July 21, 2014
“The Montenegrin Pavilion has a wonderful feeling of being a ‘fringe’ or ‘off’ event, not only because of its location far from the official hubbub of the Giardini, but also because of the fresh approach that this ‘marginal’ location has allowed. First one must find the pavilion, a process akin to a treasure hunt, as one negotiates a maze of silent Venetian alleys in a scenario straight out of Invisible Cities. The ancient ground-floor spaces, disposed around a classic Venetian courtyard, are splendidly atmospheric. In their cramped, domestic-scale confines (a far cry from the lofty halls of the Giardini) is a highly theatrical mise en scène, in which four decaying buildings of Yugoslavian late Modernism are recreated through large sectional models into which visitors can peer, squeezed claustrophobically into the confined space. The result is a gorgeously intimate peepshow of ruin porn, a dolls’-house dissection of decay, where the ghosts of what was and what might have been haunt us with their lost possibilities.
The Montenegrin Pavilion is also interesting in the way it deals with Rem Koolhaas’s theme of ‘absorbing modernity.’ As Jean Prouvé tells us in the French Pavilion, ‘modern’ is a problematic term that is perhaps best avoided. Many of the national pavilions get round it by interpreting modernity as Modernism, and at first glance the Montenegrin Pavilion appears to do the same. But if one considers the original meaning of modern—late Latin modernus, from modo, ‘just now’—one can see the implication that to be truly modern one must reject the past, as Montenegro seems to be doing in its neglect of these ideologically charged relics of a defunct country and regime (socialist Yugoslavia). As presented in the models, these buildings are sites of memory, places of Proustian poignancy where nostalgia is summoned up even for those who never knew that time or those localities. To be truly ‘modern,’ it seems, one must lose something, and it is this loss that is so intelligently and atmospherically evoked in the Montenegrin Pavilion.”
Andrew Ayers studied at the Bartlett School of Architecture and Planning, University College London, and now lives in Paris, where he is a freelance writer, lecturer, and journalist, as well as a docent at the Maison de Verre.
“I thought the Montenegro Pavilion displayed a lot of sensitivity to place. It presents an alternative way of using post-Socialist resources—opportunities to reuse existing structures and transform them without significant investment. Not erasing them, but incorporating them into the evolving logic of the city. The socialist Hotel Fjord, for instance, has probably already entered the vocabulary of Kotor. It’s not this strange, Modernist intrusion. It has already been appropriated in its absurdity. Somehow it fits. It’s so strange it fits.
The exhibition is actually a beautiful way of reflecting, in this old backyard of a Venetian house—a little bit too small, a little bit too dark, a little bit too tight, a little bit hidden—the challenges facing Montenegro. It was a very interesting, well-executed, well‑communicated exhibit, operating at a large scale in a small space. It was extremely successful. In retrospect, one of the most exciting pavilion openings I attended.”
Hubert Klumpner is Dean of the Department of Architecture at ETH Zürich and a co-principal, together with Alfredo Brillembourg, of the interdisciplinary design firm Urban-Think Tank. Urban-Think Tank was part of the Golden Lion-winning team at the 13th International Exhibition of Architecture – la Bienale di Venezia for the installation “Torre David/Gran Horizonte.”
“Montenegro is a nigh-mythical territory for architecture. Le Corbusier missed it on his trip to the East—and he should be sorry for that. However, this is a part of Europe that, even today, many are just discovering. I believe that the Montenegrin Pavilion at this year’s Biennale will be a real discovery for a lot of people, too.
I followed the development of the pavilion a little, but I was still pleasantly surprised at the opening. Encountering these photorealistic models of run-down buildings on the ground floor of a small Venetian house is one of the truest experiences of architecture at this year’s Biennale. I like that you could see all the brutal transformations of architecture caused by nature and time. The Montenegrin presentation occurs at a time when a new kind of fascination with ruins and the civilizations that built them has been awakened in Western society. In this case, of course, it’s a fascination with modern civilizations. The exhibition reminds us immediately of the problems with the architecture of socialist Yugoslavia—its phantasms and its megalomania. However, the decaying architecture, in this case, is not presented as a sign of collapse, destruction, or decadence. The visitor’s experience of the architectural ruins in the exhibition is extremely positive—as a basis for discussion about the future and sign of hope that we can build something new. Looking at the models raises the questions of whether and how these buildings can be reused. However, I find it most interesting to ask what we can learn about architecture from these ruins. This is the real ‘treasure’ that one should try to discover at this exhibition.
