Minister for the Irish language, Gaeltacht and the Islands at the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Joe McHugh T.D. today, Thursday 26 April, launched the Ireland’s Representation at the 16th Venice Architecture Biennale in 2018.
The Free Market collective, a team of six architects, Jeffrey Bolhuis, Jo Anne Butler, Miriam Delaney, Tara Kennedy, Laurence Lord and Orla Murphy was selected to represent Ireland on the basis of an open call. Ireland at Venice is a partnership initiative of Culture Ireland and the Arts Council. The Venice Architecture Biennale is the foremost global forum for Architectural Exhibition and debate. It runs every second year and attracts over 260,000 visitors during the six month long event, as well as widespread international media coverage.
Minister McHugh said: “The Free Market exhibition at the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale will illustrate the genesis of Irish market towns, highlighting their unique character and making the case for the potential of the market place in maintaining resilient communities.
At a time of increased urbanisation, the theme of the future of the small town has a global resonance, and has already attracted significant international interest. Of course, it is also a particularly pertinent issue in Ireland now, as we plan for the future of our towns in the Ireland 2040 Framework.”
As has been the practice, Ireland’s Exhibition at the Venice Biennale will subsequently be presented in Ireland to a national audience. The Free Market exhibition will be the first time the Irish Pavilion returns to rural towns as part of its national tour in summer 2019, continuing to gather stories and stimulating debate culminating in a symposium in Dublin in late 2019.
The Free Market team said: “It is great to see that this important project has been so well supported. This project is very much about working collaboratively and creating networks of shared interests. The Free Market team want to acknowledge the work and support of Culture Ireland and the Arts Council who have financially supported the project, and also the local authorities who contributed to the exhibition so willingly, and also the support of the schools of architecture and the fellowship scheme.
The scheme will create a legacy for this project by supporting young students to spend time working at the Biennale learning from the exhibition and its visitors and bringing their learning back to the universities and the next generation of young architects in Ireland.”
This year is a particularly significant year for Irish Architecture, as it is the first time Irish Architects have been given the honour of being the overall curators of the Biennale. Architects - Shelley MacNamara and Yvonne Farrell of Grafton Architects have chosen FreeSpace as the overall theme of the Biennale. It embraces a generosity of spirit and a sense of humanity at the heart of architecture’s agenda, focusing on the quality of space itself and how it should engage with those who use it daily. The Irish Pavilion will be one of 65 national pavilions presenting at the 2018 Biennale.
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