30 July 2014

Masculin - Male nude in art from the 19th Century onwards - by Enrico Mercatali


Male nudity in modern and contemporary art

at Musée d'Orsay - Paris
(september - december 2013)

In the pictures next to the title: "Mercurio", by Pierre et Gilles in 2001, and a picture of Yves Saint Laurent by Sieff in 1971.
In the pictures of the exhibition above: sculptures of Arno Breker, an advocate of the Aryan ideal under the Nazi regime of the time, "La Vie active", 1939, in the Section "Heoroic nudes", and the "Fauno Barberini" (Anonymous), between 1799 and 1829, in the section "The classical ideal" (photo by E.Mercatali).
"Masculin" exhibition is divided into different sections, each following a general project:  "The classical ideal", "Heroic nudes", "Nuda veritas", "Au natural", "Inside pain", "Non-exhibited nudes" (male nude in American art), "Object of desire". 
Many detailed reviews appear in the catalogue: "Superman" by Guy Cogeval, "The great absence: male nude in literature" by Charles Dantzig, "The handyman" by Claude Arnaud. Moreover, an interview to Pierre et Gilles, whose works best represent the current approach to the topic: the androgynous male nudity proposed in commercials by the media. It's no coincidence that "Mercurio",  one of these very works, became promotional symbol and manifesto of the exhibition. Another work by the same author (Below, "Vive la France") was symbol of a smaller, similar exhibition in Wien last year. Unfortunately, the photo was considered scandalous by many and it soon disappeared from the bulletin boards and streets of the capital.  

In his review about literature and male nudity, Charles Danzig describes the difference between roles and genders (male and female nudity), highlighting that an equivalent of male nudes can be found also in visual modern and contemporary arts, as the exhibition shows. As he highlights, writers often had themselves portrayed naked as a symbol of their being laid bare by their own works, but also owing to a latent, extreme exhibitionism. 
In the three pictures above: Truman Capote, writer, New York, 1955 (detail) in a photo by Richard Avedon; Gabriele D'Annunzio on Francavilla al Mare beach in Italy around 1880, and Yukio Mishima, in a photo by Kishin Shioyama in 1069.  

Male nude was always present in art, but it was only in the last decades that an explicit, unmasked version appeared both in a real and metaphorical sense. Such process can be easily seen in the picture above the title "Mercurio" and that of Yves Saint Laurent, portrayed for a perfume commercial.

Jean Delville "The school of Plato" (detail), oil on canvas, 1898, size 260 x 605 cm, Musée d'Orsay, Paris.

Unless we consider the Classical Period, marked by athletic-heroic and mythological ideals, and its revivals throughout the centuries, the only permanent feature in nude art was that of female nudity, always successful in both courts and private houses. Male nudity was never overused, but it gradually became an object to be put on display. The time has come to make it an object of pure art, aimed at nothing but aesthetic pleasure. 

These 3 images, belonging to different moments of history, show the typical, natural posture of a male body, representing both a state of rest and of thoughtful focus. The figure represented above, the oldest one, 1836, chosen by Hippolyte Flandrin for the study of a young, well-shaped body according to the academic model of the time ("Young man sitting in front of the sea, study"), was used as a model by Wilhelm von Gloeden in 1913 for his "Caino, Taormina", representing the relationship between nude male and nature. In 1981 Robert Mappelthorpe, known for the extreme precision and sharpness of his black and white pictures, portrayed natural subjects such as flowers and human bodies, especially black men as in this "Ajitto". Owing to his personal and artistic sensibility he prefers realistic subjects, especially when anatomic and erotic details make the scene. This is not the main topic of the exhibition, in fact only a few works by Mappelthorpe are shown; it is rather focused on the idea that eroticism, sometimes even close to pornography, has become of central importance both in the marketing field, and as expression of a general social acknowledgment of freedom and rights by the gay parts of the population.  

