The Rabbit Duck Illusion

La Biennale di Venezia 2016

Date 26.05.2016–27.11.2016
Venue Palazzo Mora, Venice

AP Valletta has been invited to take part in the Venice Biennale’s 15th International Architecture Exhibition, from the 26th of May to 27th of November 2016.

Forming part of the prestigious cultural institution La Biennale di Venezia, the Architecture Biennale was first set up in 1975, relatively recent when comparing to the Biennale’s century-long history. Today, the Venice Biennale captures a multitude of interest from around the globe and attracts over 370,000 international visitors. Under the directorship of the Chilean architect Alejandro Aravena, and entitled 'Reporting From The Front', the 15th International Architecture Exhibition will be about focusing and learning from architectures that through intelligence, intuition or both of them at the same time, are able to escape the status quo.

After the successful participation in the last edition, Fundamentals by Rem Koolhaas, AP has been invited by the Dutch non-profit Global Art Affairs Foundation to renew its involvement in 'Reporting from the front'. AP’s proposal reflects our interest in investigating the phases that lead to those architectures able to escape the status quo, by focusing on memories. “Memory is the only hell we are condemned to in complete innocence” as Godard said in Nouvelle Vague. What are those memories that architects pursue often unknowingly and which feed the meanders of an arcane architectural process?

The installation is conceived as a cabinet of curiosities in which objects and images from AP’s 25-years-old memory are brought into new spatial and temporal proximity, in order to report from Malta. Experimental processes are emphasised to encourage interaction and appropriation by the viewer.

The confines of an island-state are defined but potential is limitless, both in its reach for excellence and in its destructive power. On an island that has embraced (over) development, the consequence of a thriving modern economy, Architecture is very often on the frontline; standing against speculation and uncouth constructions.

Locally, therefore, Architecture is in need of a (re-)think, an exploration of its expressions and innate interrogations, its manifold shadows. Not a soul searching or a somewhat post-mortem justification, but more a laboratory, a field of experimentation and research, an unlimited inquiry into the contemporary paradigms that lay claim on the discipline from time to time. Architecture needs consciousness to maintain its specificity as social art. Architecture is, finally, confrontation, of itself with its context, a curated impromptu between a structured rendition and a poetic metaphor.

Architecture Project, The Rabbit Duck Illusion, 2016, Courtesy of Architecture Project (AP)


This project is supported by the Arts Council Malta through the Malta Arts Fund, Project Support Grant.

We would also like to thank our sponsor Reuben Lautier Natural Stone Workshop, artists Aaron Bezzina, Madeleine Gera, Aude Franjou and Alex Attard for contributing with their artworks to the theme developed in our cabinet of curiosities.