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Mexican Pavillion in Venice

Venice, Italy, 2014

CURATORIAL CONCEPT: While the rest of the world was at war, Mexico battled its own war, the Mexican Revolution (1910-1921). The revolution implied the country’s reinvention and marked the beginning of its aspirations to become a modern democratic nation, open to the rest of the world. Referring to this period Octavio Paz wrote: “The search for modernity drove us to discover our ancientness, the hidden face of a nation. Unexpected history lesson: between tradition and modernity there is a bridge.”  This process, in which tradition and modernity alternate one another, combining and counterpoising, yielded a rich production and a complex discourse, which characterize Mexican architecture of the last century.

CURATORIAL PROPOSAL: The pavilion “Absorbing Modernity: Mexico in the last 100 years” intends to deploy two types of discourses. One traditional, the other contemporary; the first one determined by eight themed panels that recover topics central to the process of modernity in Mexico. The other, a luminous ellipse in which more than one hundred works, interviews and historical events related to architecture are projected.

EIGHT PANELS: These work as doors through which we access, read and analyze emblematic paradigmatic works that illustrate the process of Mexican modernization under the headings: the search for a path, social concerns, dialogues with the masters, building the city on a grand scale, materials techniques, integrating the arts, international modernity and building community. LUMINOUS ELIPSE: The luminous ellipse is a projection room in which architectural works, interviews, audiovisual media of socio-historical events that participated in Mexican modernity are presented through audiovisuals on a large scale. It is an active image that constantly shifts, showing in this way the passing of time and events; it constitutes a landscape that merges the icons of architectural modernity with social anecdotes and historical events, revealing the complexity of the figures, scenarios and components that constitute Mexico.

Área de proyecto

250 sqm




Federal Government of Mexico / INBA / Conaculta




Conceptual design


The team was integrated by Alberto Kalach, Juan Palomar, Augusto Quijano, Agustín Landa, Gustavo Avilés, Javier Sánchez and Carolyn Aguilar as the principal group of consultants; Catherine Ettinger as historian, Salvador Quiróz as museographer, Roberto Zancan and Simone Colla (both in Italy) and Jesica Amescua as Co-Curator. Production Team: Jesica Amescua, Tiago Pinto de Carvalho, Liliana Ramírez, Jorge Torres, Oscar Juárez, Daniela Dávila, Raúl Soria, Eugenia Díaz, Mario Pliego, Carlos Verón.

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