Masculin is a big, rich exhibition of sculptural, pictorial and photographic works, representing the male nude. It is the first of this kind in western museums (while eastern art has been representing orgasm for hundreds of years) if it weren't for another similar, much smaller one at Leopold museum in Wien last year. Held and organized by Museé d'Orsay in Paris,  the exhibition analyses not only aesthetic and artistic aspects, but also those relating society and mores, if not scandal itself. As the press reports, the works are proposed to a mature public (many visitors, even the little ones accompanied by parents, make comments on any detail with no embarrassment at all. Some time ago this would have been unthinkable). What causes embarrassment is not the art of the 19 Century but the more recent one, which widely discusses the male sex and the way it can be shown with artistic, aesthetic aims. 

Georger Paul Leroux, "Bathers of the Tibes", 1909

The various sections of the exhibition, dealing with different aspects of the artistic male nude, take the classical criteria of perfection, measure, symbolism and sensuality for granted. The exhibition is rather focused on the idea that the modern male essence of art, unlike its much more common female counterpart, has a crucial erotic component. The male behavioral patterns concerning the sphere of sexuality, both innate and induced, both latent and exaggerated, are drawn by the author upon reality, studied and represented in a social and interpersonal context, becoming a vehicle of art.

Many paintings show collective male nudes in the context of bath, which was a recurring subject during the 20th Century. Some examples: "Bathers" by Cezanne in 1890, "Bathers" by Edvard Munch in 1915, "Boys at the bath" by Ludvig Von Hofmann in 1908.  

The homosexual component of the exhibition can be found in every section, especially in "Object of desire". The projects are drawn upon the Freudian idea of sublimation artistically conveyed, revealing the deviation arising during childhood of an original sexual indeterminateness, corresponding to the original bisexuality.

"Autoportrait agenouillé" by Egon Schiele, 1910, and "Figure allongée" by Francis Bacon, 1969. Both date back to the 20th Century and appear in the section "Inside Pain", despite a different chronology and style. Their common element is nudity as an extreme form of loneliness and introspective pain, suffered by both of the artists during their life. The naked body symbolizes a deprivation of everything, including affection, which is what causes the condition of pain.  

Freud had "borrowed" the Platonic androgynous myth rediscovered by symbolism, well represented in the big painting by Jean Delville "The school of Plato", above in detail, (oil on canvas, 1898, size 260x605 cm, Musée d'Orsay, Paris), where male bodies are completely deprived of their masculine features, substituted by effeminate movements and traits.

The two works above represent the same subject, an embrace between 2 men. The first is "La Mort d'Hyacinthe" by Jean Broc in 1901, the second is "David et Jonathan (Jean Yves et Moussa)" by Pierre et Gilles, 2005. They belong to the "Object of desire" section of the exhibition. They were realized more than 200 years apart. Compared to other works, more representative or beautiful, they are highly iconic and destined to leave their mark in the near future. The bodies are clearly separated from the imaginary environment in the background. Their nudities highlight a physical attachment, a loving bond. Their homosexual union has no ethnic limits and becomes a postcard-like object. 

The female body has always been the object of attention in literature (from legends to novels of the 19th Centry onwards), in theatre, poetry, music and prose. Every part of the female body is well described, from feet to knees, from belly to breast, from shoulders to cheeks. Every detail has become object of songs, verses, stories and plays, with aims that range from love to eros to maternity. The male body played a completely different role in the course of history.

This work (a painted photograph) by Pierre et Gilles, 2006, entitled "Vive la France (Serge, Moussa et Robert)", represents a front view of 3 football players of different ethnicity, completely naked if it weren't for socks and football shoes. It was selected as image-manifesto for last year's exhibition in Wien, but it was harshly criticized by citizens shortly after the opening of the event. 

The male body has inspired ideals of strength and will, patriotism and collective sacrifice, fighting instinct, heroism, invincibility, and also every kind of wantonness when it was used as a pure exercise of pornography. In this last case, differences between genders become particularly highlighted. 