It seems that, in Montenegro, nature is still more powerful than architecture and that it will always dominate. Perhaps this is where we need to travel today in order to rediscover the true elements of architecture.”
Matevž Čelik is an architect, architecture researcher, and writer. In 2002, Čelik co-founded Trajekt, Institute for Spatial Culture in Ljubljana and since 2010, he has been the director of the Museum of Architecture and Design (MAO) in Ljubljana and Ljubljana’s Biennial of Design, BIO 50.
“For me, the four abandoned late-Modernist buildings displayed at the Montenegro Pavilion reflect a thematic ‘territoriality as a primary geographical expression of power.’ It seems like an architectural amnesia at the intersection of space and society. In these terms, not only are society and space related, but the changing function of ideology shifts that relationship with time, which becomes a new variable. The disregard for architecture as the basic expression of influence and power supplies an essential bond among society, space, and time. Its usage may find place in capitalist as well as in socialist societies.
Geographical context allows people to construct and maintain spatial organization. For the Balkan countries, territoriality is not an instinct or a drive, but rather a complex strategy to influence and control access to people, things, and relationships. Its geographical alternative is a non-territorial spatial behavior. Territories are socially constructed forms of spatial relations and their effects depend on who is controlling whom and for what purpose. It may achieve dangerous levels if it is used successfully for certain political reasons.
Whether the Balkan countries had that destiny because of external Western forces or its internal bureaucratic and political failures is a difficult question. Whether the Iron Curtain was a useless invention of the socialist bloc is also another topic in and of itself. Whether building 750,000 bunkers in Albania (a neighbor of Montenegro) is the right thing to do when you lead a friendless country is also a difficult question to answer without more details. Or whether it is right for highly Modernist buildings that once reflected enthusiasm and confidence to be destined, after four to five decades, to decay and demolition. But the answer to one thing is clear: territoriality and the careless disregard of society have found their operating mechanisms in architecture at each age, and they surely will not stop now!
The issue raised by the Montenegro Pavilion’s curators is that of facing space in time, through social variables under ideological shifts.”
Jurtin Hajro is the director of CoRDA (Center of Research and Design in Architecture) and a professor of architectural design at Epoka University in Tirana, Albania. He received his Bachelor’s and Master’s from the Middle East Technical University, Ankara, and has worked as an assistant researcher, fellow, and senior architect in several Istanbul-based architecture studios.
“Imperfect models are typically a no-go in architecture. But in ‘Treasures in Disguise’ they fit perfectly: they create the impression of decay, which is unusual for an architecture exhibition, and allow the objects on display to shift between space, site, history, and image. The models are large enough to draw you, the visitor, into the space. That was a super nice experience.”
Oliver Elser is a curator at the Deutsches Architekturmuseum (DAM) in Frankfurt. His projects on architecture models include the “Sondermodelle” exhibition at the Venice Art Biennale in 2013, with artist Oliver Croy; the show “The Architectural Model—Tool, Fetish, Small Utopia” at the DAM in 2012; and the “Wohnmodelle” exhibition on housing experiments, shown in Vienna, Sofia, and Belgrade.
June 27, 2014
“What struck me the most about the Montenegro Pavilion was the way it focused on the interior as the visual perspective for building a discourse. Especially for strong objects with a clear identity, such as the four buildings treated in the pavilion, this strategy encourages new, refreshing interpretations. The interior of Dom Revolucije, was reminiscent of a similar Albanian interior space—that of the Pyramid, the former museum of the dictator Enver Hoxha, a building also in a state of neglect. The models of Spomen Dom, Kayak Club Galeb, and Hotel Fjord were similarly suggestive and they all brought to mind scenography, a stage made for storytelling. By modelling only fragments of the buildings in their current states, the pavilion generalized the discourse and made it applicable to a wider range of interior spaces. Rather than showing a singular building, the models were prototypes of interiors filled with many potentials. The malleability of the buildings’ identities, their transitory states, and possible futures, are much better observed from the interior than through exterior images of a propagandized iconic object that we have learned to see. This focus on the interior resulted in a very exciting setting for re-interpretation.“
Bora Baboçi is an architect and artist based in Tirana. She is currently working on the perception of informal neighborhoods and urban/coastal identities in the fields of visual arts and cinema.
