Venice Biennial

Art of Many – The Right to Space

The exhibition, Art of Many and the Right to Space is the Danish contribution to the 15th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia. The exhibition will show how Danish architects insist on creating high quality architecture that benefits the community as a whole rather than just a selected minority. The exhibition contains the work not of a single architect, but of more than 70 architecture practices, together demonstrating the wide-ranging social commitment and humanistic approach, which make Danish architecture something very special.

The Chilean architect, Alejandro Aravena, curator of the 15th International Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia, has asked the participating countries to single out today’s “front zones”.  The Danish pavilion will express this theme in a narrative about how Danish architects, together with planners, politicians and developers, work day in and day out to renew the Danish tradition of conceiving and constructing communities and social institutions around human beings.  

There are more than 130 projects in the exhibition. All are examples of the fact that it is not all about creating architectural showcases and prestigious projects for a minority and mass-produced building stock for the majority. Far from it. Danish architects work to create public spaces, hospitals, council housing, educational institutions, workplaces etc. for the benefit of the community, creating fresh, spatial interpretations of Danish democracy and society. 

‘Danish architects are doing very well on the international stage. Much of this success is predicated on our humanistic approach to architecture that builds on strong Danish traditions, including the cooperative movement and a commitment to well-designed, high-quality affordable housing for all. We also have a strong competitive tradition, which promotes the best in all projects,” said Kim Herforth Nielsen, Chair of the Danish Arts Foundation Scholarships and Project Support Committee for Architecture. “It is therefore a great pleasure to present an exhibition that displays such exceptional work by so many Danish architects, which all come with topical answers to some of the key challenges facing the world's cities.’  Says Kim Herforth Nielsen, Chairman of the Danish Arts Foundation’s Committee for Architecture.  The Committee has collaborated closely with Danish Architecture Centre and the curators in developing the exhibition and also supported the exhibition financially.

One of the main spaces in the Biennale pavilion is entitled The Right to Space. Here visitors will encounter a video installation about Professor Jan Gehl. Gehl’s 50 years’ work as a critic and advocate for respecting the human being in architecture forms the basis for a discussion about the right to urban space. Jan Gehl has helped to put humanism on the agenda, not only in Denmark, but also in projects such as Times Square in New York, Market Street in San Francisco and urban development projects in the likes of Mexico City and São Paulo. 

The other main space will be a vast cabinet of curiosities containing 130 models, which will occupy the whole space from floor to ceiling in a compact system of scaffolding, through which visitors will move. The abundance and multi-faceted nature of the models with their incredible variety of materiality will create an overwhelming and inspiring experience of diversity in the Danish architecture of today. 

The exhibition ’Art of Many and The Right to Space’ is curated by Boris Brorman Jensen and Kristoffer Lindhardt Weiss and developed in close collaboration between Danish Architecture Centre and the Danish Arts Foundation's Committee for Architecture Grants and Project Funding. The project is supported by Realdania, the Danish Ministry of Culture, the Danish Arts Foundation's Committee for Architecture Grants and Project Funding, the Dreyer Foundation and New Carlsberg Foundation.

The exhibition is on show in the Danish Pavillion in Giardini di Castello from 28th of June to 27. November, 2016.

Read more on Danish Architecture Centre's website

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