The Venice Biennale alternates annually between an Art Biennale and an Architecture Biennale. Both feature among the most important international platforms for contemporary art and contemporary architecture. The exhibitions are open to the public between May and November.
Besides the curated main exhibitions, the events include national contributions from around 90 countries at the Art Biennale and about 60 countries at the Architecture Biennale. Switzerland has been participating in the International Art Exhibition since 1920 and the International Architecture Exhibition since 1991. It maintains its own pavilion in Venice’s «Giardini publici», the Biennale park. Pro Helvetia has been responsible for the Swiss Pavilion since 2012. Two juries appointed by Pro Helvetia recommend a nomination for the Swiss contribution to the Art and the Architecture Biennale, respectively.
During the Venice Biennale, the official collateral event to the Swiss contribution is held at Palazzo Trevisan degli Ulivi under the heading Salon Suisse.
The Swiss Pavilion in Venice is centrally located near the main entrance to the exhibition premises in the «Giardini publici». It was built in 1951/52 by the Swiss architect Bruno Giacometti and is owned by the Swiss Confederation.
The Biennale is one of the key places of encounter for art and architecture practitioners from all over the world. Being nominated for a contribution at the Biennale Pavilion is therefore likely to represent a career highlight for those involved and is seen as a valuable recognition of their work and innovation.
Swiss contributions to the International Art Exhibition
Swiss contributions to the International Architecture Exhibition
Since 2012, the official collateral event to the Swiss contribution has been held at Palazzo Trevisan degli Ulivi under the heading Salon Suisse. The Salon Suisse consists of a series of presentations and cultural events that run in parallel to the exhibition at the Swiss Pavilion during the Biennale di Venezia. These collateral events form a framework for encounters, discussions and exchanges among national and international specialists on current issues in contemporary art and architecture.
The Palazzo Trevisan is located in the heart of Venice and can be reached by vaporetto from the Giardini publici in around 15 minutes. This patrician palace from the 15th century also houses the Swiss Consulate, which organises cultural events of its own accord.
Pro Helvetia appoints juries consisting of five specialists for contemporary art and five specialists for contemporary architecture, respectively. Those chosen remain jury members for two Biennale editions. The juries propose the Swiss contribution on behalf of the Director of Pro Helvetia, who makes the final nomination. Spontaneous applications for a Biennale project will not be considered.
The current composition of the two juries can be found on our jury page.