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.
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.
Information on the current Swiss contributions to the Pavilion can be found under «News».
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.
Since 2012, the program accompanying the Swiss contribution has been held at Palazzo Trevisan degli Ulivi. This series of presentations and cultural events form a framework for encounters, discussions, and exchanges among national and international specialists on the current exhibition.
The Palazzo Trevisan is in the heart of Venice and can be reached by vaporetto from the Giardini publici in around 15 minutes. In addition to its Biennale events, Pro Helvetia offers a residency program for artists from various disciplines and regularly organizes cultural events.
Giardini Days: Play for Two Pavilions
Authors: Adam Jasper, Elisa Silva and Philip Ursprung
With Pablo Aguilar as “Pavilion of Venezuela”, Philip Ursprung as “Pavilion of Switzerland” and Clara Richard as “Narrator.”
Director: Stephan Müller Coordination: Berit Seidel Recording and Production: Vivina Wang in May 2023
The podcast “Giardini Days: Play for Two Pavilions” was written by Adam Jasper, Elisa Silva and Philip Ursprung for the exhibition “Neighbours” by Karin Sander and Philip Ursprung at the Swiss Pavilion of the 18th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia.
The entire play is published in the book “Neighbours: A Manifesto, A Play for Two Pavilions and Ten Conversations”, edited by Karin Sander and Philip Ursprung, Park Books, Zurich, 2023.