BIENNALE ARCHITETTURA 2016 – NATIONAL PARTICIPATION OF RUSSIA

Russia - Biennale Architettura 2016

The main theme of the Russian Pavilion at XV International Architectural Bienniale in Venice in 2016 is VDNKH (The Exhibition of Achievements of National Economy) – not only the past and heritage of The Exhibition of Achievements of National Economy, but also the present and future of the huge park, a lot of exhibition pavilions and the strategy of developing the territory with an aim to make it one of the main cultural platforms in Moscow. 

About Russian Pavillion in Venice
The Russian Pavilion is situated at central alley of Giardini La Biennale di Venezia - one of the most visited places during the Biennale. The development project of the pavilion Academy of Arts has entrusted a prominent architect Alexei Shchusev, who masterfully designed and built in all styles of his era. To build a pavilion in Venice architect offered in the popular in Europe early XX century "Russian style", borrowed motifs from his earlier successful project and the Kazan railway station building in Moscow.Russia up to that time had never erected at the international exhibitions of capital pavilions, but Shchusev coped with its task brilliantly. Hall appeared graceful combination of "Russian style" with quotations from the unique Venetian architecture. The architect thought out design to the smallest detail, creating for him, in particular, and sketches of furniture.Russia up to that time had never erected at the international exhibitions of capital pavilions, but Shchusev coped with its task brilliantly. Hall appeared graceful combination of "Russian style" with quotations from the unique Venetian architecture. The architect thought out design to the smallest detail, creating for him, in particular, and sketches of furniture.
Ideology of Russian exposition for Biennale 2016: Sergey Kuznetsov, Ekaterina Pronicheva, Semyon Mikhailovsky.
In Moscow, the curator of the Russian pavilion was nominated for the 15th International Architecture Biennale to take place in Venice from May 28 to November 27, 2016. It is the Chief Architect of Moscow Sergey Kuznetsov. The co-curator is General Director of VDNH Ekaterina Pronicheva.Sergey Kuznetsov believes that the today’s development of VDNH is a precise reflection of the theme of the upcoming Biennale, which was titled by Alejandro Aravena as Reporting from the Front. ‘The frontline of today is where people expand their environment, that is, between the known territory and the unknown. A most prominent and significant example of it is VDNH – a unique architecture and nature complex with the total area of 500 ha, which used to be almost abandoned and today, before our eyes, is turning into a multifunctional cultural and educational space equally accessible for everyone and offering every visitor something that would please their mind and soul in a unique and individual way’, - says Sergey Kuznetsov. Urban development strategies, modern architecture and integration of various cultural practices helped to restore the VDNH gravity centers and turned the exhibition into a space of equal opportunities, which meets the needs of people in the 21 century. VDNH is the embodiment of the ‘frontline’, where the battle for hearts and minds is led by intellectual, cultural and educational means, and it has become the focus to the exposition in the Russian pavilion at the 15th Architecture Biennale in Venice.
VDNH. Past.
Basic facts about VDNKH and The Russian Pavilion in Venice: VDNKH years of construction - 1935-1955 Over 1000 of artists and architects took part in construction, building and decoration of VDNKH. The territory of VDNKH expands 237,5 ha which is 39,5 times bigger than total area of Giardini La Biennale di Venezia where Venetian Biennale takes place which is only 6 ha. Heritage of VDNH is 49 cultural facilities and 67 exhibition pavilions vs 30 pavilions of Giardini La Biennale di Venezia. Attendance of VDNKH about 24 000 000 individuals per year which is close to the number of tourists visiting Venice annualy. The Russian Pavilion is situated at central alley of Giardini La Biennale di Venezia - one of the most visited places during the Biennale.
VDNH. Present.
Today, VDNH area is actively being renovated, attracting audience with the aid of urban planning means, architectural and educational techniques. The experience has shown that this method proves to be successful: when primitive pleasures are replaced with intellectual ones, visitor numbers are growing. The study of this process has become the main theme of V.D.N.H. URBAN PHENOMENON Project: when we acquaint visitors with the unique atmosphere of the exhibition, its rich history and unique artifacts, at the same time, we explore the mechanism to create a space of culture and equal opportunities, which meets the needs of modern people. The exposition of the Russian Pavilion not only focuses on the stages of the complex formation, but it also serves as a laboratory where strategies for its future development are being devised.
