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Venice Biennale 2018

Island

Venice Biennale 2018                   © Helene Binet

© Helene Binet

The British Council presents Island at the British Pavilion at the 16th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia, which runs from 26 May to 25 November 2018. 

The curatorial team, Caruso St John Architects with artist Marcus Taylor, respond to the 2018 Biennale’s theme of Freespace – set by Biennale curators Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara – with the construction of a new public space on the roof of the British Pavilion. This elevated piazza offers visitors to the Giardini a place to meet and a unique vantage point looking out across the Lagoon. At the centre of this new public space, the peak of the Pavilion’s roof protrudes up through the floor, suggesting both an island and a sunken world beneath. Below, the doors of the Pavilion are open to visitors, but the building is empty of exhibits.

Throughout the Biennale, the British Pavilion will programme a unique series of events including poetry, performance, film and architectural talks and debates in response to Freespace and ideas raised by Island.

ISLAND opens at the British Pavilion

24 May 2018
by Kate Le Versha

Island is now open at the British Pavilion in Venice for this year's Architecture Biennale: 26 May to 25 November 2018

Our curatorial team, Caruso St John Architects with artist Marcus Taylor, have responded to Freespace, the theme of the Venice Architecture Biennale 2018 – set by the curators Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara – with the construction of a new public gathering space in the Giardini in Venice.

Visitors approaching the British Pavilion will find the building covered with scaffolding supporting a wooden platform at roof-level. A staircase running the length of one side of the building leads up to an elevated piazza, a place to meet or to relax amongst the tree-tops of the Giardini, open to the sky with views across the Lagoon. Tea will be served at 4 pm each day, with seats and umbrellas offering comfort and shade. The peak of the Pavilion’s roof projects up through the floor at the centre of the space, suggesting both an island and a sunken world beneath.

Throughout La Biennale di Venezia, the British Pavilion will host a programme of events, performances, installations and debates responding to the theme of Freespace and ideas raised by Island. The programme is launched at the opening of the Pavilion with a performance by spoken word artist Kate Tempest and has been produced in collaboration with partners including Tate Collective, the Royal Academy of Arts, the Design Museum, musician Matthew Herbert, poet Inua Ellams, Studio Wayne McGregor and many more. It will address topics ranging from migration and decolonisation to language and borders, from isolation and identity to buildings and landscapes. With the exception of these performances, the building will be empty, abandoned and untouched after the last exhibition. A detailed Pavilion schedule will be made available to visitors at the start of each month from June to November and please find updates on our programme page on the British Pavilion website here.

“In past Biennales, the Pavilion has held curated exhibitions on architectural themes. This year, we have taken a different approach. There will be no exhibits; instead we have realised a structure that can be experienced like a building. There are many ways to interpret the experience of visiting Island and the state of the building suggests many themes; including abandonment, reconstruction, sanctuary, Brexit, isolation, colonialism and climate change. It is intended as a platform, in this case also literally, for a new and optimistic beginning. It is forward-looking whilst acknowledging the past, whether good or bad.” - 2018 curators Adam Caruso, Peter St John and Marcus Taylor

“This year’s winning proposal, Island, will represent Great Britain at the most influential gathering for contemporary art and architecture anywhere in the world. We are thrilled to present this new structure for the British Pavilion which breaks with convention, creating a place for visitors to meet and engage with the building and each other, in a new way. The accompanying programme of events will highlight the Pavilion’s role as a space for debate, for exchange of ideas and for visionary thinking.” Sarah Mann, Director of Architecture Design Fashion at the British Council and Commissioner of the British Pavilion 2018

An accompanying publication brings together a collection of works that have informed the project. Published by The Store X The Spaces, the book features contributions from Kate Tempest and artist John Akomfrah, a reprint of Shakespeare’s Tempest and three short stories by Trinidad-born writer Sam Sevlon. The publication also features installation photographs by architectural photographer Hélène Binet and an introductory essay by Penelope Curtis, director of Lisbon’s Museu Calouste Gulbenkian. John Morgan studio has created a graphic identity for the project that takes its cue from the first edition of James Joyce’s Ulysses, the cover of which, with the title set in white on a blue background, was said to resemble a chain of white islands in a blue sea. The book can be bought at La Biennale shop and online at The Spaces: www.thespaces.com/books

Find out more about the British Pavilion in Venice here.

Category
British Council Project

Location
Italy

Tags
Venice Biennale 2018

25 May 2018

Take a tour of ISLAND at the British Pavilion

Take a tour of ISLAND at the British Pavilion

24 May 2018

ISLAND opens at the British Pavilion

ISLAND opens at the British Pavilion Helene Binet

Helene Binet

26 May 2018

ISLAND Awarded Special Mention

ISLAND Awarded Special Mention  Jacopo Salvi, courtesy La Biennale di Venezia

Jacopo Salvi, courtesy La Biennale di Venezia

6 March 2018

Island at the British Pavilion in Venice

Island at the British Pavilion in Venice © John Morgan Studio for British Council

© John Morgan Studio for British Council

26 February 2018

UK in Venice 2018: Call for exhibitor details

UK in Venice 2018: Call for exhibitor details

29 September 2017

Winning team for the British Pavilion 2018

Winning team for the British Pavilion 2018  © LUCIA SCERANKOVA

© LUCIA SCERANKOVA