16th International Architecture Exhibition
Curators: Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara
26 May—25 November 2018

Austria’s contribution to the Biennale di Venezia 2018

Commissioner and curator
Verena Konrad

Henke Schreieck 
Sagmeister & Walsh
The three invited teams – LAAC, Henke Schreieck and Sagmeister & Walsh – focus on urban space and architecture as built landscapes in their work. They do so with great consistency, with what is called “attitude”, and with greatest dedication to top quality. They appreciate co-operation and interdisciplinary teamwork. They share an approach in which their interventions – be they architectural in nature, related to urban development or resulting from the logic of design – do not mean that they build in cities but rather build cities. This also means that the aspect of the common good comes to the fore, which becomes more and more important in the current architectural discourse.

For Austria’s contribution to the Biennale di Venezia 2018, the three creative teams will develop an integrated spatial installation made up of three parts. This directly makes reference to the general theme of "Freespace" and elaborates on the significance of free space for urban contexts. It does not refer to real architectures but works on real spaces – spaces that are to make the qualities visible that architects and designers want to create with their work: external and internal, vertical and horizontal connections. The historical pavilion meets contemporary architectural and design language.

Opening of the Austrian Pavilion: 24 May 2018, 3:00 p.m.

Website of the contribution 

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Austria’s contributions are organised and implemented on commission by the Austrian Federal Chancellery and are significantly co-financed by it. They are a starting point for a lively, internationally oriented discussion and strengthen the country’s successful presence and the world-wide renown of Austrian arts, culture and architecture. Austria’s presentations at the Biennale contribute to a vibrant and creative art scene inside and outside Austria. The Venice Biennale is not just a magnet for art enthusiasts from all over the world, it is also an important forum attracting people from around the globe.

Being one of the most significant art exhibitions world-wide, the Venice Biennale is more than a periodic show of the creative achievements of different nations. For decades, it has decisively contributed to contemporary discourse and cultural development. Since 1895 artists from all over the world have presented their works in the national pavilions of the Venice Biennale, which has been complemented by the biannual International Architecture Exhibition since 1980.

The diversity of contributions and country presentations exhibited in the pavilions of the Giardini provide a suitable setting for showcasing the current works of art and architecture for an international audience. Austria was already invited to the very first Biennale in 1895 and ever since, has participated in each Biennale – with two exceptions – and all Architecture Exhibitions.

A review of previous contributions illustrates the great variety of the positions exhibited there. The spectrum of Austrian contributions ranges from Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele and Oskar Kokoschka to the manifold positions of contemporary art, such as Maria Lassnig, Bruno Gironcoli, Arnulf Rainer, VALIE EXPORT, Franz West, Herbert Brandl, Mathias Poledna, Markus Schinwald, Dorit Margreiter, Walter Pichler, Elke Krystufek and Heimo Zobernig, to name just a few. They all showed their works in the Austrian pavilion and successfully represented Austria as a country of the arts. In the field of architecture, too, major projects have been implemented. When Austria participated for the first time in 1991, the country contributed 13 Austrian positions under curator Hans Hollein. Innovation, mutual exchanges and openness to experimental projects permitted inspiration and further development.