“The Biennale this year claims to be about architecture, not architects. That simple statement has changed the atmosphere completely: whereas the content of previous architecture biennales was often festive and, even more often, naively optimistic, this edition is surprisingly retrospective and reflective.
A few pavilions have dared to go beyond the reflective, without stepping into the pitfall of celebrating design solutions. The Chilean pavilion shows an overview of an international prefab construction system, which resonates strongly with the Korean pavilion’s observation that housing production in both North and South Korea is based on that same system. How to work with that inevitability? The Swiss pavilion shows the legacy of Lucius Burckhardt and Cedric Price, which is all about opening up architecture to society and reactivating the existing. How to pick up on their thoughts? The Montenegro Pavilion shows existing buildings that are stunning in their combination of grand design intentions and lack of use. How to reactivate these structures and use them as a resource?
Together, these pavilions reveal the capacity of designers to go beyond what a historian can (or dares to) do: to look at history and present it as a potent question. They show that architecture is political, about making choices and producing answers. But before producing answers, you need good questions. Although these pavilions step away from contemporary architecture, they still offer a sharp view of what architecture’s design questions could be. The fact that the questions are left unanswered makes them resonate even more strongly—they are open for all to imagine an answer.“
Freek Persyn is an architect and a partner at the award-winning Brussels-based practice 51N4E. He studied architecture at the Sint Lucas School of Architecture in Brussels and the Dublin Institute of Technology, and has taught at University of Gent, the Academy of Architecture in Mendrisio, and at the Berlage Institute, Delft.
“The Montenegrin pavilion is certainly among the highlights of this year’s Biennale! We came back to the pavilion and brought friends along and they all were enthusiastic about it as well. To discover these superb buildings, which exude great charm even in—or maybe because of—their state of decay, is one thing. But to me the exhibition is also a treasure in disguise: the large models of the buildings let you really dive into the architecture. Their honest imperfections match very well the work that’s exhibited and you can feel the authors’ enthusiasm. The exhibition design of Treasures in Disguise is a truly persuasive way of presenting architecture, as opposed to the many over-designed or over-intellectualized exhibitions I’ve seen at the Biennale.”
Stefan Jauslin is the co-founder and co-principal of the Zürich-based practice Vehovar & Jauslin Architektur. He has taught at ETH Zürich and the Bern University of Applied Sciences, and his firm was the subject of the book Emotional Landscapes: Die Architektur von Mateja Vehovar und Stefan Jauslin (Birkhäuser, 2003).
“Treasures in Disguise at the Montenegro Pavilion embodies the political potential that an architecture exhibition should aspire to—and does so while being beautifully designed, a bit quirky, and most importantly, thought provoking. The exhibition practically transports the visitor across the Adriatic and back in time to a hopeful moment in which architecture was tasked with the responsibility of being an active agent of societal change. In addition to the unique and haunting deserted buildings exhibited, the combination of typography and exhibition design make the most of the Venetian hole-in-the-wall gallery space. The four buildings in the exhibition are reminiscent of other utopian moments such as SAAL in Porto in the mid 1970s, but the critique is taken a step further by evaluating modernism’s discontents and the lessons that can be gleaned from failure. As art collective Slavs and Tatars cheekily admonishes: ‘It is of the utmost importance that we repeat our mistakes as a reminder to future generations of the depths of our stupidity,’ and Treasures in Disguise cleverly reminds us that our work is not yet done.”
Jesse Seegers is currently the Power Corporation of Canada Curatorial Intern at the Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montreal. Prior to receiving his Masters in Architecture from Princeton University, Seegers was Chief Editor of AGENDA: Can we Sustain Our Ability to Crisis? (Actar, 2009) while at JDS/Julien De Smedt Architects.
