Polish Pavilion at the Biennale Architettura 2021

by Robbie

The Trouble in Paradise exhibition in the Polish Pavilion treats the countryside as an independent area of research and seeks within it answers to the main theme of this year’s Biennale Architettura 2021 in Venice: How will we live together?
Exhibition curators, PROLOG +1 collective, in collaboration with an international group of architects and artists, will show that in times of growing local and global crises, rural areas are an important element of building sustainable human environments.

On May 22nd, the opening day of the exhibition, a digital version of the project will launch online at labiennale.art.pl. The exhibition in the Polish Pavilion is organised by Zachęta — National Gallery of Art in Warsaw.

Trouble in Paradise is a multi-faceted story about the future of communal life in the countryside. That is where the authors of the exhibition see the potential for discussion on what is common — going beyond the division into the public and the private. Reflections on the marginalised issue of large rural areas and the progressive migration from cities to these areas became an impulse for the creation of speculative visions by the architectural teams from Europe invited to the project. They are accompanied by an in-depth analysis of forms of working and living in the countryside, which resulted in the Panorama of the Polish Countryside, created in collaboration with Polish artists. The case study of Poland — a country in which 93 per cent of the area is rural — allows us to understand the specificity of post-socialist Central and Eastern Europe and to identify problems and proposals for solving them on a global scale.

The research method adopted by the PROLOG +1 collective aims to create new tools for describing the countryside. The three periods of historical development of rural areas — early capitalist, socialist and late capitalist — are analysed from the point of view of three spatialities: territory, settlement and dwelling, with particular emphasis on colonisation projects carried out by the Polish state over the last century. This made it possible to build a narrative of the exhibition based on two complementary parts: analytical and projectivie.

The space of the Polish Pavilion is filled with a photorealistic panorama of the countryside, printed on fabric and placed on the line of the viewer’s actual horizon. This is the analytical part of the exhibition — it presents characteristic elements of the rural landscape resulting from the processes taking place there over the course of a hundred years. The panorama created by photographers Michał Sierakowski and Paweł Starzec, as well as artist Jan Domicz in collaboration with the PROLOG +1 collective allows for the image to be viewed in two modes: looking at it from a distance gives the impression of being in the landscape, from close up — it allows the viewer to recognise the forms that make it up. ‘Each of the elements visible in the panorama carries information. The objects hold a record of the history of ways of living and working in the countryside, as well as the processes which over the years have preserved the fragmentary nature of the rural landscape’, say members of PROLOG +1.

PROLOG +1 invited six architectural teams from Europe to the project part of the exhibition: Atelier Fanelsa (DE), GUBAHÁMORI + Filip + László Demeter (HU), KOSMOS Architects (RU, CH, AT), Rural Office for Architecture (GB), RZUT (PL) and Traumnovelle (BE). Their members are closely involved with research work in the field of architectural theory and related sciences, as well as with the creation of visions based on the practices of commoning, increasingly accentuated in the architectural discourse. Each team took as its starting point the analysis of one of the three areas (territory, settlement, dwelling) and then extrapolated the solutions to the others, creating an overall picture of the countryside. The result of their work are architectural models, collages and drawings presented in the pavilion against the background of the panorama. The diversity of points of view and the juxtaposition of different perspectives are linked by a reflection on the effects of rural exploitation, climate disasters or global crises — including those whose impact on the fate of the planet and rural areas is yet to be known.

Trouble in Paradise is a kind of review of ideas about communal life in the countryside, the evaluation of which PROLOG +1 leaves the audience of the Polish Pavilion. ‘The countryside, until now considered a periphery, will cease to be one when we stop considering the city as the centre. The countryside is not a hierarchical, but a horizontal entity, which we will understand by looking at its landscape. We will then notice the shapes on the horizon and ask ourselves if they are a threat to paradise’, the authors conclude.

The exhibition is accompanied by the book Trouble in Paradise, which includes essays by Platon Issaias & Hamed Khosravi, Pier Vittorio Aureli, Andrea Alberto Dutto, Katarzyna Kajdanek, Łukasz Moll, a photo essay by Jacenty Dędek, as well as texts by the PROLOG +1 team, a photographic Panorama of the Polish Countryside and visualisations of the projects. The book will be available for sale at the Zachęta art bookstore and in La Biennale’s bookstores starting 22 May, as well as for download in digital form at labiennale.art.pl.

POLISH PAVILION AT THE 17TH INTERNATIONAL ARCHITECTURE EXHIBITION
— LA BIENNALE DI VENEZIA
Venice, 22 May–21 November 2021

Trouble in Paradise

curators: PROLOG +1 (Mirabela Jurczenko, Bartosz Kowal, Wojciech Mazan, Bartłomiej Poteralski, Rafał Śliwa and Robert Witczak)

participants
architectural studios: Atelier Fanelsa, GUBAHÁMORI + Filip + László Demeter, KOSMOS Architects, Rural Office for Architecture, RZUT, Traumnovelle
authors of the Panorama of the Polish Countryside: Jan Domicz, Michał Sierakowski, Paweł Starzec, PROLOG +1
authors of the Glossary (online): Michał Sierakowski, Paweł Starzec, Wiktoria Wojciechowska, Patrycja Wojtas, PROLOG +1
exhibition visual identification, book design: zespół wespół

organiser: Zachęta — National Gallery of Art, Warsaw
Polish Pavilion Commissioner: Hanna Wróblewska, director of Zachęta — National Gallery of Art
Polish Pavilion Office: Ewa Mielczarek, Joanna Waśko

labiennale.art.pl

Polish participation at the 17th International Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia was made possible through the financial support of the Ministry of Culture, National Heritage and Sport of the Republic of Poland.
The exhibition in the Polish Pavilion is supported by the Adam Mickiewicz Institute and the Polish Institute in Rome.
Book co-financed by City of Wrocław.

media contact:
Joanna Andruszko / Communication Department, Zachęta — National Gallery of Art
j.andruszko@zacheta.art.pl
+48 693 974 686

Joanna Waśko / Polish Pavilion Office, Zachęta — National Gallery of Art
j.wasko@zacheta.art.pl

Download the information related to this event here.

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