Approaching the British Pavilion it seams under construction. A huge scaffording structure is covering the building. Entering the Pavilion one finds it empty and abandoned with traces of the previous exhibition on the walls. Because this year the action takes place above the roof of the building. The before mentioned scaffolding is carrying a wooden platform. Reached by a staircase on the left side of the pavilion this terrace offers a wonderful view over Giardini on one side and the lagoon on the other side.

The exhibition titled „Island“ curated by Caruso St John Architects and artist Marcus Taylor aims to create a new public gathering space. Tea will be served at 4 p.m. each day, with seats and umbrellas offering comfort and shade. The roof of the Pavilion comes through the wooden floor in the middle of the platform. This gesture is suggesting an island and a sunken world beneath.


Spoken word artist Kate Tempest opened the Pavilion with a performance today that impressed the audience. Her social criticism fits the comission of the British Biennale curators.

But we see –
the clouds like furious ink
thick liquid sinks and
whips the wind pitch-shifted
rumble, screams from a swollen grin –
there’s a big storm rolling in

Kate Tempest, Brews (Let Them Eat Chaos)

Today the Pavilion hosts the Royal Institute of British Architects’ EUROPA Super Session, to explore the future of architecture practice across Europe at this pivotal moment in history. A series of events, performances, installations and debates are following.

Statement of the curatorial team:

In past Biennales, the Pavilion has held curated exhibitions on architectural themes. This year, we have taken a different approach. There will be no exhibits; instead we have realised a structure that can be experienced like a building. There are many ways to interpret the experience of visiting Island and the state of the building suggests many themes; including abandonment, reconstruction, sanctuary, Brexit, isolation, colonialism and climate change. It is intended as a platform, in this case also literally, for a new and optimistic beginning. It is forward looking whilst acknowledging the past, whether good or bad.

title image: (c) Caruso St John Marcus Taylor_Philip Heckhausen