OFFICIAL CANADIAN REPRESENTATION
17TH INTERNATIONAL ARCHITECTURE EXHIBITION LA BIENNALE DI VENEZIA
22 MAY TO 21 NOVEMBER 2021
Established in 1895, the Venice Biennale is the world’s most prestigious international art and architecture exhibition. With over 85 national participants and a rising attendance of 275 000 visitors, the Architecture Biennale has grown into a must-see flagship event. Held every two years, it is often referred to as the ‘Olympics for Architecture’ due to the international nature of the event and the ability to draw top competitors from around the globe.
The Venice Biennale occupies two main venues; a 12th century complex of shipyards and armories, the Arsenale, and the Giardini di Castello, a Napoleonic public garden containing the 30 original national pavilions. With a permanent home in the Giardini, the Canada Pavilion was unveiled in 1958 as a ‘small jewel of a showcase’ due to its nautilus shell shape and abundance of glass. Milanese architecture firm BBPR designed the uniquely shaped building as a counter position to modern “white box” exhibition spaces. Now owned by the National Gallery of Canada, the pavilion was completely rebuilt in 2018 under a $3-million restoration.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO SUPPORT ARCHITECTURE?
Venice Biennale of Architecture offers an international platform for engagement with critical conversations about contemporary architecture. If recent events have reminded us of anything, it is the importance of our built environment. It is the stage on which our stories play out. Its physical presence and numerous virtual representations shape our collective memory. The Venice Biennale is a showcase for Canadian architecture on a global stage, a platform to engage in ideas, issues and conversation surrounding architecture. We believe the exhibition presents a timely opportunity for us to display our architecture in a new light as we aim to present new ways to understand, design and experience Canada’s built environment; present and future.
Primary funding for the exhibition is awarded by Canada Council for the Arts, Canada’s public arts funder. With a contribution of $500,000 towards the 2021 exhibition, the Canada Council for the Arts is ensuring that Canada’s representation achieves the highest profile and level of success possible. The presentation of Impostor Cities at the Venice Biennale International Architecture Exhibition can only be made possible through additional generous financial support and in-kind contributions from private philanthropists and corporations. Impostor Cities is therefore fundraising to create a remarkable immersive experience that shines light on Canadian Architecture on the international stage.
Canada’s architecture is film-famous but unlike Paris, New York, London, or Rio de Janeiro, our cities rarely play themselves in film and television. Toronto stands in for Tokyo, for example, while Vancouver and Montreal masquerade as Moscow, Paris, and New York.
Impostor Cities is an international exhibition that seeks to repatriate our architecture and celebrate the legacy of over a half-century of Canada’s most renowned architectural doubles. Impostor Cities also introduces a playful yet pointed counter-proposition the popular image of our national identity by investigating why Canada’s buildings are so good at doubling as elsewhere. How do we think about authenticity and identity in an age where artifice in media becomes indistinguishable from reality? Impostor Cities digs deep to examine how this artifice has shaped our buildings and spaces as it has our culture and politics; our understanding of the past, the design of our present and how we imagine our future environments.
As Canada’s official representation, Impostor Cities, will take over the Canada Pavilion from May 22 to November 21, 2021. The exterior of the pavilion will be wrapped in green fabric, drawing attention amidst the biennale excitement and highlighting the controversial symbolism of the pavilion’s ‘tipi-shaped’ architecture. Online and on camera, using green screening technology, an iconic Canadian building will take the pavilion’s place in the Giardini and transform a historic part of Venice into Canada.
Inside the pavilion, an interactive multi-screen video installation will induce new ways of experiencing Canadian architecture through film. Combining supercuts of film footage and an interactive library of the real buildings, explain how fictional worlds rely on our real cities and expand uncanny moments of recognition: a new recognition of the Canada Pavilion and the shock of recognition of familiar cityscapes and buildings in a film. Impostor Cities highlights the importance of architecture, Canadian architecture in particular, and the role it has quietly played in shaping the world’s cultural narratives through film.
Impostor Cities was selected through a national juried competition, with Mirko Zardini (Executive Director and Chief Curator, Canadian Centre for Architecture), Kitty Scott (Carol and Morton Rapp Curator, Modern and Contemporary Art, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto), Sasa Radulovic (Architect, 5468796 architecture, Winnipeg) and Manon Asselin (Architect, Atelier TAG, Montreal) on the selection committee.
Canada Council for the Arts
T B A
François-Matthieu Mariaud de Serre
Jane Kate Wong
SPONSORS & PARTNERS
Canadian Architect • December 16, 2020
World-Architects • November 24, 2020
La Biennale di Venezia • November 24, 2020
designboom • May 26, 2020
AZURE • January 31, 2020
Vie des Arts • June 28, 2019
CBC • March 17, 2019
ArchDaily • March 17, 2019
Kollectif • March 15, 2019
The Globe & Mail • March 14, 2019 [PDF Download]
Archinect • March 14, 2019
Canadian Art • March 14, 2019
Canadian Architect • March 14, 2019
AZURE • March 14, 2019
Canada Council for the Arts • March 14, 2019
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