Responding to David Chipperfield’s call for an exhibition of Common Ground at the 13th Architecture Biennale in Venice, Kuehn Malvezzi developed Komuna Fundamento, a full-scale spatial intervention inside and in front of the Padiglione Centrale at the Giardini in Venice.
Common Ground becomes Komuna Fundamento. Considering the exhibition of architecture a spatial experience, the intervention at the Padiglione Centrale makes the visitor perceive a real space and at once a full-scale 1:1 model.
The project explores the idea of a performative architecture through heterogeneous elements in which the relations are as important as the objects themselves. It follows the logic of an archipelago where all individual parts are structured dynamically by way of forming a constellation.
Komuna Fundamento is a constellation that relates the outside and the inside space of the Padiglione Centrale and is collaboratively produced with the artists Candida Hoefer and Armin Linke. It was realized together with Petersen Tegl and Selux.
On the occasion of the exhibition Kuehn Malvezzi produced Komuna Fundamento, a publication in Esperanto and English, designed by Double Standards and published by Mousse Publishing, Milano.
Komuna Fundamento sets up and displays common ground. It implies an architecture that overcomes self-expressive indulgence and instead acts curatorially, defining authorship differently and at once gaining new authority. Key to this self-understanding is a new attention to context, seen not as a historical or local condition but as a way of displaying reality in order to change it. Context is not what you find but what you design to make the found visible: The act of decontextualizing any particular object and recontextualizing it in a specific way recreates the object in the mode of a readymade on display. A hybrid order of things in space is the result. Making archipelagos means creating an order in which the relations are as important as the objects themselves.
Komuna Fundamento refers to Oswald Mathias Ungers’ 1977 design for Berlin as a green archipelago, Cities within the City. It is a prototypical curatorial project that selects a number of city morphologies to be preserved, highlighting these by erasing the surrounding urban fabric. Ungers’ Berlin archipelago works much like a collection that is being exhibited. A successful collection structures the included items by generating a logic that transcends any singularity, making of the collection a designed context in which each object acquires importance in relation to the collection’s formation. Komuna Fundamento, as with any collection, is an ideology that does not exist a priori but is based on what already exists, transforming variety into a specific order.
Responding to David Chipperfield’s call for an exhibition of Common Ground at the 13th Architecture Biennale in Venice, two interventions have been realized inside and in front of the Padiglione Centrale at the Giardini. Both interventions are built in grey stack bond brickwork and define a threshold, slowing down direct access into the building. Two specific places have been created which invite the visitor to meet at and linger, to sit down and watch. The outside installation is a plinth that embraces an existing tree at the steps leading to the central entrance. Its counterpart, inside the historical Sala Chini, is remodeled as a spatial deviation of the plinth outside. As a cutout from the building volume, the space produces a Z-shaped parcours leading from both sides to its centre. Here, a brick extrusion is being modeled, acting as a bench and as reading display
for Komuna Fundamento.
Using brick as a unifying material allover, inside and outside, horizontal and vertical, the surfaces turn from an exhibition background into an architectural presence, defining space while expressing their material objecthood. The brick is laid vertically, its large upper side facing the room and using minimal joints. As a result of the brick firing, each brick is slightly different in dimension and colour. Each one is approximately 22.5 x 10.6 x 4.85 cm, produced by Petersen Tegl in Broager, Denmark, a centuries old brick maker who over the past thirty years has developed a way of firing brick according to contemporary technological standards while keeping the characteristics of the historical material. The collaboration with Petersen Tegl brought about the choice of brick 99, a dark grey brick with varying shades obtained through a process of oxygen reduction applied to the red brick. Komuna Fundamento embraces the relation between the architectural object and its physical construction, including the production of the material, and its transportation and assembly on site.
Candida Hoefer and Armin Linke are both artists working in and with space. In their artistic practice space becomes a material being manipulated, distorted and recomposed. For both, the photographic intervention does not happen exclusively in the moment when a picture is taken, nor is it completed in the subsequent postproduction. The intervention also is made by means of exhibiting, they each in their own way display the photographs through framing and installing them. In their respective practices, photography is exhibited by way of spatial intervention that actively involves architecture.
The two photographers were involved in the installation’s realization process from the beginning, which led to the material integration of their works into the architectural structure. Hoefer’s photo of Kuehn Malvezzi’s Lauder Business School in Vienna pictures a corner window. By installing the work set into the brick clad walls, it becomes a window in its own right, the interruption in the grey brick surface and the cutting of a display frame into it allowing the recorded situation to be enacted in the actual space of experience. Linke’s photographs
of Performative Architectures that display spaces of representation were selected from the artist’s immense archive. The assembled images enter the space as choreographed sets encased in two suspended display objects. Sixteen images are shown in these floating double-sided frames, which are installed in the middle of the space in such a way as to trigger visual montages for the moving visitor. Together with the grey brick environment, these images form yet another image incorporating the brick surfaces into the constellation as in- between space.