The two works above and below appear in the "Object of desire" section: "Shower after the battle" by Alexandre Deinaka, 1944 (oil on canvas), "Bath of sun" by David Hokney, 1966 (acrylic on canvas), "The bath" (detail) by Paul Cadmus, 1951, and "Le Sommeil, illustration pour Querelle de Brest de Gean Genet" by Jean Cocteau, 1946-47 (pencil drawing on paper). Even though the authors have different origins (Soviet Union, Great Britain, United States and France) they share similar stylistic features. All of them described the gay universe to which they were naturally attracted, with the only exception of Alexandre Deinaka, compelled by political reasons to hide the homosexual side of his works. For the rest, the male nude always becomes a vehicle of erotic experiences between men.

It's no coincidence that a small painting by Orlan (1989-2012) is also exhibited, showing the male sex right in the face of the public, as Jean Courbet did with the female sex in his painting "L'origine du monde", 1866, accusatorily entitled  "L'origine de la guerre". 

Only during the last years have differences between the nudes of both sexes diminished, in the works by Pierre et Gilles for instance, which allude to the finally accepted gay universe and mix genders and behaviors in a less sexist way. The public, more mature in moral terms and less distracted by superficiality, is offered a tolerant view of uninhibited nudity, and also an osmotic view of the expressive roles of genders, which leads to an investigation of the private sphere rather than a symbolic representation of civil topics.  

Richard Avedon "Andy Warhol and some members of the Factory, 30/10/1969" 
(detail), 1969

Laying bare men instead of women means inclining them towards the tasks they are assigned by modern society, compared to those assigned by ancient myths and by the middle class before the computer revolution, which weakened social differences between genders. If this is not yet seen in society, customs and traditions, it is well present in art, as the Parisian exhibition shows. Once again, art anticipates and digs a groove for seeds to be placed.

Enrico Mercatali
Paris, october 2013
(translated from italian by Penelope Mirotti, july 2014)

28 July 2014

Narcissus Selfie. Sono io l'inventore dei selfie. Non col cellulare però, ma solo con la mia Nikon Reflex - di Enrico Mercatali

Narcissus Selfie

Per quanto ne sappia, sono io l'inventore dei selfie.
Tutto questo è quanto volevo affermare in questo scritto: dire cioè d'assere stato io il primo a mettere in atto questa pratica autofotografica fin dagli anni '60, divenuta oggi di moda, alla quale è stato di recente attribuito l'azzeccato nomignolo di selfie.

Ecco quindi qui Narciso, che si mette al centro di tutto, e che si crede primo tra gli altri! In tal caso si, ma non perchè si autofotografa con il cellulare.

Il fenomeno, oltre ad essere ora largamente in uso è anche stato più volte discusso e analizzato.
Come oggi, sul Sole, in un articolo che ho appena terminato di leggere.
L'articolo che scrivo ora su Taccuini mi è stato suggerito infatti proprio dalla lettura di "Il selfie di Narciso" di Paola Mastrocola (Il Sole 24 Ore inserto di domenica 27 luglio 2014), nel quale l'autrice si lancia in affermazioni che giudico quantomeno azzardate.

Tra queste ne seleziono alcune, quali, già nel sottotitolo: "Niente male nel fotografarsi, per carità. Ma quel braccio teso, quella propaggine di noi che ci fa sorridere è l'inquietante modo in cui mandiamo agli altri la nostra solitudine". Non male come incipit.

Ma si dice anche poi, oltre, nel lungo ed articolato testo tra il sociologico e l'antropologico: "Selfie, quello straordinario e nuovissimo gesto di fotografare se stessi, a cui abbiamo attribuito quella snella ed afficace parolina inglese: selfie. Intraducibile, unica. Il selfie si, è narcisismo puro".

Dico subito, per motivare questo stesso articolo, che con queste dichiarazioni non mi trovo affatto d'accordo.