“The Montenegro Pavilion echoed the Treasures in Disguise concept not only in its content, but even in its organization and location. Finding the pavilion was like a treasure hunt, with a big X on a map marking the location of the prize. The exhibition deals with an issue encountered in all post-communist countries. Politics and architecture usually potentiate one another, yet when the two collide the results can be tragic. The reuse, regeneration, and transformation of these structures are paramount. But in countries like Montenegro (or Albania), you first need to change the public perception of these buildings, which are currently lost in transitional limbo or, even worse, already demolished. They represent something that they are not. They have no chance to speak for themselves through the value and function of their architecture, but are instead ascribed superficial descriptors; they are the only objects that still bear the burden of a hard transition from isolated, ideological islands to free market, global capitalism. The size of the models stuck in the small spaces of the pavilion reflects the hidden potential waiting to burst out of the “Soviet modern.“ The pictures of the majestic Hotel Fjord juxtaposed with a large-scale model of its current condition create a space inhabited by possibility in the narrow corridor that separates them. I had seen pictures of the venue on Facebook a couple of days before the opening and could not help but notice what looked like one of the famous sealed wells of Venice in the middle of the pavilion’s small interior courtyard. These objects are iconic manifestations of transformation and the importance of continuity in design, architecture and urbanity; they are a symbol not only of Venice, but also of all the successful Mediterranean communities that have learned to cope with their long and rich history by continually changing and adapting to new contexts. It is examples like these that post-communist countries should learn from and it is about time that the unexplored Balkans get the attention they deserve on the international stage.“
Joni Baboçi is an architect based in Tirana, Albania, where he practices out of Studio A with his father and sister. Baboçi is currently working at Atelier Albania to identify and implement experimental planning tools and processes to help the country leapfrog its slow pace of development.
Jana Kocbek and Davor Katušić, photo by Kontrastika
“Visiting the Montenegro Pavilion at La Biennale di Venezia was a super nice experience. By taking the advantage of the small pavilion, you managed to make a powerful exhibition: powerful in presentation and, more importantly, in content. The selected buildings on display are truly impressive treasures. We hope that you’ll manage to rescue some of them!”
Jana Kocbek and Davor Katušić run the architecture firm Katušić Kocbek Arhitekti. Based both in Zagreb and Ljubljana, the firm won a Golden Pencil award in 2014 for their design of the Dojmi pavilion in Kotor, Montenegro
June 23, 2014
Brendan MacFarlane and Dominique Jakob, photo by Alexandre Tabaste
“The Montenegro Pavilion was really a great pavilion; I didn’t stop talking about it with other people. It was the anti-heroic aspect of the exhibition that I liked so much. Lost or empty buildings are so much more powerful than those that are lived in—they represent a lost utopia. I suspect that it is not the restoration of these pieces that is the imminent subject; it is their empty presence.”
Brendan MacFarlane is one half of Jakob + MacFarlane, an architecture firm based in Paris. Together with Dominique Jakob, he’s designed and built a number of buildings, including the Orange Cube in Lyon, the FRAC Center in Orléans, and Docks, City of Fashion and Design, in Paris.
Jan Edler, photo by Adeline Seidel
“The Montenegro Pavilion, with its exhibition “Treasures in Disguise,” was one of the hidden jewels among the national contributions at this year’s Venice Architecture Biennale.
This was due not only to the simple yet tactile exhibition design, with beautiful large scale models of four late-modernist structures built in Montenegro, but especially to the surprising selection of buildings. Rejecting the common practice of showcasing a country’s “best-practice,” the curators presented buildings—Hotel Fjord, Kayak Club Galeb, Spomen Dom, and Dom Revolucije—that failed and have mostly been abandoned. Instead of following the reflex to “discard” them as intrinsically being tied to the failure of a society and a political system, the exhibition dissects the buildings’ beauty and hidden spatial potential, hopefully opening up the horizon for possible second lives. Montenegro deserves recognition not only for the courage to present itself at the Biennale in such an unconventional way, but also for providing an important spark to the ongoing discussion on sustainability in the building sector. These structures represent a huge amount of potential energy and deserve a thorough evaluation of their future possibilities—this seems more intelligent than the erasure of all unwanted reminders of the country’s political past.“
Jan Edler, an artist and architect, founded realities:united with his brother Tim Edler in Berlin. Flussbad, their urban plan to turn a stretch of the River Spree in Berlin into a 745-meter-long public “swimming pool,” was awarded the Global Holcim Awards Bronze in 2012 and recently received 110,000 Euros from the German Lottery Foundation to further develop the project.