Main sketch of Pavilion
On the sketch shows a section of the pavilion building with the planned exhibition. This sketch reflects  for main exhibition objectives:• Putting the visitors in a context  of creation of VDNH, its past and present. • Considering VDNH as a model of an ideal world, the perfect country. • Consider VDNH not a unique phenomenon, but as something typical in a series of comparable events: European gardens and parks of XVIII-XIX centuries, the tradition of folk festivals, fairs and industrial exhibitions in Russia of the XIX century, as well as international industrial exhibitions, show continuity of the place from Ostankino Park and Sheremetiev’s Manor to VDNH.• Drawing parallels between VDNH and Giardini La Biennale di Venezia, where the Russian pavilion at Venetian Biennale is located. Presenting VDNH as the embassy of one ideal world in another ideal world. And thus having brought the visitors to the question “What should be the ideal space for large-scale representations today.” • Through the allegory of the garden, as the embodiment of the heaven and the ideal world on the earth, to show the question of national cohesion and creating a space of equal opportunities.• To raise the question and make visitors think what is the modern ideal world.• Giving visitors an opportunity to model their own perfect world.
Hall Intro.
The first hall of the exhibition introduces the visitor to the theme of the pavilion, Curator's manifesto and phenomenon of VDNKH, and at the same time giving an opportunity to experience the scale and get acquainted with the history of the VDNKH. There are 2 text blocks at the enterance - an introductory text about from Commissioner of the pavilion and curators manifesto describing presented in the Russian pavilion exposition. In front of the enterance there is a large reproduction of high relief initially made by E.V. Vuchetich “Soviet people, the standard-bearer of the peace - the glory!” (The estimated size of 3500 x 6500 cm). On the right wall of the hall there is animated 3D map of the VDNH. Animated map shows the scale and immensity of the territory of VDNKH. Potential animation content: •       original map of VDNKH territory, showing pavilions, key elements of the design area (fountains, sculptures, etc.), as well as to demonstrate the scale •       history of VDNH from the park Ostankino till VSHV and VDNH (major milestones) •       comparing with other historical and geographic objects (the projection of iconic complexes of the past (the prototypes of VDNKH) and maps of the territory of VDNH since its inception to the present day) VDNH in its modern look and perception has developed as the multilayered phenomenon which has complex cultural interrelations with various practices from the past and the present. The «ideal world» is understood as a series of inter-related worldview platforms, which have been implemented at VDNKH over a period of several stages of its development. These stages are closely related to momentous events which took place in Russia and worldwide during pre-military years and early 1950-s as well as during the years of "thaw", noted by special attention to scientific and technical progress. Severeal different models of the ideal world have been implemented at VDNH at 1930 and 1950-s and both of them have changed the layout and the look of VDNH. The idea of "the ideal world" allows to put VDNKH in one row with the best works of landscape gardening art of the XVIII-XIX including such masterpieces as Versailles, to draw analogies to Giardini La Biennale di Venezia where Venetian Biennale takes place, to emphasize continuity of VDNKH and traditional festivities, fairs and exhibitions in pre-revolutionary Russia, as well as to draw a parallel with system of recreation parks (parks of culture and recreation) in the USSR.
Welcome in Russian Pavilion. 
Exhibition Objectives:• Putting the visitors in a context  of creation of VDNH, its past and present. • Considering VDNKH as a model of an ideal world, the perfect country. • Consider VDNKH not a unique phenomenon, but as something typical in a series of comparable events: European gardens and parks of XVIII-XIX centuries, the tradition of folk festivals, fairs and industrial exhibitions in Russia of the XIX century, as well as international industrial exhibitions, show continuity of the place from Ostankino Park and Sheremetiev’s Manor to VDNKH.• Drawing parallels between VDNKH and Giardini La Biennale di Venezia, where the Russian pavilion at Venetian Biennale is located. Presenting VDNH as the embassy of one ideal world in another ideal world. And thus having brought the visitors to the question “What should be the ideal space for large-scale representations today.” • Through the allegory of the garden, as the embodiment of the heaven and the ideal world on the earth, to show the question of national cohesion and creating a space of equal opportunities.• To raise the question and make visitors think what is the modern ideal world.• Giving visitors an opportunity to model their own perfect world.
