August 16, 2010 - Portugal Pavilion at the Venice Biennale - No place like – 
4 houses, 4 films
August 16, 2010

No place like – 
4 houses, 4 films

João Onofre, “Untitled (SUN 2500)”, 2010
HD Mono-channel video, PAL, 16:9. Colour, Sound
Courtesy of Cristina Guerra Contemporary Art, Lisbon

No place like – 
4 houses, 4 films
Aires Mateus, Bak Gordon, Carrilho da Graça, 
Siza Vieira
29 August – 21 November 2010

Conferences: 27 August 2010
10 a.m. – 1 p.m.: Aires Mateus, Bak Gordon
3 p.m. – 6 p.m.: Carrilho da Graça, Siza Vieira

Pavilion Opening: 27 August 2010 at 6 p.m.
Ca’ Foscari University
Dorsoduro 3246 (Calle Foscari)

The duo Manuel and Francisco Aires Mateus, Ricardo Bak Gordon, João Luis Carrilho da Graça and Álvaro Siza Vieira are the architects representing Portugal at the 12th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia.

“No place like – 4 houses, 4 films” is a collective and trans-generational show of contemporary Portuguese architecture which focuses on housing, in line with the theme topic set by Kazuyo Sejima for the Biennale Architettura 2010 – “People Meet in Architecture” – and the one chosen for the upcoming Lisbon Architecture Triennale (14 October 2010 to 16 January 2011) – “Let’s Talk about Houses”. Based on this common approach, whose purpose is to think out the practice of architecture, the curators Julia Albani, José Mateus, Rita Palma and Delfim Sardo have chosen 4 exemplar housing projects, each from one of these architects.

The object of the exhibition is to show how the house is a redeeming moment for the practice of architecture. In the history of 20th century architecture, as well as in the economic, political and social transformations at the beginning of this century, housing (in its most literal version, as house, or in its metaphoric versions, in the meanings of dwelling in the world) built up the driving force of architectural thought. Based on this pretext, and taking the Portuguese situation as a possible object of representation, the possibility of thinking out different aspects of architectural practice by Portuguese architects led us to search for situations with three exemplary categories: first off, to present projects dealing in certain ways with the questions of site-specificity, embodying what Michel Butor called “the spirit of the place”; second, to find projects which are specific cases in the careers of their authors and in the way they deal with their architectural lineages, i.e., with their axes of reference, which do not necessarily correspond to formal kinships set out in isomorphs; and, lastly, to show projects that are grounded in a complex idea of meeting understood in inter-personal, social and collective – though also historical and cultural – terms.

The house is the place of imagery about belonging.The four houses that the “No place like” exhibition presents are so many other examples of up-summoned imagery regarding the dual condition of belonging and return, probably distinct from major architectural events and their mega-narratives, and built much more from oft discreet small changes, micro-events, which serve a particular decorum, a clear ethic of accommodation. In either case a high performance ethic is placed in each understanding of dwelling, thus distancing them from the Gongoristic excess marking a significant portion of contemporary architecture, or at least the architecture arising in tune with the growth from the capitalist financial boom of the last 15 years.

The exhibition, featuring the 4 houses, include 4 fictions films by the invited artists Filipa César, João Onofre, João Salaviza and Julião Sarmento, some of the most outstanding Portuguese artists and film directors. The houses, protagonists in the films, are all located in Portugal, and correspond to different dwelling typologies, conditions and contexts.

The preview of the exhibition will be accompanied by a program of conferences dedicated to discussing the object of the exhibition “No place like – 4 houses, 4 films”.

27 August 2010 – Auditorium Santa Margherita
10 a.m. – 1 p.m.: Aires Mateus, Bak Gordon
3 p.m. – 6 p.m.: Carrilho da Graça, Siza Vieira

Further information:

For press contacts:
Sandra Vieira Jürgens • • +351 211 506 940 • +351 933 451 775
Maria Schiappa • • +351 213 467 194 • +351 931 121 604

Directorate-General for the Arts / Ministry of Culture
Av. da Liberdade, 144 – 2, 1250-146 Lisbon

Pavilion of Portugal

Portugal Pavilion at the Venice Biennale
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4 houses, 4 films
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