Martin Ostermann and Lena Kleinheinz, photo by Jan Kopetzky
“For those of us who are looking out for what is to come in architecture, this year’s Venice Architecture Biennale was a challenge. Retreating into an archive of artifacts from the past, the main exhibition stops short of suggesting any position, outlook, or inspiration. The national pavilions largely adopted this same approach to the past, often leaving in the mist what the possible connection to contemporary issues could be. Reducing architecture to building elements and detaching walls, floors, and ceilings from one another robs the visitor of any sense of space. The Montenegro Pavilion addresses these deficiencies in two ways. Entering the pavilion, one encounters space: that of the gallery occupied by oversized spatial installations. Too big to be perceived as architectural models but too small to walk in, the installations embrace the visitors, who can almost sense the smells inside the original buildings that they represent. The chosen buildings are ruins—one was never finished, almost all are left abandoned. Their uses and designations as physical representations of the state have been outmoded over time. They are clearly from yesterday and thereby continue the Biennale thread of looking back. But their prominent locations, in combination with their redundancies, immediately trigger questions about their futures. The mind oscillates between the past, a different and forever lost political and economic condition; the present, structures void of use and meaning; and a future yet to be shaped. The Venice Biennale, at its best, is a place to investigate, discuss, discover, question, and imagine the past and future of architecture—the Montenegro Pavilion has the full spectrum.”
Lena Kleinheinz and Martin Ostermann are the founders and principals of Berlin-based magma architecture. The interdisciplinary firm won numerous awards for the design and construction of the Olympic and Paralympic Shooting Arenas at the 2012 London Olympics.
“Yugo Reloaded. That was for me the Montenegro Pavilion, for me as a non-architect, a ‘glam cheap’ journalist and writer. The hidden force of the four beautiful, forgotten, decadent works of architecture chosen for the pavilion; and the stories they hide, glimpses of another era and other visionary, maybe more utopian times. I liked the wallpaper on the models reproducing graffiti, moss, and urban decay—a contemporary archi-wallpaper. And I like the fact that architecture, even if rotten and on the verge of crumbling, can still speak to us, whatever our nationality, profession, or passions. Stories whispering to my ear: and yes, I do listen.”
Lisa Corva is an Italian journalist and writer. She’s the author of many books, including Glam Cheap and Ultimamente mi sveglio felice, and blogs here.
“As a native of Yugoslavia and today a dual citizen of Slovenia and Switzerland, I am impressed by the extensive history of my native country. To see a generation building objects so bold and ambitious with such a strikingly natural relationship to their communities is very inspiring. The playful presentation of these treasures in disguise by a group of contemporary architects and curators gives me hope that there is still room for emotions in architecture today and in the future. The Montenegrin contribution is a must-see for every visitor to this year’s Venice Architecture Biennale.”
Mateja Vehovar is the co-founder and co-principal of the Zürich-based architecture firm Vehovar & Jauslin. They recently earned praise for their cloud-like canopy for a bus station in Aarau in Switzerland.
“Treasures in Disguise—the Montenegro Pavilion at the 14th International Architecture Exhibition at the Venice Biennale—was a great architectural experience. It has drawn attention to four modernist projects from the former Yugoslav era, which are today unused and might disappear soon. This exhibition might help save these projects, but it also shows in an intriguing way their architectural qualities.
The scale of the models is unusually large; the models seem to burst through the exhibition space. The visitor is drawn into the buildings and is immersed in their spaces. Without much further explanation, the qualities of each building become an experience for the visitors. This excellent exhibition design effectively argued for the value of these unique modernist buildings.”
Wilfried Hackenbroich is the co-principal of Hackenbroich Architekten, a firm focusing on architecture and urbanism in Berlin. He is the author of UN-Urbanism and Transit Spaces, and has taught at the University of Art in Berlin, the AA in London, and the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation.
June 20, 2014
Photo by Paul Green
“Arriving in Venice is a journey of circling into an increasingly dense city fabric. From the open sky on the boat from the airport to the city and the large open space of San Marco, to the pedestrian shopping streets into alleys where few people walk: your body gets more and more compressed the longer you search for the Montenegro Pavilion at this year’s architecture biennale. After a couple of turns, you end up in front of a small door. You walk in and instead of a room, there are even narrower passages and corridors in which models have, like you, been squeezed into the space. This narrowness forces you to look into the interior of the large section models that make you feel the uncanny potential of an architecture that was meant to celebrate communal life. A view onto a wallpapered picture in the back of the model simulates the view onto the sea from a hotel on the bay of Kotor, Montenegro, and provides relief and an escape from this tight atmosphere. It’s a view of nice scenery, not only literally, but also as the possibly revitalized future of a forgotten period in Montenegro’s recent history.“
Jürgen Mayer H. is the founder and principal of the interdisciplinary Berlin-based architecture firm J. MAYER H. With his firm, he has realized architecture projects across Europe, including the award-winning Stadthaus Ostfildern in Germany and the Metropol Parasol in Seville, Spain.
