Swiss artists to showcase project on borders at Venice Biennale

A member of the team working on a model of the Orae project in a Geneva studio. Copyright: Fabrice Aragno

The Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia has chosen a quartet of artists and architects from Geneva to present their work on political and spatial borders at the 2021 Venice Architecture Biennale.

This content was published on April 8, 2021 - 16:28

Material collected in the participative project, Orae – Experiences on the Border, will be exhibited in the Swiss Pavillion at the Biennale, which runs from May 22 to November 21, Pro Helvetia announced on Thursday.

The team, comprised of Mounir Ayoub and Vanessa Lacaille, both of the Laboratoire d’architecture in Geneva, film-maker Fabrice Aragno and sculptor Pierre Szczepski, began their work in 2019 by travelling to the country’s border regions with a mobile studio. They invited members of the public to build an imaginary or real place of their choice at the border as they were recorded by video camera.

The four artists conducted writing workshops with inhabitants of border regions, such as Chiasso, above, on the border with Italy. Swiss Pavilion Team of the 2021 Venice Biennale

After the coronavirus pandemic hit Switzerland, the artists decided to re-visit the same locations to learn about the inhabitants’ changing views on the concept of borders.

The project “draws our attention to a territory and its complex social and cultural structure – it offers a voice to people who are otherwise less heard,” said Madeleine Schuppli, head of visual arts at Pro Helvetia.

The International Architecture Exhibition in Venice takes place every two years. Its theme for the 2021 edition is “How will we live together?”

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