A central impetus for this exhibition is to acknowledge the presence of the ‘ghosts’ of Nordic architecture – those architects, theorists and educators—the most famous of which are often described as ‘Modern Masters’—who continue to exert influence on contemporary practice and pedagogy. Indeed, one of the most prominent of these gures, the Norwegian Sverre Fehn, designed the Nordic Pavilion. This exhibition addresses a common challenge faced by Finns, Norwegians and Swedes today: how can a building (or an exhibition, in this instance) exist in a dialogue with its setting when that setting is so charged? For us, this ties into a broader question: how can architecture occupy a legacy while still making progress?
Recognizing Fehn’s original intentions to have the building entirely open, In Therapy treats the Pavilion as an extension of the public space of the Giardini. The central installation of the exhibition—a step-pyramid built using traditional construction techniques from Swedish pine—precisely mirrors the treads and risers of the existing staircase to create a profile-amphitheatre for critical debate and reflection. In other ways, however, it distances itself from the weight of the space in order to confront visitors with an impression, however fleeting, of the state of contemporary Nordic architecture. Here, free from historicism, fundamental questions can be raised: How has architecture over the last nine years developed? Which threads tie them together and what unifying direction, if any, can be discerned? What does it take to be at the cutting edge, trying to conquer new fields? Most importantly: what’s next?