What is nuclear scientist Niels Bohr doing at La Biennale di Venezia?

The Danish Pavilion at the 14th International Architecture Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia
June 7th – November 23rd

What does butterflies, quantum mechanics, poetry and dirt have to do with architecture? In the Danish pavilion you are invited to sense, wonder, be curious and reflect when you meet the smell of dirt, read Niels Bohr’s letter to Einstein, hear the sound of poetry and burry your toes in pine needles. The pavilion reintroduces the forgotten power of aesthetics as the complementary to the rational. It argues that the two together form the foundation for our future decision making.

Bohr and Einstein debated the complementarity of quantum mechanics almost a hundred years ago. Today the Danish landscape architect and curator of the Danish pavilion, Stig L. Andersson, argues that Bohr’s philosophical aesthetic approach – and the forgotten modernity it represents – is essential for our common road into a sustainable future. The Danish pavilion reintroduces the power of aesthetics as an essential complementary to the rational.

A forgotten modernity meets the future
The curator of the 14th International Architecture Biennale, Rem Koolhaas has asked the national exhibitions to adhere to the legacy of the previous century. By inventing The Nordic Welfare State Denmark assigned architecture a crucial role in planning and, almost obsessively, designing in detail the physical setting for a 20th century modern, urban, democratic lifestyle. However, today this authentic integration of architecture and welfare culture can no longer be taken for granted. We need to rethink our common future and to recall the aesthetic qualities of modernity and let them meet the more dominant rationalistic approach.

As commissioner for the Danish Pavilion, Danish Architecture Center has asked the internationally acclaimed Danish landscape architect Stig L. Andersson to curate the Danish Pavilion.

“Stig L. Andersson’s unique, poetic and thought provoking exhibition invites you to explore the Danish architecture culture of the previous century and its global aspirations for the 21st century.” Commissioner Kent Martinussen, CEO, Danish Architecture Centre.

Butterflies and poetry
In the Danish pavilion you are invited to sense, wonder, be curious and reflect when you meet the smell of dirt, read Niels Bohr’s letter to Einstein, hear the sound of poetry and burry your toes in pine needles.

The exhibition ’Empowerment of Aesthetics’ insists on new sensuous and sustainable symbiosis between rationality and aesthetics – between architecture and nature. It is a reflection on the fundamentals of the modern Danish society, which emerged in the mid19th Century: The short pocket of time after the collapse of Romanticism but before the heralded Danish welfare state fully emerged; where the poetic interaction between architecture, literature, art, nature and science liberated an unprecedented energy and a belief in a dynamic society hitherto unseen in Denmark and elsewhere.

”My ambition is to present the interrelationship of forgotten, repressed or underexposed parts of the dynamic Danish modernity. Not only in the history of architecture, but also in science, art and poetry.” Curator, professor, and landscape architect Stig L. Andersson

Part of the big picture
The Danish pavilion is part of a larger project debating the future of Denmark. In the big scenario project called DK2050, both rationality and aesthetics are crucial powers, when creating images of our future cities and society. DK2050 e.g. asks; How will we live in Denmark in the year 2050? What are the challenges and dilemmas meeting us on the way? How can cities, politicians and each one of us participate and navigate in the decision making on our common road into a sustainable future? You can read more about DK2050 at www.dac.dk/dk2050

The Danish contribution to the 14th International Architecture Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia is supported by: The Ministry of Culture Denmark, Realdania, The Danish Arts Foundation, The Dreyer Foundation, Danmarks Nationalbanks Jubilæumsfond af 1968, OSRAM, SpektraLED, New Mat, alluVial International, Egen Vinding & Datter, Bark House, Sibelco Denmark, Niels Bohr Arkivet, Museum Jorn, Mariebjerg Kirkegaard, Thorvaldsens Museum, The Hirschsprung Collection, KØS, Carsten Hoff, iGuzzini, Lokalhistorisk Arkiv i Gentofte, G.N. Brandts Haves Venner.

For further information, please contact:
Nanna Sverrild, Press contact, tel. +45 2045 5011, email: ns@dac.dk

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Quotes

My ambition is to present the interrelationship of forgotten, repressed or underexposed parts of the dynamic Danish modernity. Not only in the history of architecture, but also in science, art and poetry
Curator, professor, and landscape architect, Stig L. Andersson