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The Venice Biennale 2023 will hear Ukrainian architects in the Ukrainian DNA project


Ukrainian architects are preparing an independent exhibit named DNA Ucraino for the Venice Architecture Biennale starting in May 2023. The curators of the Ukrainian cultural projects to be exhibited at La Biennale di Architettura 2023 revealed their plans on April 13 at a press-conference at the Interfax-Ukraine news agency.

This will be the first Ukrainian exhibit at the biennale since 2014.

Quote"We are reclaiming our voice; we are reclaiming our past, our present, and the right to choose and build our future," said Anna Kyrii, Chairman of the Board of the Charity foundation of the Chamber of Architects of Ukraine and the curator of the Ukrainian DNA project, explaining the idea of the Ukrainian exhibit.

The Ukrainian DNA — DNA UCRAINO exhibit will be on display from May 18 to June 20, 2023.

Location: Venice, Giudecca Island, Sala del Camino of the Santi Cosma e Damiano monastery.

What will the Ukrainian DNA — DNA UCRAINO exhibit include?

The idea of the exhibit is a journey in time encompassing the landmarks of Ukrainian architecture, from the ancient Trypillia culture to the present time, when a full-fledged war is raging in Ukraine, said Anastasiia Biletska, a curator of the project and an ambassador of the Design4Ukraine association in Switzerland.

The starting point of the journey will be a study of the Saint Sophia Cathedral architectural complex.

The project will include the Lace of Centuries series, consisting of 12 enormous three-meter-long vytynankas made by Daria Alioshkina; Diana Bilichenko’s Rhizome art objects made from roots of Ukrainian wheat; Ornella Ostapenko’s series of pictograms based on episodes from history; and a HERE time capsule with a projection.

The pictograms will represent the following:

  • The Saint Sophia Cathedral — the Virgin Orans and the plan of the Cathedral,
  • Scythia — a pectoral and bulls,
  • The knight era — the Yeni-Kale medieval Kerch fortress and Crimean Tatar motifs,
  • Ukrainian Modern Style (modernism) — the famous "flying saucer" building on the Lybidska Square in Kyiv designed by Florian Yuriev,
  • The Independence, with an encrypted trident, the Independence Monument, and the word "Freedom."
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Venice has to hear the voice of Ukrainian architects

When the organizers speak of making the biennale hear the voice of Ukrainian architecture and Ukrainian architects, they mean it literally. A time capsule, which is meant to be the pinnacle of the project, will involve the demonstration of video addresses of architects from various Ukrainian regions, primarily those who are now fighting at the frontlines as members of the Ukrainian army.

To take part in the video exhibit, architects are offered to speak of their understanding of their identity and to demonstrate their architectural projects. The video may even be recorded using a smartphone.

The deadline for submitting a video is April 28. for more details, please follow the link.

Will there be a Ukrainian National Pavilion at the biennale?

The organizers emphasize that the Ukrainian DNA is a private volunteer initiative implemented over the course of three months by the National Union of Architects of Ukraine (NUAU) and the Design4Ukraine association, together with Italian colleagues.

However, they hope that, besides the private exhibit, the Ukrainian National Pavilion will once again appear at the Venice Biennale. On April 12, the Ministry for Communities, Territories, and Infrastructure Development of Ukraine announced their participation in the biennale, added Olha Neshta, a member of the NUAU and the curator of the research laboratory of the Ukrainian DNA – DNA UCRAINO project.

Quote"The National Pavilion and grassroots initiatives on the international platform will together have the opportunity to show and tell the international community about Ukrainian architecture and our architects, as well as to find more partners for the future restoration of the country," she emphasized.
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