Exposition of the Russian pavilion in the Giardini Gardens at the XV Architecture Biennale in Venice.

Organizer: Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation with the support of the Government of Moscow
Exhibition concept: Sergey Kuznetsov, Ekaterina Pronicheva, Semyon Mikhailovsky
Exhibition design: Sergey Kuznetsov, Agniya Sterligova
Exhibition V.D.N.H. URBAN PHENOMENON talked about the past, present and future of VDNH - the most famous and large-scale exhibition of the country, which has existed in Moscow since 1939. As you know, VDNKh was based on the idea of ​​a park of culture and recreation - a public urban space in which cultural and educational functions would be organically combined with sports and entertainment. In terms of its area (316 hectares) and architecture, VDNKh has no analogues in the world, and its thematic content serves as a clear reflection of the socio-political processes taking place in the country. In the Soviet era, it was the mouthpiece of ideology, then a chaotic market. Today, the phenomenal complex, created during the times of the Soviet Empire, is striving to become a cultural and educational space. The process of regeneration continues, and modern VDNKh is at the forefront of the struggle for an audience by means of urban studies, architecture, and enlightenment, which allows us to interpret it as a direct response to the topic “Reporting from the front” proposed by the curator of the XV International Biennale of Architecture, Alejandro Aravena.
“Today, when work with established territories comes to the fore for architects all over the world, the experience of VDNKh seems especially important to us. The unique ensemble has been preserved, but not museumified under a glass jar, but serves as the mother board of global functional reprogramming. By showing this process at the Biennale, we want to attract a wide community to it and raise the question not only about the future of a separate complex, but also about the tasks of the profession of an architect in the 21st century, ” says Sergey Kuznetsov.
One of the difficulties of the project was the immensity of the phenomenon. It was also necessary to show the grandiose architectural and landscape ensemble, combining the functions of an expo, park of culture and recreation, and its dramatic history, and today's rebirth, and development prospects. Another difficulty is that the building of our pavilion in Giardini, built in 1914 according to the project of Alexei Shchusev, was not very suitable for a coherent and consistent story. Five halls on two floors with separate entrances from year to year forced the curators to puzzle over the logic of the exposition.
The problem of narrative coherence was solved by installing a spiral staircase that connected the main halls of the two levels. The entrance was organized from the lower level, the exit from the upper one.
Five halls of the Russian pavilion revealed the theme of the past, present and future of the park. The first hall - "Intro" - immersed visitors in the context of the creation of the park. The second hall - "Crypta" - made it possible to see the treasures of VDNKh - decorative elements of pavilions and territory, recreated by young sculptors. The third hall - "Immersion" - a panoramic video projection, an audiovisual attraction that allowed visitors to stroll through today's park at different times of the year and see it in panoramic and detailed bird's eye view. Hall four - "Researcher's office": a library with materials collected during the preparation of the project. Hall 5 - "Laboratories of the Future". Its main exhibit is a large layout plan of VDNKh, stylized as a “motherboard”. “It was important for us to show the VDNKh plan as a general matrix, speaking in computer language - a kind of “hard”, “software” of which has changed over the course of 76 years - the name, themes and architectural styles have changed. Today, this matrix is ​​being reloaded in accordance with the needs of modern society,” this is the main idea of ​​the curators, which they sought to convey to the world community.
Content development: Varvara Gogulya, Ekaterina Mochalina, Pavel Nefedov
Graphics: Alexey Rezvy, Marianna Piskunova
Video installation: Tanatos Banionis
Sculpture: Georgy Bragovsky, Ivan Savenkov, Vadim Bandarets, Kirill Bobylev, Vladimir Brodarsky, Alexei Glukhov, Evgeny Gomanov, Alexander Zhidkov, Sergey Knysh, Alexander Knysh, Ilya Korotchenko, Ilya Savenkov, Ivan Sedov, Artem Syulev, Serafim Cherny, Maria Chigrina
Consultant: Christine Fireise
Coordinator: Irina Kuznetsova
Project implementation: VELKO GROUP
Texts: Anna Martovitskaya, Anatoly Belov
Project partner: Shchusev State Research Museum of Architecture.
Cultural program partner: RDI.Creative
Organizer of the educational program: Graduate School of Urban Studies of the National Research University Higher School of Economics and the Institute of Advanced Architecture of Catalonia (IAAC)
PR support: "Creative Class"
Photo: Vasily Bulanov