Saturday19 August 2017

Ordinary lands Venice Biennale collaboration with V&A

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Architect to design inaugural exhibition exploring copying for preservation

Ordinary Architecture is designing an exhibition on copying which will be displayed in a new V&A gallery at the Venice Biennale.

The Applied Arts Pavilion – in fact a room in a newly restored building in the Arsenale complex – will be a permanent collaboration between the two institutions. V&A director Martin Roth described it as “an amazing day for the history of the V&A”, one that the museum would “never forget”.

Ordinary, which emerged from the ashes of FAT – the practice that curated the 2014 British Pavilion which featured a Museum of Copying – is working with V&A curator Brendan Cormier and researcher Danielle Thom who will be selecting objects from the museum’s collection.

The other aspect of the exhibition, entitled A World of Fragile Parts, will include specially commissioned copies made using contemporary technology such as 3D printing and scanning.

“It feels like the perfect brief for us,” said Ordinary co-founder Elly Ward. “The act of copying is something we have played around with a lot. But copying as an act of preservation goes beyond technique, style or approach and becomes vital.”

The V&A has exhibited copies of famous works for more than 100 years but the idea of pre-emptive digital scanning has been thrown into sharp focus by the destruction of historic sites such as Palmyra.

“It’s a super interesting topic,” said Ordinary co-founder Charles Holland. “It’s more about the potential loss of historic artefacts and how versions of them become the only record.”

The practice was only appointed recently and has been asked to deliver the project in three weeks.

“It’s pretty tight,” admitted Holland who said they were currently evolving the design with Cormier and Thom.

Cormier described Ordinary as “one of the finest offices working in London at the moment”.



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