Superbia (Romania at the Venice Biennale)
The Project SUPERBIA at the “New Gallery” of the I.R.C.C.U
12th International Architecture Exhibition Venice 2010
“People Meet in Architecture”
The Romanian National Pavilion hosted by the ”New Gallery” of Romanian Institute for Culture and Humanistic Research in Venice, brings forward the recent residential sprawl of Romanian cities, born by devouring peri-urban landscapes, lacking planning and infrastructure, following inappropriate allotment and street patterns, which exploded in recent years due to the real estate boom. Today, the (fortunate?) stop of this phenomenon gives us time to reconsider it. The project Superbia (pride <lat.) speaks about the need for individuality – transposed upon one’s image of their ideal home – about comfort and intimacy as goals (hard) to attain, by means of questioning the relation of interior vs. exterior, private vs. commonly shared space in Romania’s newly built suburbs.
Superbia occasions a review of urban living someplace where “urban” itself is missing. Assuming the presence of certain values to counter this absence, e.g. the chance of spontaneity and customization, the achievement of maximum interior comfort and the assertion of an architecture of one’s own, the question whether the sum of elements of the new peripheries creates or not value remains unanswered. Placed outside the realm of coherent urban development, these areas bear a different type of coherence: that of distinct gestures, indifferent to each other, performed by individuals sharing the same ideals and the same spatial practices. This coincidence generates a meeting-point, one where everyone meets an architecture of their own. Further on we seek more patterns in approaching the suburbs, both in professional and in various personal vistas. Unraveling them one can signal the need of a different awareness and be inspired to find new possible ways of tackling such problematic subjects.
Symbolic but highly visual, the exhibition interprets the concept into an installation of contrasts and subjective perspectives. The earth is the emotional factor which charges and torments the gallery, against which a series of objects with different individualities are set: sculptural elements making reference of purist architectural stances and ordinary items of everyday living, over emphasised into unexpected or absurd objects. The installation thus becomes a space a negotiation between these elements as well as between their virtual projections. They are different channels through which it speaks about life in the new Romanian suburb, about individualism, materialism, value, effort, aspirations and status, about contrast between reality and its projection, and the difference of spatial processing between interior and exterior. Voices of the suburb make themselves heard inside the gallery – cuttings from the interviews with inhabitants of different peripheries of Cluj, our study case – providing relevant details and a subjective but vivid picture of life in these areas, as seen from inside. In addition to this, a media project visually documents the Romanian suburb of 2010, by different means of probing and mapping reality, from drawing, to blog, from film to photo, a collection partially gathered by public submissions and developing throughout the exhibition.