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Exhibition Ireland at Venice

Venice 2012 Theme Announced: ‘Common Ground’


“Common Ground” is the theme for the 13th International Architecture Exhibition, as announced by the newly appointed director David Chipperfield. The 13th International Architecture Exhibition, La Biennale, will take place from 29 August to 25 November 2012 at the Giardini and at the Arsenale (Preview on 27 and 28 August 2012) and in various other venues in Venice.

Chipperfield says of his thematic choice: “I want this Biennale to celebrate a vital, interconnected architectural culture, and pose questions about the intellectual and physical territories that it shares. In the methods of selection of participants, my Biennale will encourage the collaboration and dialogue that I believe is at the heart of architecture, and the title will also serve as a metaphor for architecture’s field of activity.

I am interested in the things that architects share in common, from the conditions of the practice of architecture to the influences, collaborations, histories and affinities that frame and contextualise our work. I want to take the opportunity of the Biennale to reinforce our understanding of architectural culture, and to emphasise the philosophical and practical continuities that define it.

The title ‘Common Ground’ also has a strong connotation of the ground between buildings, the spaces of the city. I want projects in the Biennale to look seriously at the meanings of the spaces made by buildings: the political, social, and public realms of which architecture is a part. I do not want to lose the subject of architecture in a morass of sociological, psychological or artistic speculation, but to try to develop the understanding of the distinct contribution that architecture can make in defining the common ground of the city.

This theme is a deliberate act of resistance towards the image of architecture propagated in much of today’s media of projects springing fully formed from the minds of individual talents. I wish to promote the fact that architecture is internally connected, intellectually and practically, sharing common concerns, influences and intentions.

My method of selecting architects will reinforce the theme by making collaboration and dialogue fundamental to the Biennale. We will invite contributors to make a proposals for exhibits or installations but also ask them to propose others they want to collaborate with. In this way, the initial selection by the curatorial team is complemented by a further series of relationships initiated by selected architects.”

President Paolo Baratta says: “The Biennale exhibitions in recent years had broadened the representation of architecture by emphasizing its connections with a series of big social, urban, environmental and political ‘issues’. So it appeared useful to turn to an architect [such as Kazuyo Sejima and Chipperfield] who demonstrates great interest in architecture as a discipline and raises questions about the elements of which it is composed, about the objectives it pursues, about the constraints that affect it, about the tools that it uses to shape places, spaces, buildings. The next Architecture Exhibition will be characterized by the emphasis on a series of relationships that connect great architects and younger generations that refer to them. This Exhibition will represent a major opportunity to bring both the general public and the world of architecture up to date. This is also why it has already begun to organize the program involving Universities from all around the world, entitled Biennale Sessions, successfully tested during the last edition of the Exhibition.”

The 13th International Architecture Exhibition of the Biennale di Venezia will present the National Participations with their own exhibitions in the Pavilions at the Giardini and at the Arsenale, and in the historic city centre of Venice. This edition will also include selected Collateral Events, presented by international entities and institutions, which will present their exhibitions and initiatives in Venice concurrently with the 13th Exhibition.