Denmark | 14th Architecture Biennale

Place: Venice, Country: Italy
Commissioner: Kent Martinussen, Danish Architecture Center
Curator: Stig L. Andersson
Text and photos by Riccardo Bianchini, Inexhibit
Additional images courtesy of the Danish Architecture Center

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Empowerment of Aesthetics
Danish pavilion

The pavilion of Denmark at the Architecture Biennale 2014 depicts how a model of modernity could be identified in the poetic encounter between rationality and aesthetics.
The exhibition, curated by Stig L. Larsson and commissioned by the Danish Architecture Center, explores the Danish modernity of the last 100 years by casting a glance to that of the 21st century.
During the twentieth century, Denmark has been a laboratory of the interaction between architecture, art, nature and science; now such inspiration should be revamped under new circumstances. The title “Empowerment of Aesthetics” expresses the idea of a symbiosis between reason and aesthetics as well as between architecture and nature as complementary elements, a complementarity inspired by the principles of the Copenhagen School of the great Danish physicist Niels Bohr.
Thus the exhibition is based on apparently opposed elements which actually are components of an ideal whole: the letter by Bohr to Einstein and the scent of pine-needles and wet soil, butterflies and mud bricks, quantum mechanics and poetry. These are the elements from which Danish modernity once were built and on which it could base its future.
These principles are also expressed in the exhibition concept: along with visual elements, sounds to hear and odours to smell play an equally important role and contribute to the captivating power of the pavilion.

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Niels Bohr & Albert Einstein: Photograph by Paul Ehrenfest (1925), courtesy AIP Emilio Segre Visual Archives 

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Photo: Jens Lindhe

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The last blackboard of Niels Bohr, Copenhagen. Courtesy Niels Bohr Arkivet

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Frederiksberg Urban Spaces, photo by Ulrika Wahlmark (2009), courtesy of SLA

Absorbing Modernity 1914-2014
Absorbing Modernity 1914-2014 is an invitation to the national pavilions to show, each in their own way, the process of the erasure of national characteristics in architecture in favor of the almost universal adoption of a single modern language and a single repertoire of typologies – a more complex process than we typically recognize, involving significant encounters between cultures, technical inventions, and hidden ways of remaining “national”.


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Built in 1807, the Giardini della Biennale (Biennale’s Gardens) is the main venue of the annual art and architecture exhibitions of the Venice Biennale


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