Curated by architect Boris Brorman Jensen and philosopher Kristoffer Lindhardt Weiss, the exhibition ‘Art of Many and The Right to Space’ is the Danish contribution to this year’s architectural Biennale in Venice, Italy. The exhibition shows how Danish architects insist on creating architecture of high quality that is in tune with the wishes of the many, and not just for the chosen few. It comprises the work of more than 70 Danish architectural firms which, altogether, show both the broad societal commitment and the humanistic approach characteristic of Danish architecture.
Under the title ‘Reporting from the Front’, the director and curator of the architecture section of La Biennale di Venezia, the Chilean and Pritzker prize winning architect Alejandro Aravena, has asked participating countries to identify the innovative front line in architecture just now. In the Danish pavilion, this theme will be reflected in the ways Danish architects, together with planners, politicians and developers, are currently renewing the Danish tradition of thinking about and building society, and its institutions, with humans as a focal point.
Kim Herforth Nielsen, Founding Partner and Creative director of the Danish architectural firm 3XN and Chairman of the Danish Arts Foundation’s Scholarships and Project Support Committee for Architecture, says:
“Danish architects are doing really well on the international architecture scene. That is partly thanks to our humanistic approach to architecture that builds on Danish currents like the cooperative movement, our associations and the Danish housing movement’s ambitions about affordable housing for the many. At the same time, we have a strong competitive tradition that promotes the best in all projects. It is therefore a great pleasure to be able to show an exhibition that shows such a high level among so many Danish architects, which all come with relevant answers to some of the key challenges that the world’s great cities are facing.”
The Danish exhibition is divided into two main spaces. In the first titled, ‘The Right to Space’, the audience experiences a video installation by the Danish architect Jan Gehl of Gehl Architects. Gehl’s work over 50 years as a critic and advocate for the consideration of the human in architecture is the focal point of a discussion about the right to the city’s spaces.
Jan Gehl has put humanism on the agenda outside Denmark, with projects at Times Square in New York City, Market Street in San Francisco and urban development projects in Mexico City and Sao Paulo, among other places.
The second main space of the Danish exhibition comprises a big ‘treasure room’, consisting of more than 130 models extending from the floor to the ceiling in a scaffolding system on which you move around. The diverse models with their different materiality will create an overwhelming and inspiring experience of the diversity of contemporary Danish architecture.
The Danish pavilion opens in Venice on 27 May and runs until 27 November 2016, where this year’s Biennale ends. The exhibition ‘Art of Many and The Right to Space’ will be shown in Denmark in the beginning of 2017.