Ma continua l'articolo della Mastracola: "Allora niente di male nel fotografarsi, per carità. Il fine è comprensibilissimo e anche degno: mandare agli altri, amici e parenti per esempio, una propria foto, non avendo nessuno sottomano che in quel momento ce la possa scattare. Benissimo. La mirabile capacità del fai da te, massima dimostrazione di autonomia. Tanto più che gli strumenti che abbiamo a disposizione oggi ce lo consentono: ti piazzi il cellulare in faccia e sfiori il tasto, fatto! Nulla di così diverso dall'autoscatto in fondo". Concludendo poi: "Ma abbiamo visto qualcuno che si fa un selfie? Voglio dire, ci siamo mai fermati a guardare attentamente una persona nell'atto di farsi una foto con il proprio cellulare? Facciamolo. Sostiamo un momento, e osserviamo. Prendiamo un ragazzo sui venticinque anni. E' seduto sui gradini di un parco. Jeans e maglietta. Capelli biondini, corti. Di colpo estrae il cellulare e se lo mette davanti al viso. Un po' in alto. Lo tiene in alto sulla propria testa., col braccio teso. E clic, si fa la foto. Io non so, ma credo che sia quel braccio teso che mi provoca un leggero disagio, una punta di malessere.

No, non è il braccio. E' che quel ragazzo si sorride". Al leggero fastidio dell'autrice viene poi aggiunto: "Sorridersi! Che verbo strano. Che cos'è, un riflessivo improprio? Molto improprio, direi. Il sorriso è per definizione un gesto che rivolgiamo a un altro. Cioè, intendiamoci. Possiamo benissimo sorridere da soli. Ci passa per la testa una cosa comica, una scena, una frase che ci fa ridere, e ridiamo.  Certo che può succedere. Ma sorridersi per fare una foto mi pare un'altra cosa.  Mi prende il cuore.  Non va bene".
Qui l'autrice azzarda giudizi di valore, continuando così: "C'è qualcosa che disturba. Che cosa? Sorridiamo sempre quando ci fanno una foto, è vero. Ma sorridiamo, in fondo, a ben pensarci, a chi ci fa la foto. Non vediamo il suo occhio perchè è coperto dalla macchina, ma sappiamo che c'è, è li dietro, e ci sta guardando. Anzi sappiamo che quell'occhio è li per guardarci. Fotografare è guardare l'altro nel modo più spudorato. E' esattamente questo. E' lo sguardo che si copre per poter essere più scoperto possibile, si nasconde per rivelarsi, o si rivela per nascondersi, fa uguale. Noi, i fotografi, sappiamo che l'altro ci guarda.

E c'è un sottile piacere nell'esser guardati attraverso una macchina... il sorriso che facciamo in foto è il sorriso che facciamo a lui (il fotografo), amico o sconosciuto che sia. Coin selfie invece, è il sorriso che facciamo a noi stessi. Narciso non l'avrebbe mai fatta una cosa simile. Noi si. i veri Narcisi."

E' il cellulare che ha posto le basi del selfie di massa. La sua leggerezza, l'ergonomicità, le modalità "foto avanti" e "foto dietro", la semplicità operativa, il grande display.

Io invece, possessore di Nikon Reflex F2, ho incominciato a fare selfie da quando, alla fine degli anni '60, mi sono comprato un grandangolo Nikkor 20mm per avere immagini complete di ambienti da me progettati, e poi realizzati.

Chi non fa selfie oggi, o non si predispone a riconoscerne l'esistenza? perfino Papa Francesco sorride e si fa ritrarre in tutti i modi assieme ai suoi fans. Vede in esso solamente il discutibile impulso narcisistico, o ne riconosce l'utilità sociale? In queste fotografie la risposta si dà da sola.

Poi, tanto per confutare l'impianto logico dell'articolo scritto da Paola Mastrocola, ho cominciato a fare selfie proprio per via del grandangolo Nikkor 20 mm, il quale, assai facilmente e senza soverchio sforzo consentiva di riprendere me stesso dentro a quegli ambienti, mentre fingevo di guardarli, o mentre ne indicavo i particolari, in corso d'opera. Trattavasi di una sigla, prima di farne un book, generalmente richiesto dai clienti, specialmente nei casi di opere seguite a distanza dal committente, per mostrargli le problematiche da discutere, gli aspetti ancora controversi di cantieri presso i quali avevo fatto sopraluoghi. Narciso quindi centra poco o nulla del tutto.

