Special Mention for Jean Louis Cohen at International Architecture Exhibition in Venice
The 14th International Architecture Exhibition of the Venice Biennale opened last week. During the opening ceremonies, awards were given out by the exhibition jury for the most noteworthy contributions to this year's festival. France's pavillion, Modernity: promise of menace?, curated by Jean Louis Cohen, received one of three of "Special Mentions" from the jury, along with Canada and Russia.
The emergence and global spread of modernism served as one of the central themes of this year's festival, and the French pavilion approached the ambivalent results of this legacy. As Louis Cohen, Sheldon H. Solow Professor in the History of Architecture at the Institute of Fine Arts here in New York told Agence France Presse (AFP), modern architecture both provided the hope of a life improved by technology and "the threat of an existence dominated by machines and repetitive production." This complex presentation of the history of modern architecture paralleled this year exhibition curator, Rem Koolhaas' own ideas. As Koolhaas told AFP, "Modernization is a very often painful process...Somehow every nation in the last 100 years has been forced to modernize itself, and forced to adapt to a condition that is currently dictating the direction of the world."
Other major winners this year included Korea, which took top honors winning the Golden Lion, and Chile, which won the Silver Lion.
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