The Albanian Pavilion at the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale addresses the perennial problem of exhibiting architecture
The Albanian pavilion features works by two Albanian artists - a series of paintings by Edi Hila, and a video, The Column, by Adrian Paci - together with an interview with the architect Johan Anrys. Paci’s work depicts the transformation of raw material into the most fundamental element of architecture: a column, with astonishing gravity. The block of marble is mined at a quarry in China and Chinese craftsman transform the potentiality of marble into the potentiality of the column onboard a cargo ship during its transportation. Edi Hila’s paintings also connect with the question of potentiality, which has been taken as the guiding line for the exhibition by the curators - the London based studio Beyond Entropy. Painting ordinary single houses on plinths, Hila dislocates the normal and opens the norm to new possibilities and new questions.
On the whole, the curators have created an exhibition that aims higher, beyond the artworks as such. The interview with Johan Anrys is key here. He discusses the recently established experimental planning unit ‘Atelier Albania’ and how it seeks to shift the focus of regional planning from models based on master plans to ones focusing on the processes - to providing instruments rather than solutions. This is also the essence of the exhibition. It focuses on the processes and potentialities, instead of objects and solutions, on the level of the fundamental elements of architecture - a house and a column - as well as on the level of the politics of building infrastructure. By creating a carefully intertwining web of meanings Beyond Entropy also subtly suggests a different approach to curating architecture, again based on potentials. The exhibition demonstrates an ambition to genuinely rethink the processes of architectural politics and design, as well as the problem of exhibiting architecture through a curatorial approach more usual in the art world than in the world of architecture.