June 17, 2014
The exhibition “Treasures in Disguise” centers on four communist-era buildings that are, with one exception, not in use today. Large-scale section models, combined with wallpapered photographs, brings to the fore the impressive interiors and spatial qualities of these buildings, drawing attention to both their unfortunate condition and great potential. In a blog post below, we’ve described in greater depth the strategy behind the exhibition’s scenography; here are some photos of the exhibition on display at the Montenegro Pavilion in Venice!
The display of Hotel Fjord in the first room at the Montenegro Pavilion, photo by Jacopo Tiso
Hotel Fjord model, looking from the entrance of the Montenegro Pavilion, photo by Patricia Parinejad
Hotel Fjord model, with a large-scale photograph of the picturesque Bay of Kotor in the background, model photo by Patricia Parinejad
Detail of the Hotel Fjord model, photo by Patricia Parinejad
Hotel Fjord, looking toward the entrance of the Montenegro Pavilion, photo by Jacopo Tiso
Visitors checking out the model of Dom Revolucije on the evening of the opening, photo by Jacopo Tiso
Model of Dom Revolucije, which occupies the second room of the exhibition, photo by Jacopo Tiso
Detail of the Dom Revolucije model, photo by Patricia Parinejad
Detail of the Dom Revolucije model, photo by Patricia Parinejad
The model of Dom Revolucije is approximately two meters deep, photo by Patricia Parinejad
Model of Dom Revolucije, looking toward the third room and Spomen Dom model, photo by Patricia Parinejad
Model of Spomen Dom, photo by Patricia Parinejad
Model of Spomen Dom, photo by Patricia Parinejad
Detail of the interior of the Spomen Dom model, depicting the currently unused hall, photo by Patricia Parinejad
Panels providing additional visual and textual information on Spomen Dom, photo by Patricia Parinejad
Looking from the third room to the final room of the exhibition, photo by Patricia Parinejad
The fourth and last room was filled with a large model of Kayak Club Galeb, photo by Jacopo Tiso
Model of Kayak Club Galeb, with a large-scale photograph of River Morača in the background, model photo by Patricia Parinejad
Detail of the Kayak Club Galeb model, photo by Patricia Parinejad
Panels describing the architecture and context of Kayak Club Galeb, photo by Patricia Parinejad
June 6, 2014
Yesterday, Treasures in Disguise opened to a packed audience at the Montenegro Pavilion at the Palazzo Malipiero. Present in the crowd were Branislav Mićunović, the Montenegrin Minister of Culture, Branimir Gvozdenović, the Minister of Sustainable Development and Tourism, the commissioners of the pavilion, and members of the press.
Gvozdenović, the Minister of Sustainable Development and Tourism, kicked off the opening with a speech in Montenegrin. His speech asked Montenegrins and all present to reject a black-and-white interpretation of the past, to avoid pigeon-holing buildings built during the Yugoslavian period as the product of a “wrong time.” For him, Treasures in Disguise shows that Montenegro is ready to reevaluate its ignored architectural legacy and to rehabilitate buildings that are currently unused and decaying. Andreas Ruby, one of the commissioners, concluded the opening by reminding us that architecture has the ability to live through different historical periods and that the Hotel Fjord, Kayak Club Galeb, Spomen Dom, and Dom Revolucije could develop trajectories as rich and sustainable as those of Hagia Sophia or Diocletian’s Palace, which have over time been reappropriated to serve different needs. For this to happen, Montenegrin civil society needs to discover the hidden values of these buildings, which are tainted with the failure of the society that produced them; by highlighting their architecture, Treasures in Disguise hopes to initiate a conversation about their future.
We’d like to thank everyone who came to the opening; if you couldn’t make it yesterday, you missed out on delicious home-made Bellinis, but the Montenegrin Pavilion still awaits your presence!
