Lifting The Curtain. Central European Architectural Networks - exhibition design, research contribution

project description

Museum of Contemporary Art Zagreb: Av. Dubrovnik 17, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia [opening: August 11, 2015, Tuesday, 7 p.m.]. Exhibition duration: 12 August – 13 September 2015

AIL - Angewandte Innovation Laboratory, Franz Josefs Kai 3, 1010 Wien, 09.04.2015 bis 05.05.2015

Organisation Wien und Katalog: Iris Meder, Gabriele Ruff, Azra Charbonnier, Suzanne Kříženecký. Eröffnung mit Katalogpräsentation: Mittwoch, 8. April 2015, 19 Uhr


2014: Collateral Event of the 14th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia 2014. Fundamentals: Absorbing Modernity 1914-2014

Venue: Centro Culturale Don Orione Artigianelli (Sala Tiziano), Dorsoduro 919 Venezia, Exhibition duration: June 7 – November 23, 2014

The exhibition presents illustrative cases of architectural culture, co-relations and production of Central European cross-national networks. These representations of different actors are labeled with categories, but many individuals and gures appear at the same time in different cases. All together the clusters belong to a single object, a lifted surface, a land- scape of information in which the connections within the net- work leave traces, modify it and become part of its substance. The surface is intended to be open and active, referencing the history of the last hundred years of Central European Archi- tecture, subjective and subjected to multiple interpretations. The visitors by exploring the space can become an active part of this network. Connections between objects, ideas and/or people are not established once and forever but have to be constantly performed. The structure can serve to make links and trace relations, it is accessible from any point and provides a personalized experience.

Due to the taught time constraints, we decided to use our time dynamically, and made trials of the spatial layout in 1:1 on the pavement outside our office. We found that nothing works better than a prototype; and if the first exhibition didn’t put the design to the test, then the grand tour of the traveling exhibi- tion to several institutions in Europe did, and it revealed that the folding and packing system of the furniture proved to be successful.


project facts

photos: 1-6: Simone De Iacobis, 7-10: Maja Wirkus

The architectural culture of Central Europe, which was shaped through the exchanges within the region and its links to other international centers, still remains largely absent from Western historical discourse. Although the transformative stories of modernity are often results of crossing national borders, dicsiplinary confines or institutional boundaries, they do not fit easily in the current narratives of universal modernism, its national variants and peripheries. This exhibition presents a map of such initiatives and projects that utilized diverse channels of exchange, subverted constrains and expanded the fields of architectural acitvities – excerpts chosen from the last 100 years of modernity within the heart of Europe.
This is not an exhibition about individual architects and masterpieces but about the ways in which architectural cultures of Central Europe evolved in time. Tracing an
international network of people, ideas, institutions, technical solutions, legislation and the encounters allows to fill in the gaps of current historiographies and to better understand the phenomenon of modernity and modernisation, both in Central Europe and in other parts of the world reached by its influence.
The show is not a comprehensive overview but an informational landscape which tries to suggests shift from object-based to knowledge-based understanding of architectural culture in region. To show the diversity of networks in the region, case studies are selected from the end of the First World War, when modern states in the region emerged, through the postwar socialist era up to today’s free market democracies. The stories reach across the borders of Austria, Hungary, Poland, former Czechoslovakia, nowadays Czech Republic and Slovakia, Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Macedonia which succeed former Yugoslavia. Six groups, Experiments, Collectives, Research, Transfers, Encounters and Publics introduce the research field of the project.
The project goes beyond rediscovering history and mapping the past, as its ultimate aim is to revive and foster the current networks in today’s Central Europe. Lifting the curtain – of the Cold War, of national borders and that of disciplinary divisions – is on the way.


Exhibition Design: Simone De Iacobis, Monika Konrad, Małgorzata Kuciewicz
Graphic design: Jakub Jezierski, Piotr Chuchla
Curators: Sarmen Beglarian (PMAF), Piotr Bujas (TRACE), Igor Kovačević (CCEA), Iris Meder (ÖGFA), Maroje Mrduljaš (Platforma 9,81), Samu Szemerey (KÉK)

Organiser: Polish Modern Art Foundation (PMAF), Warsaw
Co-organisers: TRACE – Central European Architectural Research Think-tank; CCEA – Centre for Central European Architecture, Prague; KEK – Hungarian Contemporary Architecture Centre, Budapest; ÖGFA – Austrian Association for Architecture, Vienna; Platforma 9,81 – Institute for Research in Architecture, Zagreb/Split

Research contribution:
Sarmen Beglarian, Dafne Berc, Markéta Březovská, Piotr Bujas, Adam Gebrian, Jelena Grbić, Karin Grohmannová, Alicja Gzowska, Daniella Huszár, Maja Ivanič, Jelica Jovanović, Aleksandra Kędziorek, Monika Konrad, Igor Kovačević, Małgorzata Kuciewicz, Vladimir Kulić, Iris Meder, Maroje Mrduljaš, Szilvia Nagy, Zofia Płoska, Milan Rakita, Grzegorz Rytel, Gabriele Ruff, Dubravka Sekulić, Peter Szalay, Samu Szemerey, Ines Tolić, Yvette Vašourková, Miranda Veljačić, Markéta Žačkova.

Partners: Adam Mickiewicz Institute (Instytut Adama Mickiewicza), Warsaw, Foundation Kultura nova, Museum of Fine Arts (Szépművészeti Múzeum), Budapest, Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Croatia, Officina delle Zattere, Venice

Language editor: Martin Tharp
Production: Polish Modern Art Foundation
Realisation: StudioWystaw
Project coordination:
Zofia Borysiewicz, Giulia Gueci, Michael Koller, Kasia Sobczak, Christoph Thun

by project advancement
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