Qui Ugo Mulas ritrae se stesso allo specchio, e con la moglie Nini, nella celeberrima serie "Verifiche", del 1970. Erano "selfie" che avevano come tema la fotografia stessa. In questi esperimenti che fecero storia egli, e la moglie,  si guardarono bene dal sorridere.

L'abitudine fatta per questa pratica, faceva frutti anche in situazioni diverse, al di fuori del lavoro. Premettendo che la dedizione mia alla fotografia era a tal punto intensa, in quegli anni, che raramente nel corso della giornata mi trovavo senza un apparecchio di ripresa in mano. Se ero invece, come spesso accadeva, assieme a qualche persona, amico o amica, fidanzata o moglie che fosse, non mi sembrava interessante ritrarre sempre da sola questa o quella persona, e preferivo accostarvene un'altra: me stesso nella fattispecie, che fossi davanti a un paesaggio, dentro a un museo o una galleria d'arte, su una spiaggia o davanti a una vetrina, accanto a una macchina o ad un monumeto. Dove sta allora il "trasmettere agli altri la nostra solitudine? Il contrario direi: io desideravo non lasciare sola quella persona, nella foto, lì, ferma come un birillo inmerte, ma accompagnarla ad un'altra, accostandola al sottoscritto, proprio per rendere la foto più naturale, più completa, più logica, più calda. I miei acompagnatori, o le mie accompagnatrici, le loro figure non assomigliavano in ciò a statuine imbarazzate, ma erano invece soggetti colloquianti tra loro e con lo sfondo, il quale spesso era il vero contenuto delle foto, il quale sembrasse vissuto da noi come realmente avveniva, e non soltanto oggetto d'un ricordo amorfo privo di vita.

Qui sopra Mario Dondero inaugura una sua mostra a Belgirate, nel 2011. Sembra si faccia un selfie. Invece promuove la sua mostra, mostrando se stesso e la sua Leica  (foto da Enrico Mercatali). Qui sotto lo stesso Mario Dondero, "fotoreporter senza archivio e senza digitale", fotografato e intervistato da "la Repubblica" (sabato 9 agosto 2014) dice: "Se l'obiettivo è rivolto sempre verso se stessi, non si vede nulla", "Io e la mia Leica siamo sopravvissuti all'era del selfie".

Non ho mai visto altre persone per decenni fare altrettanto, ed infatti ero noto tra gli amici come colui che fotografava in quel modo, che faceva "selfie". Naturalmente io lo facevo senza sapere che, un giorno, negli anni '10 del 2000, si sarebbe chiamato selfie
Se qualcun altro già allora lo faceva, si faccia avanti, prego. E questo si, invece, che potrebbe dirsi narcisismo.

Selfie ante litteram by Parmigianino. L'artista inquieto nel 1523 precorse i tempi facendosi un autoritratto riflesso da una lente, come fosse davanti ad una fotocamera con obbiettivo fortemente grandangolato: risulta percepibile l'intera stanza retrostante e deformate alcune parti del suo corpo.

Enrico Mercatali
28 luglio 2014
(aggiornato il 12 ago 2014)

Biennale Architecture Venice 2014 - The "new" goes nowhere : "Fundamentals" by Rem Koolhass - di Enrico Mercatali

12th June 2014
Biennale Architecture Venice 2014 - The "new" goes nowhere : "Fundamentals" by Rem Koolhass

by Rem Koolhass

The new goes nowhere and the old goes backwards
in Biennale - Architecture,  Venice 2014

There is no room nowadays for new revolutions, and it would be crucial to turn the discipline into the right direction