Hall THE CRYPT. 
The objects displayed in this hall could be not only the originals, but also the copies of the the sculptural groups decorating pavilions, fountains elements, fragments of ornaments and decorations inside and outside the pavilions, vases, small objects, etc. All the objects are higlighted with spot-ligts as jewellery objects, especiallly the origina artefacts.Exposition is based on the sketches of statues of “National Cohesion” fountain, as it is one of the objects of interest at VDNH and one of the most recognizable symbols of not only of VDNH, but symbol of era as well.The composition of the fountain can not be called simple, but at the same time it had been clear to every peasant with no explanation. Allegorical composition of 16 female figures represented 16 republics of the Soviet Union. Each of the statues is dressed in national costume, and all together they perform something like a dance around the sheaf bundles composed of the most prevalent crop plants. Gold-plated statues of the fountain are strongly associated with the fountains of French Versailles, Bavarian Linderhof and fountain cascades of Peterhof Palace near Saint-Petersburg.The background for the display of real-preserved treasures of VDNH heritage would be the copy objects and decorative elements used on the territory of VDNH.
Hall DISCOVERY.
Central hall of the second floor is the place for display of total multimedia installation. The main aim of the installation is a creation of participation effect. Panoramic installation consists of two parts:The first part is the dome - a demonstration of the dome space of VDNH pavilions, typical pavilion elements, the sky, changing of seasons and time of the day. The second part - vertical - is represented by a circle vertical screen, with the main content part (panorama), including a review of VDNH sights.Combination of cyclorama and projections on the dome/ceiling allow to create the feeling of being a visitor of VDNH pavilion, to take a stroll through its territory, and to get acquainted with the pavilions and iconic objects, as well as to have a close look at some design elements in detail.
Hall RESEARCH`S STUDIO.
Researcher’s office is a small room where visitors can immerse themselves in the private research of suggested theme and VDNH.The room looks like a place just left by the researcher and suggests individual research, study and contemplation.Simple and comfortable furniture, shelves with books, “personal files” of the exhibits and historical events mentioned on the first and second floors and small artefacts, souvenirs and cork models of some of the pavilions. The basis of the exposition are the books, albums, designs, photographs, models, drawings and sketches on the chosen topic, located in the classic rack and on the walls of the room. Modern development plans of VDNH could be also added to the content.To create the effect of the presence of the modern researcher, we post works of contemporary students of the Russian Academy of Fine Arts of St. Petersburg on the walls of the office - sketches, tracings, and some ready works.
Hall FUTURE.
The hall represents laboratory of the future. It offers visitors, inspired by the impressions and knowledge obtained at the exhibition, to model a perfect world of the future themselves, being given a kind of constructing set with social meanings where shape and color determine  particular function - education, entertainment, sports and recreation, etc. and the thoughts of experts in different spheres about an ideal world displayed on the screens with subtitles.The walls, floor, ceiling - all in white. Shelves on the walls of the room are black. Details of the “construction set” are placed at the shelves.In the center of the room there is a table with “construction set” pieces placed in a chaotic manner. This table invites visitors to participate.One of the walls represents the map of VDNH constructed with the use of  “construction set” units. In this case, shelves and details at first sight put in chaotic manner, in fact bring a sense.Construction set units on another walls are arranged by color, shape and function, but bring no common sense.These shelves also contain one or several monitors, broadcasting the video recording the dialog with experts from various fields, accompanied by subtitles, with there subjective opinion and an answer to the question what constitutes an ideal world nowadays.
Russian pavilion openning ceremony. 2016.
Welcome in Russian Pavilion! May-November 2016.
Credits: Story

Sergey Kuznetsov, Ekaterina Pronicheva, Semyon Mikhailovsky

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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