An Inquiry into the Design and Aesthetics of the Venice Biennale Pavilions

By Cyrus Manasseh and Paola Favaro.

Published by The International Journal of the Constructed Environment

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Margreiter’s film Pavilion and McQueen’s film Giardini exhibited respectively inside the Austrian Pavilion and the British Pavilion at the 53rd Venice Biennale of Art, question the architecture of the pavilion in general in the constructed environment of the Giardini. Is the architecture used as a container of art or the architectural form, the container itself, to be interpreted as art? Their films are about the places in which they are shot and displayed: the pavilions themselves, the containers of art, which are transformed through the films into architectural sculpture/art objects. Arguably, Margreiter’s and McQueen’s film reveal the extent to which the modern language of architecture of the Venice pavilions, frozen in ‘space’ (within the boundary of the Giardini) and ‘time’ (still contemporary from the date of their realization), seem to conjure that particular primordial ‘timelessness’ which can be valued as one of the main attributes of contemporary architecture in general. These “kaleidoscopic spaces” which are used to haunt our memory are used to stimulate the ontological role of imagination— creating a new experience of the universe via the pavilion.

Keywords: Venice Biennale Pavilion, Design, Aesthetics, Timeless Constructed Environment

The International Journal of the Constructed Environment, Volume 1, Issue 3, pp.71-84. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 4.848MB).

Dr. Cyrus Manasseh

Academic, Writer and Editor., University of Technology, Perth, Sydney, Australia

Dr. Cyrus Manasseh is an experienced Sydney-based writer, musician and academic, and is author of the book The Problematic of Video Art in the Museum 1968-1990 (2009). He holds a PhD from the University of Western Australia in art and philosophy and is a specialist in art, architecture, film history and critical theory. He has published numerous articles and essays on aesthetics, film, video and museology and has presented his research on film, video and spatial aesthetics in international forums in Venice, Prague, Sydney, Beijing and at Harvard University. Dr. Manasseh Lectures in the School of Design at the University of Technology, Sydney, Australia. His publications include ‘The Art Museum in the 19th Century: J. J. Winckelmann’s Influence on the Establishing of the Classical Paradigm of the Art Museum’, ‘Changing Museum Environments: Global Articulations of the Video Text [1968-1990]’, ‘The Cairo Museum, the National Museum of Athens, the Ancient Iran Museum and the Louvre: Curatorial Practices from East to West and Back’, ‘Connecting disciplines and tracing an educated imagination’, Art, Language & Machines: the Interrelationship between Marcel Duchamp, Francis Picabia & Raymond Roussel (under Roussel’s spell)’, Art without the aesthetic?: Defining conceptual & post-conceptual practices’, ‘From Passive White Cube Viewer to Active Black Cube User: Tracking Changes in Museum Environments via Installation Art’, ‘Playgrounds of Disturbance: Bruce Nauman’s “Existentialism” in a Modernist Gallery Space & the Problems of Analogue Video Art in the Gallery’.

Dr. Paola Favaro

Sessional Academic, Architecture Program, Faculty of the Built Environment, The University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Dr. Paola Favaro is a graduate of the Istituto Universitario di Architettura di Venezia (IUAV) and she has more than twenty-five years experience in architectural practice and education in an international context. She holds a PhD in architecture from the University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia. As a sessional academic at the Faculty of the Built Environment, architecture program, Paola teaches architectural design, history and communications. Her recent publications include the book The Contribution of Enrico Taglietti to Canberra’s Architecture, (co-editor Royal Australian Institute of Architects, ACT Chapter, 2007).