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Published: 10 Jun 2011

Venice: Lost in Luxembourg


We could yack on about Jacques Derrida and the search for a new place beyond the limits of our physical space, but we'd only bore ourselves – and you. What really intrigues Stylus about the fun house of warped spaces that makes up the Luxembourg Pavilion at the Venice Biennale is the sense it gives visitors of being trapped in a moment in between moments, of being in a warp.

Artists Martine Feipel and Jean Bechameil have created a new manifesto for 21st-century architecture with Closed Circle. There’s a maze of white-washed, wonky wood-panelled corridors, rooms that disorientate and disappear into infinity, Escher-style – thanks to mirrors and doorways halfway up walls – and a dining room with guests and table already having disappeared in the next moment, leaving behind melting chairs and a swinging chandelier vibrating as though caught in an earthquake. Anyone who has read Stephen King's short story The Langoliers, about passengers on a plane arriving at their destination before time itself, will smile knowingly at this space.

This is architecture for an age of disorientation; economic, political, ecological, cultural. Among the often questionable, clashing, contradictory art on display at the Biennale, this pavilion is a refreshing take on the loss of our aesthetic bearings. Visitors emerged from the pavilion thankful for real time and real space.

See Stylus' full coverage of the 2011 Venice Biennale.


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