For the second year in a row, La Biennale di Venezia is collaborating with the Victoria and Albert Museum, London (V&A) on the Pavilion of Applied Arts at the 57th International Art Exhibition, located in the Sale d’Armi of the Arsenale. The Pavilion, titled “Display – between art and arts & crafts”, is conceived by La Biennale di Venezia with the advice of Bice Curiger, and curated by Cuban-American artist and sculptor Jorge Pardo, whose work blends art and design together. The exhibition features “a steel structure for a summer house in the future”, as Jorge Pardo explained, along with “5 paintings with lights and someone falling, curtains that make me think of Lilly Reich, photos of shows and other things, a very nice bathroom, and photographs in a slide carousel”. He also added, about his installation: “starting to get the ex wife out of my summer house… and maybe some issues in objecthood along the way…”.
La Biennale di Venezia has long been interested in the world of applied arts, and in 2016 initiated a collaboration with the V&A establishing the Pavilion of Applied Arts. The two institutions use the Pavilion to explore this subject and take turns curating an exhibition each year. Last year the V&A curated A World of Fragile Parts, devoted to the past and future of copying cultural heritage, shown as part of the 15th International Architecture Exhibition. La Biennale di Venezia President Paolo Baratta, stated: “The first edition of the Pavilion of Applied Arts took place in 2016 in collaboration with the Victoria and Albert Museum.
This year, according to the agreement, it was up to La Biennale to pick a theme. Therefore, we chose to ask Jorge Pardo to develop a project devoted to the DISPLAY, a theme that could lead to contributions lying halfway between Art and the “Arts and Crafts”. Besides the pavilion, that has been conceived and curated by the Cuban-American artist, the project will also include the next edition of the ‘La Biennale Summer School’. The theme of “Display” is bound to draw long-lasting attention, because of its breadth and of the large number of situations in which the act of displaying can challenge artistic thought and practices bridging art and applied arts. It would perhaps be a good idea to systematically focus on it for the ‘Biennali’ to come. We shall see!”
V&A Director Tristram Hunt stated: “The Victoria and Albert Museum was founded after the 1851 Great Exhibition, and has always combined display and teaching to advance our knowledge of the fine, applied and industrial arts. We are delighted to be joining forces with La Biennale di Venezia again this year on this Pavilion of Applied Arts at the 57th International Art Exhibition, helping to host the exhibition by Jorge Pardo and working together on a summer school that will study the history of the homes we provide for objects-pavilions, museums, shops, and houses. As another machine for display and engine for learning, La Biennale is our perfect partner for the exploration of the applied arts and the contexts that give them life”. In addition to curating the Pavillion of Applied Arts, the collaboration between La Biennale di Venezia and the V&A has also established La Biennale Summer School. The inaugural week long course took place in July 2016 and was organised in collaboration with La Biennale de Venezia, the V&A and the University of Applied Arts, Vienna. The twenty-three participants represented a wide range of professions and included architects, communications professionals, journalists,
academics, designers and artists. A large proportion were students or recent graduates in the fields
of architecture, landscape architecture, law, and industrial design.