A new role for the pavilions of participating countries
With Rem Koolhaas our aim is to create an exceptional, research-centered Architecture Biennale. There are many new features, thanks in part to the fact that Rem has planned an event that involves all of la Biennale’s sectors.
Let’s begin with the part of the exhibition represented by the pavilions administered independently by the participating countries—whose presence is a unique prerogative of the Venice Biennale. This time, the various commissioners and curators have not been simply informed of the theme adopted by la Biennale curator for “his/her” exhibition. The curator has instead set aside a specific argument for the contribution of all the pavilions (Absorbing Modernity 1914–2014); the suggestion was generally accepted and thus the national pavilions will themselves contribute to and be involved with the overall exhibition theme, entitled Fundamentals, and this will constitute a sizeable part of the overall work. With this initiative, we aim also to give renewed impetus to the relationship between pavilions and the main exhibition. The presence of the national pavilions in our exhibition has over the years resulted alternatively in aspirations to display the specific features of national identity or, on the contrary, to show the country’s ability to be a protagonist in the cosmopolitan world of art and architecture. With the formula adopted this year, the two possible aspirations—one’s own history and participation in modern society—combine, imparting new energy to the pluralism typical of the Biennale. Perhaps for this reason too, the number of participating countries has risen from 55 to 65.