“Years of Solitude” second edition of the Biennale d’Architecture d’Orléans

Nestled among the Turbulences, in a Jakob+MacFarlane building on the site of a former military supply depot (18th–19th century), the Frac Centre-Val de Loire is the heart of the Biennale d’Architecture d’Orléans.


Günter Günschel, Stadthalle in Weissenfels, project,1957


Throughout the event, the site has been dedicated to two unique figures from the second half of the 20th century—Fernand Pouillon (Mes réalisations parleront pour moi) [My works will speak for me] and Günter Günschel (Homo Faber: Un récit) [Homo Faber: a tale]. These figures and their legacy are engaged in a back-and-forth with the collective, mutated landscape designed in collaboration with the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc, Los Angeles) (L’architecture comme animal mutant) [Architecture as a mutant animal]. The Frac’s spaces also welcome the MAXXI collection in conversation with the Waiting Land project by Karen Lorhmann and Stefano de Martino, while site-specific productions including work by Takk and Santiago Borja, John Hejduk, Absalon, Ahmed Mater, and Chris Marker are worked into a vocabulary of solitude that punctuates the visitor’s experience.


“Years of Solitude”
11 October, 2019 – 19 January, 2020
Frac Centre
88 Rue du Colombier, Orléans


“Life is an ode to solitude. A desire for distance, the pleasure of being far away. Not that this is a necessity, but through a strange and mysterious collision of thoughts, living is the visceral need for a solitary nostalgia of imbalance. Solitude is an expectation, a protection from the world. Being able to be alone, this is the trial of the century. This Biennale is a call for an archipelago of solitudes.”


Rodrigo Lefèvre et Ronaldo Duschenes (collaboration de Félix Alves de Araújo), Casa Thomas Farkas, 1971
Collection : FAU-USP © Fotografia Motivo

De la solitude à la desolation [From solitude to desolution], Frida Escobedo and the iii

For the second edition of the Biennale d’Architecture d’Orléans, we have invited six guest curators to tell tales of solitude from around the world, in places where architecture is still a form of engagement with reality and a “promise” for freedom: Des rêves vus de près [Dreams Seen Up Close] (Collégiale Saint-Pierre-le-Puellier) looks back on the resistance of the Brazilian group Arquitetura Nova confronting the Brazilian dictatorship (1964–1985) ; Mes réalisations parleront pour moi [My Creations Will Speak for Me] (Les Turbulences) offers an interpretation of the Algerian œuvre of the french architect Fernand Pouillon ; L’étrangère sur terre [This land’s unknown] (Rue Jeanne-d’Arc) brings together Arabic artists and architects whose work contributes to Arabic movements of emancipation from authoritarian discourses and systems; De la solitude à la désolation [From Solitude to Desolation] (Théâtre d’Orléans) delivers an uncompromising analysis of contemporary Mexico; and the collective installation L’architecture comme animal mutant [The Architectural Beast] (Les Turbulences) is a system of hybridization in which all architectural creatures free themselves of their creator.


Lucy McRae, Compression Cradle, 2019. Courtesy Lucy McRae. Photo: Scottie Cameron.


The event affirms its position as a collections biennial. The MAXXI collection therefore takes pride of place, while a monograph entitled Homo Faber: un récit [Homo Faber: a Narrative] presents the work of one of the star architects of the Frac Centre-Val de Loire collection: Günter Günschel (Les Turbulences).

Between these landscapes, works by artists and architects (including John Hejduk, Absalon, Karen Lohrmann & Stefano de Martino, John Cage, Takk, Santiago Borja, Ahmed Mater, Ila Bêka and Louise Lemoine, Lacaton & Vassal, and Julie Nioche) constitute an open-ended primer on the notion – at once feared and desired – of “solitude”.

The Biennale d’Architecture d’Orléans is also a cartography, which is represented through thirteen exhibition sites, three main participating territories (the city of Orléans, Orléans-La Source, Azay-le-Rideau), thirty associated facilities, and over thirty projects undertaken in co-production with art and architecture schools, universities, but also the schools, associations, and residents of the Centre-Val de Loire region.

Architects and artists
AAU Anastas, Palestine
Rand Abdul Jabbar, Iraq
Absalon, Israel
Atelier Manferdini, Italy
BairBalliet, USA
Ila Bêka and Louise Lemoine, Italy / France
Daphné Bengoa, France-Switzerland
André Bloc, France
Santiago Borja, Mexico
John Cage, USA
Bertrand Cavalier, France
Nidhal Chamekh, Tunisia
Paloma Contreras Lomas, Mexico
Abraham Cruzvillegas, Mexico
Design Earth, USA
Hernan Diaz Alonso, USA-Argentina
f-architecture, USA
Miguel Fernández de Castro, Mexique
Bernard Gachet, Switzerland
Griffin Enright, USA
Günter Günschel, Germany
Zaha Hadid, Iraq-UK
Susan Hefuna, Germany-Egypt
John Hejduk, USA
Anne Huffschmid and Jan-Holger Hennies, Germany
Damjan Jovanovic, Serbia
Alberto Kalach, Mexico
Ferda Kolatan, USA
Lacaton & Vassal, France
Karen Lohrmann and Stefano de Martino, Germany / Italy
Jumana Manna,USA
Fabian Marcaccio, Italy
Chris Marker, France
Ahmed Mater, Saudi Arabia
Lucy McRae, United Kingdom – Australia
MTL Collective, Palestine-India
Julie Nioche, France
Objectile, France
Driss Ouadahi, Algeria
Florencia Pita and Co, USA
Ricardo Porro, Cuba
Fernand Pouillon, France
Casey Rehm, USA
Ruy Klein, USA
Beniamino Servino, Italy
Servo LA-Stockholm, USA-Sweden
Sigil Collective, Syria-USA
Takk, Spain
Pascale Marthine Tayou, Cameroon
Testa & Weiser, USA
Laure Tixier and Hervé Rousseau, France
Usina_ctah, Brazil
Tom Wiscombe, USA
Ezra Wube, Ethiopia
Liam Young, Australia
Ala Younis, Kuwait
Tania Ximena and Yóllotl Alvarado, Mexico


News source: Frac Centre
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