Manijeh Verghese and Madeleine Kessler curators of the British Pavilion - Architecture Biennale 2020

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The British Council has revealed that curators Manijeh Verghese and Madeleine Kessler will represent the UK at the 17th International Architecture Exhibition at la Biennale di Venezia, 23 May - 19 November, 2020.

Inspired by Hieronymus Bosch's The Garden of EarthlyDelights, the winning project looks at how spaces such as the British High Street and the Playground are under threat from increasing privatisation. The exhibition will engage in the current debate around ownership and access to what we perceive as public space. The curators will transform the British Pavilion into a series of immersive spaces, commissioned from leading researchers and practitioners, presenting both a critique of how they are currently used while providing strategies to increase people's agency over their public spaces. 

The curators said: "We are delighted to be selected as curators of the British Pavilion for la Biennale di Venezia 2020. The British Council commission offers a unique platform for research about public space to be collected, tested and disseminated in order to increase public agency across the UK and beyond. We will be working with an experienced team of architects and designers who are at the forefront of research and practise on this subject. In collaboration with our partners Museum of Architecture and the Saturday Club Trust, we hope to widen access not only to the Biennale but also to who participates in the discussion around privatised public space.  It is our hope that through the research, design and legacy of the project, we can begin to imagine all public spaces as Gardens of Delight."

Manijeh Verghese and Madeleine Kessler, Curators of British Pavilion 2020 © Photo by Cristiano Corte

The British Council has been commissioning the British Pavilion in Venice since 1937, showcasing the best of the UK's artists, architects, designers and curators. These exhibitions, and the Venice Fellowships initiative introduced in 2016, help make the British Pavilion a platform for discussion about contemporary art and architecture.


POINTS of contact will host a Meeting Point for Architects on the Grand Canal again. You will get updated soon! Find some impressions from 2018 here.

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