Schumacher criticized a perceived lack of architectureat the Venice Biennale. Patrik Schumacher, principal of Zaha Hadid Architects, has lashed out at the exhibitions at this year's Venice Biennale, calling attention to the fact that there was no architecture present at the event and stating that the future of the world's largest architectural gathering is "up for grabs."
He wrote in a 1,000-plus word diatribe on Facebook.
Most national pavilions, including all major European nations like Germany, France, Spain, UK, Belgium, Holland, Norway/Sweden, Finland, but also Japan, Canada, Australia and the USA refuse to show the work of their architects, or any architecture whatsoever. I don’t know about other national pavilions. I gave up after seeing no architecture in 12 out of 12 pavilions.- Patrik Schumacher
The architect who was born in Bonn singled out the German Pavilion for particular criticism due to the presence of several heaps of building material.
German architecture has been absent in Venice for years. The same applies to British architecture. Why the architects of these countries put up with this seems puzzling. Are they too shamefaced about their work to raise their hands above the parapet?- Schumacher
He also added:
In the case of the German Pavilion, the current emphatic absence of architecture has been explicitly endorsed by the president of the German chamber of architects in a conversation in front of the German pavilion filled with the rubble of the previous Biennale. What are these curators expecting the unsuspecting general public who come to visit an architecture Biennale to make of this?- Schumacher
According to Schumacher, the only apparent exceptions looked to be the Chinese Pavilion and the international display, both of which included the work of Chinese architects, in especially the work of Adjaye Associates.
Everybody else invited has been playing along with using exhibition space for documentary-style intellectual-artistic allusions to moral issues, garnished with pretentious critical-speak. Architects want to talk about (and see) architecture. If everything lamentable or unjust, or urgent in the world is now an urgent, overriding concern of architecture, then this is not only an absurd overreach unhinged from architecture’s competency, but the very dissolution and disappearance of this discipline.- Schumacher
The Brazilian Pavilion, dubbed "Terra" - meaning earth - won the Golden Lion Award for outstanding national participation this year.
The Brazilian Pavilion, dubbed "Terra"
It investigates restitution concepts among black and indigenous peoples. It features work by Ana Flávia Magalhães Pinto; Ayrson Heráclito; Day Rodrigues with Vilma Patrícia Santana Silva; Fissura collective; Ilê Axé Iyá Nassô Oká (Casa Branca do Engenho Velho); Juliana Vicente; Mbya-Guarani Indigenous People; Tukano, Arawak and Maku Indigenous Peoples; Tecelãs do Alaká (Ilê Axé Opô Afonjá); Thierry Oussou; and Vídeo nas Aldeias.
The British Pavilion's "Dancing Before the Moon" was the only national pavilion to get a special mention from the judges.
Jayden Ali, Joseph Henry, Meneesha Kellay, and Sumitra Upham curated it. Yussef Agbo-Ola, Jayden Al, Mac Collins, Shawanda Corbett, Madhav Kidao, and Sandra Poulson contributed to it.
Alessandro Petti and Sandi Hilal's DAAR firm received the Golden Lion for best participant at the Biennale, in honor of their long-standing commitment to profound political engagement with architectural and learning practices of decolonisation in Palestine and Europe.
Olalekan Jeyifous, a Nigerian-born US resident, received the Silver Lion Award for a promising young participant at the Biennale. Thandi Loewenson, a Zimbabwean-born London resident, won a special mention in the category.
On the nomination of Biennale director Lesley Lokko, Nigerian-born artist, designer, and architect Demas Nwoko was given the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement.
During the end of his work, Schumacher made the argument that the only thing that was visible during the event was that the "vital function" that the Venice Biennale used to fill for architects is "up for grabs." He said this argument was his conclusion.