The picture right under the title portrays Rem Koolhass, superintendent at Biennale Architecture 2014, illustrating the architectural-symbol of the 20th century: the German Pavilion (Barcelona) of the Berkbund designed by Mies van der Rohe in 1928. He can be seen right up here in his last move to the city of Venice (in his very own rendering, not really keeping up with the pace of his works), that is to say the renovation project of Louis Vuitton at the Fondaco dei Tedeschi, with an additional raising storey, luckily not approved by the Superintendence of Venice. The project was recently re-proposed by Benetton with a few changes, always by Koolhass, proposing the realization of a new department store named "Magazzino la Rinascente". The project involves an additional storey with direct access to the covered terrace for the public. The project is to take place right next to the Rialto Bridge: it seems like the author is willing to be reckoned among the many attackers of this wonderful city. It is sadly inescapable that the renovation and modernization process of the Old Town in Venice will eventually damage its look. Many advocated for a more "internal" process, which is not happening.

This year Biennale Architecture was meant to be different, so its superintendent ignited a furious debate on the role of architecture today, which is at the same time well up on the chart (thanks to Archistars) and neglect (have your ever heard of any worldly problems being solved by the mere contribution of architecture?). Rem Koolhass, the dutch architect who was in charge of the themes of this exhibition, didn't really make the most of the Biennale. The most interesting set-ups were the ones made by the single countries, inside their stands (including the Italian one by Cino Zucchi). We believe that Koolhass gave his best shot with his former works all around the world, and was a bit a of a let down as far as this Biennale is concerned.

Biennale Architecture, as widely disclosed by the media, was meant to be radically different this year, changing its guise thoroughly compared to last year's: Rem Koolhass was chosen to change the exhibition radically, as it should be expected from such an erratic personality (he is the author of Delirius New York and Chief of the OMA, Office for Modern Architecture).

The change Koolhass was about to bring to this year's Biennale was highly unpredictable and turned out to be an empty and disappointing one. The comparison between personal styles of the most eminent architects and the languages of the so-called Archistars was eliminated.The resulting vacuum in the expectations of the public should at least have been replaced not with a philosophical debate on such stunning choice, but rather with a return to the past and an analysis of its focal points.   

Maison Domino (photo E. Mercatali), symbol of the Exhibition as a return to the early stages of modern architectural revolution, is represented above in a draft by Le Corbusier on contact paper and a model on a 1.1 scale, realized in wood for the 14th edition of Biennale Architecture. The structure was made possible by new materials and distributive flexibilities, allowing a new idea of inhabiting and the experimentation of modern varieties. The doubt remains that a realization in reinforced concrete would have much better highlighted not only the theoretical bases of modern architecture and their advantage (discussed in the book "Vers un Architecture") but also the bases of the speculative architecture which would soon devastate the outskirts of many cities worldwide. The bival icon was chosen by Koolhass as symbol of a Biennale where discussion is the main topic.

The change proposed by Koolhass in Biennale 2014, lasting until the first half on november, eliminates personal styles not in favor of the bases of architecture, nor of existential questions about the discipline itself, but rather in favor of an uncritical use of its components, a cynic epistemology considered useful for a "here and now" architecture.
The result is one of general disorientation, both in the exhibition at Padiglione Centrale in Giardini and Arsenale (personally developed by provocative Koolhass), the one at Padiglione Italia developed by Cino Zucchi and those at Padiglioni Esteri, realized by each single country under Koolhass directions. The central idea remains a return to the past of architecture and the main passages defining its modernity: from the failed attempts to define its rules at the International Congresses of Modern Architecture, embodied by the Masters' thought (Mies and Le Corbusier, see Maison Domino wooden model on a 1:1 scale, 1914) to the idea that any project could derive merely from elements written in manuals and catalogues.   

