo Baratta, Yvonne Farrell, Shelley McNamara   

Perché una mostra d’Architettura?

Perché persone non specialiste devono visitarla?

Perché la Biennale dura sei mesi, un tempo infinito se consideriamo le altre manifestazioni di Architettura del passato? Perché è importante oggi visitarla?

La ragione la possiamo scoprire direttamente noi, se una volta tanto pensiamo a noi stessi con uno sguardo più ampio, e ci rendiamo conto di quanto poco tempo dedichiamo a pensare allo spazio nel quale pur viviamo e operiamo, e che abitiamo nel più completo senso del termine.

Come dobbiamo viverlo, come possiamo meglio conoscerlo? Con quali strumenti? Come possiamo esprimere le nostre aspirazioni di persone civili che, oltre a essere consumatrici di merci e occupanti volumi costruiti, possono scoprire quanta ricchezza nascosta sta intorno a noi, nei momenti in cui avvertiamo che lo spazio che ci circonda è stato pensato, e ci risulta chiaro che anche noi, ora e qui, siamo l’oggetto di quel lontano pensiero? Una ricchezza non rilevata dalle statistiche sul reddito o sui patrimoni. E lo spazio libero e gratuito che l’architettura può contribuire a creare, non è forse un diritto per poter affermare una diversa qualità di vita? La Biennale Architettura ci attende, per fare un passo avanti nella costruzione della nostra civiltà.

[ Paolo Baratta ]



Ci auguriamo che la Biennale dia alle persone il coraggio di capire che la nostra professione arricchisce veramente la vita di tutti, che non è un extra, un qualcosa in più che semplicemente succede, ma una componente vitale per il futuro del mondo. Nel manifesto Freespace parliamo della Terra come cliente perché sappiamo che nei prossimi 50 anni il mondo sarà sempre più urbanizzato, il che significa che sarà sempre più un mondo costruito da architetti. Dentro la nostra professione abbiamo bisogno di trovare coraggio; al di fuori di essa abbiamo bisogno di trovare sostegno. Per questo, nell’affrontare l’impegno della curatela, abbiamo soprattutto cercato un modo di celebrare l’architettura in sé e per sé.

[ Yvonne Farrell, Shelley McNamara ]


Sul 'Lago Salato'. In ricordo di Gillo Dorfles
Written by Paolo Lucchetta   

gillo-dorfles.jpgCamicia blu, pantaloni giallo senape, ai piedi scarpe da ginnastica All Star rosse: in una foto di un paio di anni fa, e ripresa in questi giorni da decine di prime pagine di giornali e siti, c’è Gillo Dorfles con il vecchio amico Arnaldo Pomodoro mentre guarda dei disegni. Non fosse per il volto segnato dal tempo, sembra un ragazzo. Ognuno di noi (sto pensando a ben quattro generazioni di persone affascinate dagli enigmi dell’estetica) potrebbe raccontare in quale modo ha avuto a che fare con le opere di quel ‘ragazzo’ triestino, lasciandosi così coinvolgere in un sistema di lettura della civiltà Occidentale contemporanea.


Mi imbattei in Gillo Dorfles a sedici anni. Le oscillazioni del gusto, Einaudi, 1970 era già presente nella libreria di mio padre e fu lui a introdurmi al suo pensiero, illustrandomi, tra il divertito e il fiducioso, un libro dalla copertina rigida gialla di un autore che veniva già allora definito il decano dell’estetica moderna, il maestro dei maestri. Fu la prima volta che sentii descrivere da mio padre perché la “complessità non nuoce” se si è disposti a coniugare tra loro le cose del mondo, la pittura, la linguistica, il disegno industriale, l’internazionalismo, la moda, la fotografia, la pubblicità. “La complessità che non nuoce” era quella complessità che Gillo ha accolto, cresciuto, nutrito, curato, capito, approfondito e divulgato e che quel libro metteva a fuoco con un cambio di registro, un’attenzione tutt’altro che semplicistica al mutare di un’epoca. Erano finiti gli anni ‘60 e con essi anche quel modo di indagare i fenomeni estetici fondato sull’idea dei valori eterni e sull’autonomia dell’arte.

INCONTRO | Bentornato Presidente! Canova accompagna Washington negli Stati Uniti...
Written by Fabio Marzari   

washington.jpgUn progetto che parte da un piccolo paesino adagiato nei colli asolani – Possagno – che ha dato i natali ad Antonio Canova, un genio della scultura, che approda a New York alla Frick Collection, ex residenza del magnate dell’acciaio Henry Clay Frick, affacciata su Central Park, che ospita la sua preziosissima raccolta d’arte, passando per Venezia, dove una donna vulcanica e capace di non arrendersi davanti a qualsivoglia ostacolo ha saputo creare un ponte tra due Continenti unendo Canova e la sua arte con George Washington. Nel 1816 a Raleigh, capitale dello Stato della North Carolina, il Parlamento commissionò una statua a figura intera di George Washington da collocare nella sala del Senato. Thomas Jefferson, convinto che nessuno scultore americano fosse all’altezza dell’incarico, propose il nome di Antonio Canova, all’epoca uno degli artisti più acclamati del mondo.


La statua, prima e unica opera eseguita da Canova per gli Stati Uniti, su suggerimento di Jefferson rappresentava il primo presidente della nazione nelle vesti di un condottiero romano mentre stila il proprio discorso di commiato. L’opera venne svelata nel 1821 e il plauso fu tale da richiamare visitatori da ogni dove. Solo un decennio più tardi un tragico incendio divampò nel Palazzo del Parlamento riducendo la statua a un ammasso di frammenti. Il calco in gesso della statua, conservato al Museo canoviano di Possagno, a distanza di quasi due secoli torna ora in America come ospite d’onore della Frick Collection nel contesto del progetto Canova’s George Washington, esposto al pubblico di New York dal 22 maggio al 23 settembre 2018.




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