Gvozdenović, the Minister of Sustainable Development and Tourism, giving a speech in Montenegrin, which was translated into English by commissioner Dijana Vučinić. Also pictured are commissioners Boštjan Vuga and Ilka Ruby.
Commissioner Andreas Ruby giving a speech, standing next to him are commissioners Simon Hartmann, Nebojša Adžić, and Ilka Ruby
The crowd at the opening of Treasures in Disguise—the Montenegro Pavilion
The party spilled outside into the streets.
June 4, 2014
We’re looking forward to welcoming you all at the Montenegro Pavilion cocktail opening tomorrow at 18:00! Finding the pavilion is easy, but here are some tips to make finding it even easier.
Water transportation to the Montenegro Pavilion is very convenient—the pavilion is located between the Campo San Samuele and the Accademia vaporetto stops. If you’re traveling from the Giardini, line 2 will take you to Campo San Samuele and Accademia in around 15 minutes. From the Arsenale, you can take line 1 to Accademia or Campo San Samuele. You can also Google map the location by clicking here.
Map showing how to get to the Montenegro Pavilion by vaporetto. If you prefer walking, follow the directions to Accademia. Before you reach the Accademia bridge, take the first turn to the right and follow the directions showed in the map above.
If you’re alighting at Campo San Samuele, look out for this totem pole pointing you in the right direction.
And you’ll know you’ve arrived at the Montenegro Pavilion when you see this flag flying above.
June 4, 2014
The construction of Dom Revolucije, designed by architect Marko Mušič, started in 1979 and ended in 1989. The reason for closing the construction site is bound to the political situation at the end of the 80s; the gradual dissolution of Yugoslavia put the cost of constructing the building solely on the shoulders of the small city of Nikšić. Here’s an excerpt from the exhibition catalogue, penned by Borislav Vukićević, describing the situation:
“In the years after Josip Broz Tito’s death—the 1980s—it was no longer possible to rely on financial aid from other parts of Yugoslavia, and not even on other cities in Montenegro. For one very simple reason: in the previous period there were immoderate expenses and the debts had piled up, and since nobody thought seriously about the financial sustainability of initiated projects or of the paying back of the loans, i.e. the debt—the crash was inevitable. The design for the Home of the Revolution in Nikšić was too ambitious, and as such it depended on external assistance. When it turned out that this assistance was no longer there, everything landed on the shoulders of the Nikšić economy, which used to be strong, but not strong enough to realize the Home of the Revolution project.”
Construction work on the Dom Revolucije ended in 1989. Image courtesy of Marko Mušič’s archive.
June 2, 2014
Three more days left until the opening of the Montenegro Pavilion, and our team in Venice is making great progress building the Treasures in Disguise exhibition. Here’s a visual update from Venice!
Alban Bislimi, Jovana Miljanić, Jure Sadar, Laura Sattin, Chiara Paone, Jacopo Tiso, Nina Vuga, and Elena Zadra are working together on the models and the exhibition
The section model of Dom Revolucije, with the building’s indoor amphitheater clearly in view
Images of Dom Revolucije’s existing condition are glued on the model, showing some of the graffiti in the unfinished and abandoned building
Working on the section model of Spomen Dom, both from within and outside the model
The model of Spomen Dom is large enough to fill up one of the rooms at the Montenegro Pavilion and provides ample views of the building’s interior
Working in the sunny courtyard of the Palazzo Malipiero; come join us for the pavilion opening here!
Click here for more images of the team’s progress!
June 2, 2014
The screen-printed Treasures in Disguise flags for the Montenegro Pavilion have been produced in Berlin and are on their way to Venice! The flags, which were designed by Berlin-based designers Belgrad, play on not only the name Montenegro, the “black mountain,” but also the lasting legacy of the Venetian rule of the area. The Republic of Venice was a nation of seafarers; sailing across the Adriatic from their island capital, they dominated the current coast of Montenegro and traded with Kotor, then an independent nation state, for four centuries starting from 1420. Venetian culture had a great influence on the Adriatic as a whole and Montenegro in particular; that legacy is perhaps most evident in the country’s name, Montenegro, which is a Venetian calque of Crna Gora (click here to learn about the name’s origin). Today, too, Montenegro is known for its picturesque coastal area, 295 kilometers long, and dramatic mountain range that plunges into the Adriatic Sea.