Poland is strongly represented at the 15th International Architecture Exhibition in Venice. Polish architects are displaying their works not only in the national pavilion but also, for the first time, at the main exhibition in the Arsenale and at the various events which accompany or take place alongside the prestigious Biennale. The debate over the future of architecture as a field with great potential to change the quality of people's lives is the leitmotif of the 2016 Biennale, which is held under the title Reporting from the Front.
Construction workers in the Polish Pavilion – Fair Building project
The Polish Pavilion has this time been transformed into a full-scale construction site. The curators of this extraordinary exhibition, Dominika Janicka in collaboration with Martyna Janicka and Michał Gdak, have decided to draw people’s attention to the most under-represented participants in the architectural process, i.e., construction workers. They note in the press materials:
Bad working conditions, a lack of respect, and site accidents plague the industry worldwide, but these difficulties often get overlooked in favour of deadlines, budgets, and the public demand for new architecture.
The project poses an important question: why don’t buildings come with fair trade marks?
The Polish exhibition in Venice has been recommended by the New York Times as one of the six ‘not-to-miss shows’ at the Venice Architecture Biennale. The Fair Building project is on display in the Polish Pavilion in Giardini from 28th May to 27th November. For more information visit, the Zachęta Gallery's website.
Kowalski and Szczelina at the main exhibition in the Arsenale
The main exhibition in the Arsenale is a must-visit of the Venice Architecture Biennale. Titled Reporting from the Front, it is curated by Alejandro Aravena, winner of the Pritzker Prize, which is considered the Nobel Prize of architecture. This is the first time Polish creators have been invited to participate in the show. Architect Hugon Kowalski and critic Marcin Sczelina are presenting their installation Let’s Talk about Garbage, which comprises 27 tons of post-industrial waste, so-called ‘clean waste’. Their work takes on the issue of the potential architecture may have to reduce waste production. They note in the press materials:
Recycling is a contemporary answer to the problem of the overproduction of waste generated by lifestyles focused on consumption. Recycling seems to be the only chance of slowing down the polluting of our planet with garbage.
Let’s Talk about Garbage is held from 28th May to 27th November. The installation will move to Katowice in 2017. For more information, visit the project's website.
Time Space Existence exhibition
The Time Space Existence exhibition in Palazzo Bembo is one of the events that accompany the Architecture Biennale. It showcases works by architects and architecture photographers –those who in their art deal with the philosophical concepts of time, space, and existence. Two Polish ateliers take part in the exhibition: Ingarden & Ewý Architects from Kraków and KAMJZ Architects from Warsaw. Also on display are photos by Stanisław Chomicki, who was born in Poland and now lives and works in Germany. The exhibition is held from 28th May to 27th November. For more information, visit the organisers’ website.
The International Art and Architecture Festival BORDERS is held in Venice at approximately the same time as the Architecture Biennale. Its highlights include the Bodies+Cities Skin exhibition, which, among various other works, showcases projects by two Polish ateliers: JEMS and KAMJZ, the latter presenting their concepts for futuristic eco-friendly filling stations. The exposition takes place from 29th May to 28th July in the Venice Art House Gallery and Palazzo Ca’ Zandari. For more information, visit the organiser’s website.
IN practice research project
IN Practice is an international research project conducted in recent months by the Italian Association for Architecture and Criticism (AIAC) and A10 New European Architecture magazine. Its aim is to investigate and present an overview of architecture firms which cannot be labelled either as ‘young, beginner architects’ or ‘starchitects’. The results of the IN Practice project and the book of the same title were presented on 26th May 2016 as part of the fourth edition of the Architects Meet in Fuoribiennale conference in Palazzo Windmann. Among the 37 firms which have been selected as the most representative practices of their countries is the Warsaw-based atelier JEMS Architects. For more information, visit the project's website.
62 National Pavilions: Summary report by Polish students
Ewa Porębska from the Architektura-Murator (Architecture-Builder) magazine and Michał Wiśniewski from the International Cultural Centre in Kraków are inviting Polish students to take part in the Success Stories workshop, which will be held between 12th and 17th September as part of the 15th Venice Architecture Biennale. Students will visit each national pavilion and conduct a survey which will later serve as a basis for compiling a report on architecture in the respective countries. The workshop's organisers explain:
The responses will be used to draw conclusions in an open public discussion during the Biennale and will be summarized at a conference in Kraków.
For more information, visit the organisers’ website.
Alternative Biennale Urbana
The Warsaw-based Bęc Zmiana Foundation opens the Polish section of the Biennale Urbana, an international platform concerned with the real problems of today’s cities, established in 2014 by the Spazi Docili collective, STALKER architecture group, Bene Comune Teatro Marinoni, and ETH from Zürich. The Bęc Zmiana foundation offers an alternative to the Venice Architecture Biennale, a great exhibition of world’s most prestigious architecture, by introducing their In/Visible City project and scattering it over Venice and the Lido.
The Polish Biennale Urbana section brings together two exhibitions: In/Visible City, which is devoted to grassroots initiatives which can transform cities, and Simple Stories by PAREGA team (Paul Cetnarski, Marta Kowalczyk, Wojciech Mazan and Rafał Śliwa), which investigates the socio-spacial phenomenon of allotment gardens. The opening of the exhibitions took place on 29th May in the Campiello della Maddalena square of the Canneregio district in Venice. For details visit the website of the Polish Biennale Urbana section: Fontego de’ Polacchi.
Sources: press materials, transl. EP July 2016