Foreigners Everywhere
60th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia
Curated by Adriano Pedrosa
20 April – 24 November 2024

“Pabellón criollo” (Creole Pavilion) is the name of a traditional Venezuelan dish consisting of stewed black beans, rice, shredded meat and fried plantains— ingredients said to reflect the mix of Indigenous, African and European cultures which have constituted the Venezuelan identity since colonial times. Calero is playfully using this title for her actual architectural pavilion to reflect on themes of cultural cross-pollination, but also on the topic of reuse—pabellón criollo is a meal often derived from left-overs.

For her project, Calero will be constructing a new pavilion which contains elements of past Venice projects: the ramp from the current German pavilion (which is constructed with wood from the last Ukrainian pavilion), wood from a former Uzbekistan pavilion, tiles from a past US pavilion, bamboo and metal sheets from an Ethiopian and Australian architecture team, and so on. This reuse represents not only a more sustainable approach, but also imbues the new work with the rich past lives of the materials and reflects the multilayered, international history and exchange of ideas that the Biennale embodies.

Central to the development of this project is the recycling of ideas as well as materials, and the theme of reuse was partially inspired by the concept of the current German Pavilion of the Venice Biennale of Architecture. Their exhibition is based completely around the repurposing of materials from previous biennales, turning their space into an open-source repository as well as a workshop through which to construct new things. They themselves have taken inspiration from the group Rebiennale, a Venice-based initiative who works to give the vast amount of material used each year in the exhibitions a second life while also partnering with local groups that organize to mitigate the overlapping housing crisis and ecological destruction currently taking place in Venice.

Calero has initiated an extensive collaboration with Rebiennale who will be helping to procure materials from the current Architecture Biennale, build up the structure of Pabellón Criollo, and finally to help ensure that the materials travel onward to a new second life or permanent home after the exhibition. By working with an ethical, locally-engaged initiative, the legacy of both the materials and the concepts will continue to be enriched and passed on.

Furthermore, the project will embody a culmination of ideas, techniques, and aesthetics Calero has developed over the last decade of her career, reassembled here in the form of a grand pavilion. Her hand will be visible in both the architectural design as well as in decorative murals adorning the pavilion, focused on its role as a “deconstructed painting”.

Photos by Andrea Rossetti