Portugal will be represented at the 16th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia with a project titled Public Without Rhetoric curated by Nuno Brandão Costa and Sérgio Mah. The project is the result of a public competition promoted by the Portuguese Ministry of Culture, through the Directorate-General for the Arts and it has the support of Foundations and Institutional Partners.
“Public Without Rhetoric”
26 May – 25 November, 2018
Palazzo Giustinian Lolin
Dorsoduro, 3228, 30123 Venezia
In response to the title “Freespace” – given to Biennale Architettura 2018 by the curators Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara – the Portuguese Pavilion proposes a tour of the “Public Building” through 12 projects created in the last ten years by Portuguese architects, which form the basis for a reflection on architecture in public areas and provide a further contribution to the idea of “Freespace”, the central theme of the 16th International Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia.
Public Without Rhetoric will be installed on the main floor in the Palazzo Giustinian Lolin with a collection of drawings, models and photographs of the 1 2 selected projects that include temporary structures, buildings or infrastructures dedicated to culture, education, sport and mobility. They are the work of several different generations of Portuguese architects born from the 1930s to the 1980s who emphasis – in diversity of programmes and scales – their universalist culture and cross-generational excellence.
A video installation at the entrance illustrates the projects, which are the result of public works carried out since 2007, commissioned by State, regional and local institutions: Arquipélago – Center for Contemporary Arts, São Miguel, Azores, by João Mendes Ribeiro and Menos é Mais (Cristina Guedes and Francisco Vieira de Campos); Public Library and Regional Archives, Angra do Heroísmo, Azores, by Inês Lobo; Gruta das Torres Visitor Center, Pico, Azores by SAMI (Inês Vieira da Silva and Miguel Vieira); Hangar Nautical Centre, Montemor-o-Velho by Miguel Figueira; I3S, Institute of Innovation and Research in Health, Porto, by Serôdio Furtado Associados (Isabel Furtado and João Pedro Serôdio); Naples Metro, Municipio Station, Naples, by Álvaro Siza, Eduardo Souto Moura and Tiago Figueiredo; Douro Breakwaters, Foz do Douro, Porto, by Carlos Prata; Olivier Debré Contemporary Art Centre, Tours, France, b y Aires Mateus e Associados (Manuel Mateus and Francisco Mateus); Pavilions for the exhibition, “Live Uncertainty: an Exhibition after the 32nd Bienal de São Paulo”, Serralves Foundation, Porto, by depA (Carlos Azevedo, João Crisóstomo and Luís Sobral), Diogo Aguiar Studio, FAHR 021.3 (Filipa Fróis Almeida and Hugo Reis), Fala Atelier (Ana Luísa Soares, Filipe Magalhães and Ahmed Belkhodja) and Ottotto (Teresa Otto); Park Pavilions for Albarquel Urban Park, Setúbal by Ricardo Bak Gordon; Thalia Theatre, Lisbon, by Gonçalo Byrne and Barbas Lopes Arquitectos (Diogo Seixas Lopes and Patrícia Barbas); Lisbon Cruise Ship Terminal, Lisbon, by João Luís Carrilho da Graça.
The projects are grouped together to create formal and spatial relationships. The works are exhibited without chronological or generational order, thus escaping any hierarchical reading. The intention is rather to form a compact whole, demonstrating the coherence and rationality of Portuguese architecture, achieved despite a global scenario strongly influenced by the economic crisis. In parallel there is the video installation, composed of a set of films created by four contemporary artists with recognized experience in architectural representation – André Cepeda, Catarina Mour ão, Nuno Cera, Salomé Lamas – documenting the current state of the works and the experience of people who inhabit the “freespace” and thus fulfil the public mission of the works.
The two curators Nuno Brandão Costa and Sérgio Mah point out: “In the last ten years a sort of obsession with public works has arisen, considering them – in the light of the neoliberal guidelines that in recent times have guided Western Europe – an unnecessary and harmful expense. Public buildings such as cultural, educational and sports facilities and infrastructures – continue the curators – belong to the idea of evolution and progressivity as regards social opportunities. They in fact simultaneously reconstruct and rehabilitate the city and renew public space in terms of quality and culture.”
With Public Without Rhetoric Portugal’s presence at the 16th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia 2018 explicitly interprets the “Freespace” theme launched by Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara, underlining just how much State investments in accessible, quality public space is directly correlated to the rise of a democratic, cultured and inclusive society.