Maison Domino, symbol of the Exhibition as a return to modern problems of architecture, is represented above in a draft by Le Corbusier on contact paper and a model on a 1.1 scale, realized in wood for the 14th edition of Biennale Architecture.
The doubt remains that a realization in reinforced concrete would have much better highlighted not only the theoretical bases of modern architecture and their advantage (discussed in the book "Vers un Architecture") but also the bases of the speculative architecture which would soon devastate the outskirts of many cities worldwide.

Staircases, cladding systems for facades, urinals, doors and handles implement the true meaning of the exhibition: The Architect's Manual, a complete collection of the best expressions of production in different epochs and cultures.

The manual of the "Fundamentals" and the spirit it was animated by at the early stages of modernity is what Koolhass proposes as a return to fundamentals. It is not clear whether he does it ironically, considering them an extreme attempt to found the theory of assembling on mere production structures, or as a purification of the revolutionary, utopian principle of a total separation from them.

Staircases, cladding systems for facades, urinals, doors and handles implement the true meaning of the exhibition: The Architect's Manual, a complete collection of the best expressions of production in different epochs and cultures. what does the architectural intervention need, starting from these "basic lists"? How do we conceptualize the choice of this or that detail in the assembling process? What meaning derives not from the product itself, but from the way it is juxtaposed? We are over the "ready-made", but the sense of the operation is still unclear. Isn't a direct comparison of results more interesting than a comparison of details, especially if they become completely decontextualized? That's what Cino Zucchi does at Padiglione Italia, where over 60 Italian and Milanese works are exhibited.

Entrance of Padiglione Italia and the funnel leading to Cino Zucchi's "Innesti": the metal Archimbuto.

Entrance of Padiglione Italia and funnel leading to Cino Zucchi's "Innesti". The metal Archimbuto symbolizes the way a project is seen and created with the eyes and tools of history. The path starts with the projects for the facade of Milan Cathedral and ends with the works of architects such as Vender, Gardella, Caccia Dominioni, BBPR, who gave birth to a new form of modernity through a particular view of history. It is certainly the part of the exhibition which most differs from the idea imposed by Koolhass and also the most interesting one, although the less original. On the newspaper "Il Sole 24 Ore", Gabriele Neri highlighted that the common element between Koolhass and Zucchi was the structure of the seating areas along the paths: the former, at Corderie dell'Arsenale, placed various terraces and stages along Monditalia, as if they were small Italian squares where to enjoy theatre, music, movies and dance; the latter placed a long snake-shape bench at Padiglione Italia and tese delle Vergini, where to recover between a city and another.   

Some images of the Italian "Fundamentals" in Monditalia, set up by Rem Koolhass at Corderie dell'Arsenale.

The topic of Italian "Fundamentals", set up with "Monditalia" at Corderie dell'Arsenale, includes 41 small contributions ranging from colonial architecture in Libya to cinematography in Cinecittà, from clubs of the Adriatic Shore to the building process after the earthquake in the Italian region Aquila, from Zingonia's utopia to Berlusconi's dream of Milano 2, all united by a geographical map of the V Century.

The foreign pavilions adapt to the exhibition's theme, with some variations: above, France (the house of "Mon Oncle" -  Jacques Tati: La Modernitè: Promesse ou Menace? - research on the relationship between architecture and society, through cultural models of the mid 20th Century, including Jacques Tati and Jean Prouvè); Great Britain (Great Britain-A: Clockwork Jerusalem. Photo By Andrea Avezzù); Finland (Finland (Pavilion Alvar Aalto): Re-Creation, Photo By Andrea Avezzù; Japan (the Japanese pavilion of this Biennale colorfully shows the country's personal interpretation of Modern, proving that the observation of the real world, associated with an energetic crisis, can regenerate thoughts and ideas. An inspiration for the stagnant cultural situation in Italy); Turkey "Place of Memory", research on the perception of some symbolic places of Turkey.

The S. Marco's tower from the island of S. Giorgio Maggiore (photo by Enrico Mercatali)

Enrico Mercatali
Venice, 7th June 2014
(Versione inglese aggiornata il 27 luglio 2014,
traduzione dall'italiano di Penelope Mirotti)