Opening of the first national pavilion of the Venice architecture Biennale
Tashkent, Uzbekistan (UzDaily.com) -- On 19 May the first National Pavilion of the Republic of Uzbekistan at International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia was unveiled.
For the first time the Republic of Uzbekistan participates in the Venice Architecture Biennale that runs from 22 May to 21 November 2021 presenting its National Pavilion with the project “Mahalla: Urban Rural Living”.
The opening of the debut project of the National Pavilion of Uzbekistan at the Venice Biennale was attended by the President of the Venice Biennale Roberto Cicutto, the Director-General of UNESCO Audrey Azoulay, Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Uzbekistan, Chairman of the Organizing Committee of the National Pavilion of Uzbekistan Aziz Abdukhakimov, Deputy Chairperson of the Council of the Foundation for the Development of Culture and Arts Saida Mirziyoyeva, Executive Director of the Art and Culture Development Foundation and the Commissioner of the exhibition project Gayane Umerova, as well as participants of the project.
Roberto Cicutto: “I congratulate Uzbekistan with the opening of the first national pavilion. It is a very significant and important project for the whole country. It seems to me that the curators managed to recreate the atmosphere of the mahalla and to convey their idea to the general public. For visitors of the Biennale, it will undoubtedly be an interesting experience to see the pavilion of Uzbekistan and to feel the traditions and culture of Uzbekistan.”
Aziz Abdukhakimov, Chairman of the organising committee of the national pavilion of Uzbekistan: “We are pleased to present the first national pavilion of the Republic of Uzbekistan at the Venice Biennale. The rich architectural heritage of our country and modern cultural, academic, and professional achievements allow us to be full-fledged participants in international dialogue, and to initiate a fruitful cultural exchange and invite foreign experts to discuss pressing regional and global challenges.”
Audrey Azoulay: “This is an incredible experience for Uzbekistan. It is interesting for me to watch the opening of their first National Pavilion. The country is famous for its rich culture, history, and all this has been reflected in their project. Undoubtedly, this is a good start.”
In Uzbekistan, where this tradition primarily functions as a truly rural space embedded in an urban context, this indigenous cultural institution takes on special significance: “We are faced with the task of preserving our heritage – and at the same time adapting it to the requirements of a dynamically changing world. The National Pavilion at the Venice Biennale is an ideal platform for such academic and artistic research, and to engage in conversation with the world's best experts and present the collaborative work to the general public,” – said Saida Mirziyoyeva, Deputy Chairperson of the Council of the Foundation for the Development of Culture and Arts.
The crucial part of the research took place in Tashkent, as explained by Gayane Umerova, the commissioner of the project and the Executive Director of the Art and Culture Development Foundation: “…We are actively engaging the CCA Lab, a cross-disciplinary experimental laboratory of the Center for Contemporary Art in Tashkent, for young and emerging artists and architects. The participants of the Lab took an active part in the local research within the project. Apart from the Lab, and different international scholars, we are working a lot with local academics, who has dedicated many years to studies on architectural and social formation of mahallas, including professors Abdumannop Ziyaev, Shukur Askarov, Mavlyuda Abbasova-Yusupova, Alexey Ulko, Boris Chukhovich, and others.”
The commissioner for the pavilion is the Art and Culture Development Foundation under the Ministry of Culture. The main task of the project is to strengthen the national presence on the global cultural scene.
The exhibition has been curated by Emanuel Christ and Christoph Gantenbein, professors of architecture and design at ETH Zurich and the founding partners of Christ & Gantenbein. Spanish director and sound artist Carlos Casas and Dutch photographer and artist Bas Prinsen have contributed to the project. The exhibition explores the theme of the 17th International Architecture Exhibition “How will we live together?” and addresses an important aspect of the cultural heritage that has been be reproduced inside the Quarta Tesa.
The starting point for the project is the research and documentation of this element of cultural heritage, led by Emanuel Christ and Christoph Gantenbein, together with Adjunct Curator and Head of Research Victoria Easton. The ETH Zurich team worked closely with local scholars, students and laboratory members of the Center for Contemporary Art.
Building on this research, the exhibition offers an academic investigation and produces an artistic statement aimed at the critical reading and exploratory overview of the material.
The conceptual framework of the installation was created by the temporary occupation of the space of Quarta Tesa by a mahalla house from Tashkent. This recreated object allows interaction with the scale, quality and beauty of the interior spaces. Thanks to the atmospheric soundscapes created by Carlos Casas, the viewer is able to experience many different living environments, from room to room. Some of the sound blocks are dynamic, so the sound atmosphere will change throughout the day.
Bas Princen’s images show the invisible spaciousness of houses and are suggestive as they depict details of some of the interior spaces of the mahalla or street landscapes as slightly surreal phenomena encountered on this journey, led by the sonic experience. In addition, a mobile application has been developed based on cloud models of real houses. The mobile application allows visitors to experience the structure of the house suggested by the soundscapes.
Additional information: The Foundation organises and supports events in the fields of fine arts, literature, theatre, music, architecture and choreography on a regular basis. The Foundation establishes international cultural ties and promotes the culture of Uzbekistan on the international arena. Among the Foundation's long-term programmes are the creation of inclusive and accessible environments in the country's cultural institutions, renovation of museums, and the development of cultural patronage and training of new specialists working in museums, theatres and other cultural institutions.h