LA BIENNALE DI VENEZIA
13th Mostra Internazionale di Architettura


AIRCRAFT CENTER: Exhibition at the Israeli Pavilion
Curators Erez Ella, Milana Gitzin-Adiram and Dan Handel

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OUT AND ABOUT IN VENICE
Fernando Guerra


Being invited to be part of an event such as this in Venice on the recent history of a country such as Israel -a country I had never visited before nor had any connection to- was a very special opportunity. Not only because it was a unique trip that took me across the whole country, but also because it took me away from the routine of my daily reports, allowing me to participate on a different level as a artist invited to the 22nd edition of the Venice Biennial in the Israeli pavilion called "Aircraft Carrier". The collected works on display confront the dramatic changes in Israeli architecture since 1973, and the American influences that made them possible.

Venice, a city as beautiful as it is impractical, expensive and full of tourists, still preserves its natural charm, and this edition of the biennial has many reasons to make it worth a visit. The theme for this year's Biennale, chosen by its British director David Chipperfield, is 'Common Ground'. It's a choice that hints at architecture's need to refocus on issues like engagement and communication, and to establish shared values.

In the midst of so many exhibitions, book launches and awards ceremonies, personally the most important was the emphasis throughout the event on architectural photography. Not just as a mere illustrator of structures, but as its centerpiece. Several exhibits confirm the photographic image as the communicator par excellence of architecture. Only a visit to the actual site can beat it. Never before has so much been photographed, nor architecture so much discussed, and photography is increasingly fulfilling its relevant role in this communication process. This is important for all those whose make their living from it, such as Iwan Ban, Leonardo Finotti, and Cristobal Palma whom I had the opportunity to meet once again in Venice. Fellow architectural photographers whom I very much respect. We all photograph in different, often competing registers, but above all, we are friends, who reconnect through the structures photographed on the same day, or at events like this.

Having been appointed Canon Explorer, assuming the role of ambassador for Canon Europe in terms of architectural photography, as well as all the collaborations launched in recent months with architectural offices in Brazil, Italy, Spain, France and China, have served to give us strength and contributed to counteracting the prevailing crisis in Portugal, and especially the dismay that it causes.

I feel we are just starting our engines and that everything still remains to be done. And I write "we" because FG + SG are actually 5 people, and the work we do today is more demanding than ever and requires a totally committed team to communicate the best work in Portugal and worldwide every day of the week. Never have we had so much work or high levels of responsibility. Nor have I had as much pleasure in making photography my way of life as today.

Here's to the next events, but above all here's to reconnecting with friends, may there be time for that. Here's to an autumn full of beautiful images.

AIRES MATEUS | Radix | Installation in the exteriors of the Arsenale
13th Mostra Internazionale di Architettura


In the exteriors of the Arsenale is located the installation designed by portuguese office Aires Mateus, an elegant contemporary response to the architectural setting of the Biennale.The installation recognises the nearby docks of the Arsenale designed by Jacopo Sansovino between 1568 and 1573, which is flanked by arched walkways that inspire this structure. Radix is an arch supported on three points with the fourth corner hanging over the water,  turning the otherwise massive steel structure into a lightweight balanced volume.

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ÁLVARO SIZA | Percorso | Installation in the Giardino delle Vergini
13th Mostra Internazionale di Architettura


Alvaro Siza, winner of the 13th Venice Biennale Lifetime Achievement, created this structure in the gardens of the Arsenale, right next to another structure by Eduardo Soto de Moura that we will feature on a separate article. This follows the longtime collaboration of the two Portuguese masters.Alvaro Siza’s structure establishes a relationship with a different aspect of Venice – that of the dense urban environment. Three faceted walls generate two intimate spaces in the middle of the garden designed for the 12th Biennale in 2012 by Piet Oudolf, a tribute to the compact urban tissue of Venice, which frames particular views of the exteriors of the Arsenale.

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EDUARDO SOUTO DE MOURA | Windows | Installation in the Giardino delle Vergini
13th Mostra Internazionale di Architettura


Souto de Moura’s structure overlooks the old buildings in front of the Arsenale from the waterfront, on the path leading to Alvaro Siza. This structure is an exploration of material, building systems and language. The facades frame views of these old buildings, reinterpreting the existing landscape, according to the will of the viewer. According to Souto de Moura “geography becomes how we want it to be. This it the great leap of the modern movement, and as a result of postmodernism”.

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MÁRCIO KOGAN | Arsenale
13th Mostra Internazionale di Architettura


Marcio Kogan's peephole installation in Brazil's national pavillion is among the Venice Architecture Biennale's highlights, in which visitors look through a variety of peepholes in either side of a long black wall. Through each peephole are little video mini-dramas set in the elegant, luxurious V4 house in São Paulo designed by Marcio Kogan.

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