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Venice Biennials

Project Leaders Biennials

Marianne Burki
Head Visual Arts

Sandi Paucic
Project Leader Swiss participation

Rachele Giudici Legittimo
Coordination Swiss participation

T +41 44 267 71 71

Media relations Switzerland

Marlène Mauris

T +41 44 267 71 36

More information on the Biennials


Venice biennials count among the most important platforms worldwide for contemporary art and architecture. Switzerland has been represented at the Venice Art Biennale since 1920 and the Architecture Biennale since 1991. As of 2012, in accordance with the Arts and Culture Promotion Act, Pro Helvetia has assumed responsibility for the Swiss contributions to the Venice and Cairo biennials.

For the selection of artists and architects to represent Switzerland at the biennials, the Swiss Arts Council set up two independent juries in 2015, made up of international experts from the fields of visual arts and architecture. Appointed for a four-year term, these two bodies replaced a single jury responsible for both disciplines, which was called on between 2011 and 2014.

Members of the art biennials Jury (2015-2018)Jacqueline Uhlmann, Head of Fair Management and Communication at LISTE Art Fair, Basel; Silvie Defraoui, artist; Balthazar Lovay, director Fri Art, Fribourg; Michele Robecchi, writer and curator; Christina Végh, director Kestnergesellschaft, Hanover
Members of the architecture biennials jury (2015-2018)Peter Fischli, artist; Beatrice Galilee, exhibition curator and critic; Katya García-Antón, exhibition curator; Simona Martinoli, art and architectural historian; Arthur de Pury, curator at the Centre d'art Neuchâtel; Philippe Rahm, architect (chairman); Peter Schneemann, director of the Institute of Art History, University of Bern

Information and Coordination

Jacqueline Wolf

T +39 041 241 18 10

Events «Salon Suisse»

Palazzo Trevisan degli Ulivi
Campo S. Agnese –
Dorsoduro 810
I – 30123 Venezia

Salon Suisse

Under the heading of «Salon Suisse», Palazzo Trevisan degli Ulivi hosts the support programme to the Swiss exhibition at the Venice Biennale. During the Biennale, the patrician palace dating back to the 15th century becomes a meeting point for artists, specialists, scholars, students and other interested visitors from all over the world.

In the times between the biennials the Swiss Consulate in Venice organises cultural events at the Palazzo. Depending on how intensively the site is being used, short, project-related stays by artists and academics are also possible against payment of a fee. The premises can also be hired for external events.

The second floor of Palazzo Trevisan, which houses the Swiss Consulate in Venice, has been in the possession of the Swiss Confederation since 1966. The Palazzo’s «Bel Etage» contains a large hall (140m2) for events and four residential units. From 2005 until spring 2012, the Istituto Svizzero in Rome was responsible for cultural activities at Palazzo Trevisan. Pro Helvetia has since assumed the coordination of cultural events there as part of its responsibility for Switzerland’s presence at the biennials.

15th International Architecture Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia
26.05.16 – 27.11.2016

Salons Suisses
26.05.2016: Salon Suisse Opening
16 – 18.06.2016: Salon Suisse One
08 – 10.09.2016: Salon Suisse Two
20 – 22.10.2016: Salon Suisse Three
24 – 26.11.2016: Salon Suisse Four

Swiss Pavillion and Salon Suisse

Press Kit

Pro Helvetia nominates Christian Kerez for Venice Architecture Biennale

The Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia has chosen Christian Kerez, architect and professor at ETH Zurich, to design the Swiss Pavilion exhibition at the Architecture Biennale 2016 in Venice. The 15th Architecture Biennale in Venice is scheduled to run from 28 May to 27 November 2016. It is one of the most important platforms for architecture and urban design worldwide.

