The Swiss Pavilion has shared its theme and curators for the representation of Switzerland at the 18th International Architecture Exhibition in Venice Architecture Biennale.
Titled Neighbours, the Swiss Pavilion, curated by the artist Karin Sander and the architecture historian Philip Ursprung, both professors at ETH Zurich, will investigate the notion of Neighbours, bringing the audience to new perspectives on the territorial relations.
The Venice Architecture Biennale 2023 will take place from Saturday 20 May to Sunday 26 November, 2023 at the Arsenale and Giardini venues in Italy.
The theme of the 18th Venice Architecture Biennale is The Laboratory of the Future curated by Lesley Lokko.
Philip Ursprung and Karin Sander. Photo © Saskja Rosset via Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia
The Swiss Pavilion will investigate the two national pavilions, The Swiss and the Venezuelan Pavilion, and a wall that connects as well as separates. The two pavilions will be the focus of Karin Sander’s and Philip Ursprung’s project Neighbours at this year’s event.
The prominent names, Karin Sander and Philip Ursprung, were selected after an open call by the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia.
The Swiss Pavilion was designed by Bruno Giacometti and was opened just over 70 years ago, in June 1952. In immediate vicinity, the Venezuelan Pavilion designed by Italian architect Carlo Scarpa took shape four years later.
Since the old plane trees on both plots are not allowed to be cut down, the architects designed their buildings around the protected trees. The walls, roofs and exteriors of their buildings meet at the closest distance.
Karin Sander and Philip Ursprung will reveal the pavilions’ interconnected ground plans, in which the structural neighbour- ship of the two close architects condenses.
“The Swiss and the Venezuelan Pavilion create an ensemble of exceptional architectural and sculptural quality, although they are conceived as separate because of their representative function, and thus, are staged accordingly,” said the curators, Karin Sander and Philip Ursprung.
“We are rethinking the functions of the two pavilions and their surroundings in a new light and are dissolving their borders with artistic means.”
“In that, we question the spatial, cultural, and political demarcations as well as the conventions of national representation. In a utopian gesture, we are confronting the location with a poetic reality that momentarily gives room to a new point of view,” the curators added.
Neighbours, Karin Sander, Philip Ursprung, Swiss Pavilion, 18th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia, 2023. Image © KS 2023 via Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia
“By invoking Bruno Giacometti’s and Carlo Scarpa’s architectural heritage and the structural history of the Biennale, Karin Sander and Philip Ursprung are exploring architecture as its own form of relationship work. Their artistic intervention offers a new way of exhibiting architecture,” said Philippe Bischof, director of Pro Helvetia, about the project.
Karin Sander is an artist and professor of Art and Architecture, and Philip Ursprung is professor of the History of Art and Architecture, both at ETH Zurich.
For their project Neighbours, Sander and Ursprung are assisted by curatorial manager Sassa Trülzsch, project leader Tobias Becker and researcher Berit Seidel.
The exhibition at the Swiss Pavilion will also be accompanied by a book with essays and photographs, published by Park Books, Zurich.
The exhibition will be complemented by a side programme of panel discussions at the Swiss Pavilion and at Palazzo Trevisan degli Ulivi.
The distinguished panels will be discussing questions such as future exhibition formats for architecture, the future of architecture photography, or the biodiversity at the Giardini of La Biennale.
Further in-depth conversations will be held about the friendship between Bruno Giacometti and Carlo Scarpa, and the neighbourly relations between their national pavilions.
Venice Architecture Biennale also announced its participants for this year’s exhibition.
Other pavilions also announced their themes and details for the 2023 Venice Architecture Biennale, such as Gabriela De Matos and Paulo Tavares were announced as the curators of the Brazilian Pavilion, the Danish Pavilion will explore Coastal Imaginaries curated by Josephine Michau.
Moreover, Turkey Pavilion, curated by SO? co-founders Sevince Bayrak and Oral Göktaş, will investigate Ghost Stories: Carrier Bag Theory of Architecture, the U.S. Pavilion will explore the world’s complex relationship to plastic and the British Pavilion will explore Dancing Before The Moon, curated by Joseph Henry, Meneesha Kellay, Sumitra Upham, the Georgian Pavilion will explore January, February, March, focusing on the relationship between the flow of time and energy at this year’s exhibition.
Top image: Pavilions of Venezuela and Switzerland. Photo © Karin Sander.
> via Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia
Venice Architecture Biennale