Thousands of visitors from around the globe got their first look at Landscape Architecture | Architecture Landscape during the first week of June – a solo exhibition of drawings by South African architect Peter Rich presented at the 2018 Venice Biennale.
Rich, who was invited to exhibit by curators Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara of Grafton Architects, showed 15 drawings of eight selected projects in the 13th century Arsenale hall. The drawings focus on the organic aspect of the architect’s work, which the curators felt best responded to the ‘Freespace’ theme of this year’s Venice Biennale.
Sketches of projects like the Mapungubwe Interpretation Centre and Rich’s latest project in China called Stone House, have been reproduced at a monumental scale on printed canvas and transparent textile sheets. These are suspended from the Arsenale’s 6-metre-high ceilings from a mobile structure designed and built in Johannesburg from South African Kiaat hardwood and aluminum.
It is a temple of light,” Rich says from Venice. “We are paying tribute to the context of this building, and Venice, and the generosity of drawing as an act of intuition. When you draw you can go to places you’ve never been.”
The curators celebrated Rich in their curators’ statement for the show at this year’s Arsenale. “Peter Rich seems to think and see with his hand. His fluent vibrant drawings show a keen observation of the world around him, picking up on the tiniest detail in the wall, on the ground, in the contour of the land, in the loose forms of the vernacular buildings, the enclosures, the habitation clusters of South Africa.”
Landscape Architecture | Architecture Landscape was curated by curator and author Garreth van Niekerk. The mobile structure was designed by Peter Rich Architects, with exhibition graphics and design by Vincent Truter of Orlando and the structure’s construction and installation completed over a month-long period in Venice and Johannesburg by Fox and Firefly.
The exhibition, which runs until the end of November in the Arsenale, was made possible with the generous support of the Biennale Foundation, Corobrik, PPC and Lamy.