Swiss architect Christian Kerez, born 1962 in Maracaibo (Venezuela), will be responsible for creating the exhibition at the Swiss Pavilion for the 15th edition of the Architecture Biennale in Venice. Mr Kerez studied at ETH Zürich and has been teaching there as Professor of Architecture and Design since 2009. In recent years, he has received international acclaim for his commercial tower building in Zhengzhou (China) and a large-scale social housing development project in Brazil. At home in Switzerland, he made a name for himself with the construction of a new schoolhouse in Leutschenbach. The compact building is characterised by huge steel lattice formwork and a top-floor gym offering a panoramic view. Load bearing structure, material and spatial concept form a unity that comes across as both clear and complex. The conceptual stringency of Kerez’ designs also becomes apparent in his «house with one wall», a two-family home in Zurich-Witikon borne by a single slab of concrete. Christian Kerez seeks to enable new spatial experience of the kind that can be brought about only by architecture, while also defining the associated criteria. In the design process he combines fundamental considerations with the question of how a specific architectural concept can make a worthwhile everyday contribution. Mr Kerez’s Swiss Pavilion exhibition is curated by art historian Sandra Oehy.

Salon Suisse 2016

«Salon Suisse» in Palazzo Trevisan constitutes Switzerland‘s supporting programme at the Venice Architecture Biennale. Responsibility for running the salon in 2016 has been assigned to Geneva-based architecture expert Leïla el-Wakil. Ms el-Wakil, born in Cairo and raised in Switzerland, is an associate professor at the University of Geneva. Her teaching and research focuses on historically grown Oriental and Occidental living spaces. For her work, she can draw on an international network ranging from Europe to the Middle East. As a blogger for the daily paper «Tribune de Genève», Ms el-Wakil takes up causes on behalf of Geneva’s cultural heritage and regularly reports on topics related to contemporary architecture.
Running in parallel with Switzerland’s exhibition at the Swiss Pavilion, the «Salon Suisse» – initiated by Pro Helvetia – has become successfully established as a platform for encounters between art and architecture specialists and aficionados from all over the world. Located in Palazzo Trevisan degli Ulivi, it has provided opportunities for stimulating talks and events connected with contemporary art and architecture in a relaxed atmosphere since 2012.

More Information


57th International Art Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia
13.05.2017 – 26.11.2017

Philipp Kaiser to design Swiss Pavilion exhibition 2017

The Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia has appointed Philipp Kaiser for the 2017 Art Biennale in Venice. Born in Berne and now living and working in Los Angeles, he is among the most renowned Swiss exhibition makers worldwide.

Curator Philipp Kaiser, born 1972 in Berne, has been chosen to design the exhibition at the Swiss Pavilion in Venice’s Giardini for the city’s 57th Art Biennale. Mr Kaiser was recommended by the biennials jury set up by Pro Helvetia. After picking artists for this role on the past few occasions, the jury now opted for a curator to assume the responsibility for Switzerland’s national pavilion at next year’s exhibition. The jurors based their decision on Philipp Kaiser’s impressive track record as an exhibition designer. His work creates bridges between Europe and America, monographic and thematic approaches, and public and private collections. The Biennale of Venice is one of the most important platforms in the world for contemporary art.

Working as an independent curator and art critic in California, Philipp Kaiser nevertheless retains close links to the Swiss art scene. He is currently preparing a comprehensive exhibition of the archive and library of the late, world-famous Swiss curator Harald Szeemann at the renowned Getty Research Institute in LA, his new home city. Mr Kaiser, an art history graduate, began his career in Switzerland. From 2001 to 2007, he worked as curator for modern and contemporary art at the Museum für Gegenwartskunst in Basel. He then moved to the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in Los Angeles. At the age of 39 he was appointed director of Museum Ludwig in Cologne. Positions as visiting professor at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Karlsruhe, the University of California in Los Angeles and, also in California, the Claremont Mc Kenna College give evidence of his close ties to teaching and research.

Partners of the 15th Architecture Biennial [incomplete List]

  • Partner of the«Salon Suisse»: Laufen Bathrooms AG
  • Holcim AG
  • ETH Zürich

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